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News for June 8, 2010

'An Edible History of Humanity': How What We Eat Has Changed the World

Throughout history, food has played many roles in changing the world: It has been a weapon of war, an offering for peace, a force of development and imperialism and an organizer of societies. In many cases, food and its production have had some of the most profound effects on humanity and indeed on the earth itself. Food has affected social status, social roles, empires and the outcome of wars. The roles that food has played in shaping society and the planet itself are captured in a new book by Tom Standage, titled An Edible History of Humanity.

READ MORE (AlterNet) ]

USDA Begins National Survey of Honey Bee Pests and Diseases

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the beginning of a 13-state survey of honey bee pests and diseases conducted cooperatively by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU). The survey will help USDA scientists to determine the prevalence of parasites and disease-causing microorganisms that may be contributing to the decline of honey bee colonies nationwide.

"Bee health is critical for the success of pollination-based agriculture, which produces about a third of our diet in the United States," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "There has been a disturbing drop in the number of U.S. bee colonies over the last few years while the demand for commercial bee pollination services continues to grow, and this survey will help us to better understand the factors threatening our honey bees so we can take effective action to protect them and the crops that they pollinate."

READ MORE (USDA) ]

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