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Is Plant Science the Answer to Improved Food Security? – June 22, 2015

In a world of climate change and growing global population, some researchers believe plants are key to adaptation

Nigel Taylor spreads apart the wilted and discolored leaves of a cassava plant. He wants us to see its sickness on full display. Taylor leads a team of scientists in St. Louis attempting to genetically engineer a virus-resistant version of the plant, and is working with researchers in Uganda and Kenya, where cassava is a staple crop. Once created, this plant will be delivered to small-landholder farmers for widespread use in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo of Cassava in Danforth GreenhousePhoto by Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Cassava grow in a greenhouse at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Researchers at the center… more

by: Sena Christian

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Is Cellulosic Ethanol the Next Big Thing in Renewable Fuels? – January 5, 2015

Ongoing efforts to commercialize this clean energy source may lead the US to a more independent energy future

For a long time it seemed like turning the inedible parts of plants into a commercially viable biofuel, known as cellulosic ethanol, was nothing more than a pipedream. The enzymes needed to release sugars from cellulose — the fiber that forms plant structure — to be fermented into ethanol were inefficient and expensive. And the cellulose found in virtually every plant, flower, tree, grass, and bush is by its very nature evolved to withstand decay.

 After the Harvest Photo by Dustin Oliver, on Flickr Corn stover, which includes a residue of stalk, leaf, husk, and cob left behind following… more

by: Sena Christian

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Across the US, Cities Struggle to Figure Out How to Accommodate Urban Farming – October 2, 2014

Widespread interest in urban agriculture is forcing local authorities to re-examine rules that prohibit farming in cities

Sacramento has worked diligently over the past two years to brand itself as America’s farm-to-fork capital, hosting local food festivals, wine tastings, and gala dinners featuring the city’s premier chefs. Tickets for this year’s dinner, at $175 dollars each, sold out in five minutes. The Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau has even organized a cattle drive and tractor parade through downtown.

2 for $1photo by Robert Couse-Baker, on Flickr Sacramento has its share of farmer’s markets, but there are no urban farms within the city limits

Sure, nearly 1.4 million acres of farmland… more

by: Sena Christian

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Thousands Converge on Sacramento for Anti-Fracking Rally – March 17, 2014

Governor Brown’s support for fracking has alienated his environmentalist base

SACRAMENTO — A busload of people from San Diego awoke early Saturday and hit the road as one of 20 buses from across California headed to the state capitol. The buses were full of passengers eager to express their concerns with hydraulic fracking and urge Gov. Jerry Brown to place a moratorium on this controversial form of oil and natural gas extraction.

anti-fracking protestors in SacramentoPhoto by Cole AllenPeople from all over California converged on the capitol in Sacramento March 15 for an anti-fracking rally that organizers said is the largest one in the state to date.

“No freaking fracking!” protestors chanted throughout the… more

by: Sena Christian

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Large Scale Farming Without Toxic Pesticides is Still a Distant Dream – July 15, 2013

Chemical fumigant use in California highlights the challenges of scaling up eco-friendly and economic alternatives

When the manufacturer of methyl iodide pulled the pesticide off the United States market in 2012 after years of public outcry from farmworkers, environmental groups, and top scientists, proponents of pesticide-free farming felt the wind of change had begun. The science — and the people — had spoken: Methyl iodide as a proposed replacement for the fumigant methyl bromide, an ozone depleter being phased out by an international treaty, was not really a worthy alternative at all. But the road to toxic-free farming is a long one and this battle was only the beginning. 

photonamePhoto by Jonathan Winslow/Farm Fuel Inc.A bed-top biofumigant application on a… more

by: Sena Christian

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