Posts tagged agriculture

China’s fertilizer use

America’s “breadbasket”, or the midwest, is notorious for its use of environmentally harmful nitrogen fertilizers which cause algae blooms and soil acidification. However, according to this article China is even worse. On the typical farm in Illinois an average of 200 kg of nitrogen fertilizer is being used per hectare, but in China it could be up to 800 kg. Experts say that farmers could cut this number in half (which is still a lot of fertilizer) and not affect yields. This seems like an issue that could be very easily improved if the government was to put a limit on the amount of fertilizer used per hectare.

-Matt Z.

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Eating Local Challenge

I unfortunately am not partaking in the local challenge but I have done some research which I would like to share and hope to help people who are.  Grains seem like the hardest but they do grow some in the Willamette Valley region.  Oregon Bread which surprisingly is sold at Safeway is a good local option that contains Oregon white wheat and Oregon hazelnuts.  Hazelnuts are also one of the leading goods in Oregon.  I found this map of agriculture in Oregon which though its for little children, I found extremely helpful in gaining a little more knowledge about what is produced here.  And also, here’s a list of produce grown in Oregon, and a list of what’s in season for this time of year.  I usually eat a lot of squash and broccoli, and go crazy about mushrooms and root veggies.  I wish to someday learn to forage for mushrooms.  Cooperatives usually do their best in trying to stay local and since they are small, most of the people working there are able to answer any questions you have.  I always go to the coop next to where I live which is the Alberta st. coop, and another two of my favorites are Food fight in southeast and Daily grind also in southeast.  Here’s a full list of coops and natural grocery stores in Oregon with links to their addresses.  I have been churning my mind about how to cook vegetables, especially squash, without olive oil or any kind of oil and came to the conclusion of using butter instead.  Since I don’t like to use any Tillamook products, I found another Oregon creamery that makes unsalted butter.  You can also use white truffle oil which I’m sure is insanely priced but given the potency, you only need a couple drops for flavor.  There’s a store in Northeast called The Meadow that sells gourmet salts and one of them is red alder smoked pacific salt which may be considered local.  Or seaweed is harvested in Canada which can serve as an alternative to salt but I’m not sure where abouts they are harvested and if its within region.  You can find them at whole foods or New Seasons.  Honey is a great alternative to sugar which is produced all over Oregon.  You should find it at any natural food store.  And finally, here’s another helpful website that includes recipes and places you can find local products.  I know they grow Quinoa in Oregon but I haven’t found any store that carries it.  My local coop told me that they usually get it from Colorado but there was a bad blight last year, so now they get it from Bolivia where most quinoa is from.  But if you can find it anywhere it is the best supergrain for you, especially if you’re a vegetarian.  Oh, and I almost forgot, Columbia Gorge Organics make the best fresh pressed juices and they are local!  Just stay away from the tropical fruit flavors because those would not be locally grown on their farm.  But their ciders and carrot juices are and they taste great!  Well I hope that helps somewhat.  All the luck!

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