April 11, 2009


1.  Are big farms the key to African development?  As I've said before, I think Collier is wrong on this one.  There will certainly be some large farms (there already are), some no doubt driven by development and scarcity elsewhere (i.e. China, South Korea, etc.), because a few folks will figure out how to make money off of it, but there need to be a lot more medium sized farms meeting regional farms and there need to be a lot more subsistence farms with access to appropriate technology so that farming can move from being a life line to being something akin to a legitimate credit line.

2.  Are diversified organic cropping systems as profitable as conventional mono-cropping?  A new study says yes:
"In our study we found that diversified systems were more profitable than monocropping," explains Joshua Posner, University of Wisconsin.
With feed grade premiums the organic systems were more profitable than the Midwestern standards of continuous corn, no-till corn and soybeans, and intensively managed alfalfa.
Rotational grazing of dairy heifers was as profitable as the organic systems. And to our surprise, including risk premiums into the evaluation did not change the ranking of the systems. This study indicates that governmental policy that supports mono-culture systems is outdated and support should be shifted to programs that promote crop rotations and organic farming practices.
Full paper here.

3.  Has Mugabe stolen the Ark of the Covenant?  Talismans are a powerful cultural force throughout Africa and it's no surprise that this one pops up all over the continent.

5.  Gmail finally adds the ability to insert inline images - revolutionizing family newsletters throughout the world.

6.  The Seattle Times discovers potato boxes.  One of the problems with getting people to grow their own potatoes is that they are so freakin' cheap and not enough people have had fresh ones to realize how big a difference there really is - as opposed to tomatoes which everyone knows you have to grow yourself if you want to eat a decent one.

8.  Stamp Out Hunger is coming up in less than a month so start buying an extra can or two every week and put them out for the mailman on May 9th.  Seriously, this is a no brainer.  

1 comment:

Pomeroy Kinsey said...

Am I sick in thinking how awesome it'd be if Mugabe actually stole the Ark of the Covenant? Of all the bad things to happen in the world, that one has the upside of being simultaneously awesome.