Endangered Bees, Crops of the Future, and More Food News
Meet the first, officially endangered bumble bee.
The Fish & Wildlife Service has put the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee on the endangered species list, citing “habitat loss and degradation, intensive farming, disease, pesticides, and global climate change” as the causes of the bee’s decline. Further, “Bumble bees are more effective pollinators than honey bees for some crops because of their ability to ‘buzz pollinate.’ The economic value of pollination services provided by native insects (mostly bees) is estimated at $3 billion per year in the United States.”
We’ll all be eating duckweed soon.
Researchers in Germany and India are calling duckweed a “green machine” full of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, and touting its many benefits. EureakAlert reports, “They multiply so rapidly that in a short time they can cover the entire surface of a body of water. A further argument in favour of having these plants as part of the human diet is that duckweeds easily absorb trace elements that are dissolved in water. This means that with little expense and effort, they can be used to relieve deficiency symptoms due to malnutrition. Other potential applications for duckweeds are fish farming and water purification. The minute plants could also be used for producing bio-ethanol.”
How, exactly, are Americans eating local?
The USDA released new data on how farmers are selling directly to consumers. They say, “Pennsylvania led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with more than 6,000 operations. California led in sales, earning $467 million. The survey also concluded that more than 80 percent of all direct market food sales occurred within 100 miles of the farm.”
Coming up: more organic farms.
On a related note: The USDA, with help from the Organic Trade Association, has a plan to help farms transition to organic. NPR reports, “It’s a new certification for food grown during this transition period. This certification, the OTA hopes, will put money in farmers’ pockets and encourage them to take the leap into organic certification.”
These kids at Appetite for Change get it.
It wasn’t enough to just ask for healthier school lunches, the kids at Appetite for Change in Minneapolis created a legit rap video to make their point. Launched last summer, it recently went viral...and you'll see why. It’s all here – gardening, cooking, sending respect to First Lady Michelle Obama, and some strong words for the fast food industry. Out of the mouths of babes!