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News for June 6, 2010

How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet

From Vermont, where veal and dairy farmer Abe Collins is developing software designed to help farmers foster carbon-rich topsoil quickly, to Denmark, where Thomas Harttung's Aarstiderne farm grazes 150 head of cattle, a vanguard of small farmers are trying to get the word out about how much more eco-friendly they are than factory farming. "If you suspend a cow in the air with buckets of grain, then it's a bad guy," Harttung explains. "But if you put it where it belongs - on grass - that cow becomes not just carbon-neutral but carbon-negative." Collins goes even further. "With proper management, pastoralists, ranchers and farmers could achieve a 2% increase in soil-carbon levels on existing agricultural, grazing and desert lands over the next two decades," he estimates. Some researchers hypothesize that just a 1% increase (over, admittedly, vast acreages) could be enough to capture the total equivalent of the world's greenhouse-gas emissions.

This math works out in part because farmers like Shinn don't use fertilizers or pesticides to maintain their pastures and need no energy to produce what their animals eat other than what they get free from the sun. Furthermore, pasturing frequently uses land that would otherwise be unproductive. "I'd like to see someone try to raise soybeans here," he says, gesturing toward the rocky, sloping fields around him.

READ MORE (Time) ]

Community Sponsored Fish program in Millis supports local food movement

Things are getting fishy at Tangerini's Farm, but in a good way.

The farm is part of a Community Sponsored Fish program, which brings fresh, whole fish to the farm in Millis from the shores of Cape Ann.

READ MORE (Daily News Tribune) ]

The Goat Lady vs. Goliath

On an otherwise enchanting spring morning - with hundreds of blackberry brambles being tucked into dark-chocolate soils just beyond the orchard, and endless trays of chevre being scooped out of a vat into waiting tubs in the cheeserie - Leslie Cooperband is up to her elbows in goat.

No, really.

READ MORE (Chicago Tribune) ]

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