Author: Steve Savage

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Why Wheat is an “Orphan Crop:” Conclusion

[social_buttons] The chart above shows the historical average yields for wheat and corn in the US.  Note that until the 1930s the relative yields of the crops were similar and were not changing.  After that time yields of both crops began to rise steadily, but corn yields have grown at a much faster pace.  What […]

August 25th

Why Wheat Has Been an “Orphan Crop” and Why it Matters

I read an article today about a major shortfall in the Kenyan wheat harvest that will drive the need for major imports to meet food needs.  There were three major factors behind this disappointing harvest.  Tight credit and high energy prices kept some growers from even planting.  The rains were not well timed to achieve good yields. […]

August 12th

Five Good Reasons to Eat Non-Local Food (Part 2 of 2)

[social_buttons] In part one of this blog I acknowledged that I enjoy local food as a special treat in my diet but described three reasons that the true “locovore” concept was impractical:  Limited Food Diversity, Quality Issues, and Water Issues.  I’ll continue.

August 10th

Earthworms: Do They Help or Hurt in Terms of Climate Change?

[social_buttons] Every once in a while I come across something in the scientific literature that really surprises me.  Because there isn’t much oxygen in a worm gut, it creates the ideal conditions for these particular microbes (“de-nitrifiers”) to turn nitrate (NO3) into nitrogen gas and also generate some nitrous oxide in the process. Nitrous Oxide Ok, some […]

August 5th

Followup to “An Inconvenient Truth about Composting”

[social_buttons] My earlier blog about greenhouse gas emissions from composting generated a lot of good discussion so I am writing to respond. Yes, composting is certainly better than some outcomes like food scraps going into a garbage dump which does not do anything to capture the methane Yes, an anaerobic digester would be a very […]

July 28th

50 Years of Truely Sustainable Agriculture to be Celebrated Next Year

“No-till” Soybeans Following Wheat [social_buttons] There is a sub-set of farmers who have been practicing a much more sustainable form of agriculture for decades and we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of it’s beginnings.  I want to start writing about this event early because many environmentally-conscious folk are not aware of this hugely significant […]

July 28th

The Nature of “Natural”

[social_buttons] If you go to the Organic Consumers Association website you will see that they are upset about the way that stores like Whole Foods market products as “natural.”  They believe (and they are probably right) that consumers will confuse this with “Organic.”  In fact there are no real rules about what can be called “natural” […]

July 27th

Would You Eat Cloned Fruit?

Cloned asian pears in New Zealand (photo Steve Savage) [social_buttons] OK, I’ll admit it.  That question and the picture caption are a little bit manipulative because few people know that all the major fruit crops are technically “cloned” because they have to be to get the varieties we want.  If you take the seed of […]

July 27th

An “Inconvenient Truth” about Composting

Composting is a really green thing to do, right? I’ve always thought so since my Grandfather taught me to do it in the early sixties. Large-scale composting is getting to be quite the rage. The City of San Francisco attracted a great deal of attention with it’s mandatory food scrap recycling program and lots of local […]

July 27th