- Author: Cheryl Getuiza
Reposted from California Economic Summit
Have you ever planted a seed, be it a plant, fruit or flower, and watched it grow? Patience is the key to seeing that seed sprout and reach its full potential.
In this case, the Sacramento Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA) has planted the seed with its newest industry-cluster focused program called AgStart, combining the strength of California's tech and agriculture sectors.
Thanks to an i6 Challenge grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA), SARTA and UC Davis are working together to support, identify, invigorate and accelerate agriculture technology companies and entrepreneurs.
"Currently there is a huge, and growing, need for agriculture technology to increase productivity and yield, improve cost effectiveness, and enhance the efficient use of resources such as water, energy, and land,” said Meg Arnold, SARTA CEO. “Ag technologies can, among other things, turn farm waste into energy, improve the drought tolerance of crops, increase food safety, provide for integrated pest management, drive the efficient use of water, and so much more.”
AgStart covers an area of 11 counties around Sacramento from Kern to San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties.
The plan for the first year will be to:
• Develop and maintain the first map of the region's ag tech companies. -- They’re already over halfway to their goal of identifying 120 tech companies by the end of the year.
• Host a PitchFest, a competition to highlight successful ag tech companies -- Finals are Thursday, September 19
• Represent the region at the prestigious Ag Innovation Showcase in Missouri, the largest ag tech showcase in the world.
• Bring the ag innovation sector to SARTA's long-standing CleanStart Showcase in October.
"We are working with ag tech companies in their research and development,” said Dough Kohl, Program Director, AgStart. “We are making leadership series available, we are seeing where we can help introduce them to investors, as well as others in the ag tech industry who they might partner with and guiding them along the way to bring them to that next level.”
- Author: Pallab Ghosh
Reposted from BBC News
The world's first lab-grown burger is to be unveiled and eaten at a news conference in London on Monday.
Scientists took cells from a cow and, at an institute in the Netherlands, turned them into strips of muscle which they combined to make a patty.
Researchers say the technology could be a sustainable way of meeting what they say is a growing demand for meat.
Critics say that eating less meat would be an easier way to tackle predicted food shortages.
BBC News has been granted exclusive access to the laboratory where the meat was grown in a project costing £215,000.
Prof Mark Post of Maastricht University, the scientist behind the burger, said: "Later today we are going to present the world's first hamburger made in a lab from cells. We are doing that because livestock production is not good for the environment, it is not going to meet demand for the world and it is not good for animals".
But Prof Tara Garnett, head of the Food Policy Research Network at Oxford University, said decision-makers needed to look beyond technological solutions.
"We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese, and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry," she said.
"That's just weird and unacceptable. The solutions don't just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it."
- Author: Marissa Palin
Michael Specter, moderator of the Global Food Systems Forum, has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998. His most recent book, “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives,” was published on October 29, 2009. Specter writes often about science, technology, and public health.
- Author: Marissa Palin
In his Food for Thought lecture below, Ron discusses how the genetic engineering of crops has become a proxy for much larger ideological and political debates. He explores the consequences of limiting this technology for poverty alleviation, global trade, and the environment.
- Author: Marissa Palin
There's a big difference between the questions what is best for my family? and what kind of agriculture is best for the whole world?
According to Maarten Chrispeels, a plant physiologist and UC San Diego distinguished professor emeritus and Global Food Systems Forum panelist, it's very difficult to choose between organic and GM's. We're being bombarded with information, but how much of that is true? Do we even need to choose between the two?
Watch the video below to find out.
"If you're concerned about your health, there isn't any scientific basis to choose for or against organic, or for or against GM."
"If you're concerned about food, there is no scientific basis for choosing for or against GM or organic. If you're concerned about the environment, organic has some interesting practices that emphasize sustainability, but GM crops already lessen the impact of agriculture on the environment."
"The small picture: There is no scientific basis for championing or rejecting either GM or organic. But...you do need to eat more fruits and vegetables: 5 helpings of fruits and vegetables per day cuts the rates of many cancers by 50%"
"The big picture: GM or organic? is a false question. The moral issue for our world is: How do we abolish the food insecurity of 800 million humans? Organic agriculture with its lower yields cannot do this. We need all available and appropriate technologies and food production systems adapted to local ecologies."
What are your thoughts? Comment below.