question: what does organic really mean?

The word organic is popping up everywhere. Organic milk, strawberries, and tomatoes. Organic cotton and organic pet food. These items are undoubtedly more expensive than their conventional counterparts and they are often stigmatized as being yuppie products or just another marketing scheme. Organic products have also been recognized as being healthier and more environmentally-friendly. But … Continue reading question: what does organic really mean?

question: what are small farms, how do they contribute to society, and what challenges are they faced with?

Producing a vast amount of the world's food, small farms are valuable assets that contribute to long-term economic sustainability and food security. What actually constitutes a small farm is hard to specify as there are extreme variations in societal structure, ergo many definitions exist. In the United States, a small farm is defined as any … Continue reading question: what are small farms, how do they contribute to society, and what challenges are they faced with?

an introduction to intercropping

Intercropping is a growing method rooted in ecological diversity. In intercropped systems, two or more component crops are grown together for a given growing period. There are currently four types of intercropping systems: Strip: crops are grown simultaneously in independent rows within the same field Row: crops are grown together simultaneously and a minimum of … Continue reading an introduction to intercropping

zero acreage farming (zfarming): what it is and how it can change the future of (urban) agriculture

It is not uncommon to hear about the challenges that will be faced in feeding the growing population of the world. One of the main concerns is the lack of arable space, an issue that can be attributed to land-use changes, especially urbanization. Subsequently, the rapid growth of cities contributes to a number of issues, … Continue reading zero acreage farming (zfarming): what it is and how it can change the future of (urban) agriculture

sustainable agriculture defined and discussed

Sustainable agriculture has become increasingly supported by citizens and farmers alike. According to the United States’ 1990 Farm Bill, for agriculture to be sustainable agriculture it meets the following requirements: The production must satisfy the human need for food and fibers. The environmental quality and natural resource base that the agricultural economy depends upon must … Continue reading sustainable agriculture defined and discussed

the importance of agriculture and how it has evolved throughout the past century

Agriculture, the process of cultivating the land in order to produce plant and animal products, is the foundation of civilization as we know it because it provides us with food and the raw materials essential to a modernized society. Traditionally, agriculture has been an integrated part of communities, as well as the source of sustenance … Continue reading the importance of agriculture and how it has evolved throughout the past century

question: what is the difference between plant resistance and plant tolerance?

Plant tolerance is the characteristic of a plant that allows a plant to avoid, tolerate or recover from attacks from insects, among other things, under conditions that would typically cause a greater amount of injury to other plants of the same species. These inheritable characteristics are what influence the ultimate degree of damage caused by … Continue reading question: what is the difference between plant resistance and plant tolerance?

a brief introduction to plant diseases

A disease, as it relates to plants, is a disturbance from plant pathogens or environmental factors that interfere with plant physiology.  When a disease is present, plants will express symptoms. Symptoms are the detectable expression of a disease, pest or environmental factor.  These symptoms are usually the result of complex physiological disturbances.  They result in changes … Continue reading a brief introduction to plant diseases

biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

Entomopathogenic viruses are those that infect and kill insects.  They are superior to regular pesticides in that they are not harmful to humans or other vertebrates. Furthermore, each viral strain attacks only a limited number of insect species which helps to mitigate unpredicted damage. There are two types of entomopathogenic viruses: Baculoviridae (ds DNA) Nucleopolyhedrovirus … Continue reading biological control via entomophatogenic viruses: baculovirus

an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a long-term pest prevention program that focuses on ecosystem-based strategies for the control of pest related issues. This is accomplished through a combination of techniques including biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and the use of resistant cultivars. The use of chemical pesticides is then restricted to applications only … Continue reading an introduction to integrated pest management (IPM)