The rise of Community Supported Agriculture in China

Rural Sociology Wageningen University

30530930_212119566048787_3172312791000285184_n Image from Cultivate

On April 16th, Shi Yan, pioneer of the Community Supported Agriculture movement in China will visit Wageningen after participating in FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology. During the day she will visit a selection of CSAs and in the evening she will give a presentation at Wageningen University.

Where: Room C013/VIP Room Forum Building

When: 19:00-21:30

In 2008 Shi Yan started the first CSA of China in the area of Bejing as a joint project with her university, the district government, and the Renmin Rural Reconstruction Centre. By now some 800 CSA’s are operating around China.

Shi Yan had been inspired by her experience of working with Earthrise Farm, a small CSA in Minnesota, USA. “It changed my life,” says Shi Yan. She arrived there thinking that she would study its business model, “but when living there, I realised that farming is not just a model, it’s a…

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Empowering ruminant livestock enterprises in Mali—A Feed the Future-ILRI project

ILRI news

A woman milks one of her goats in Ségou District, Mali

A woman milks one of her goats in Mali (photo credit: ILRI/Valentin Bognan Koné).

The Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling Program is a three-year initiative (2016–2019) promoting inclusive growth of all actors adding value to the production and marketing of ruminant livestock in this large, and largely livestock-dependent, West African country. The program, led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) aims to increase the incomes and food and nutritional security of 266,000 people who keep cattle, sheep and goats, as well as  other actors in this value chain in three regions of southern and central Mali: Sikasso, Mopti and Timbuktu. Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of the US government’s Feed the Future initiative, this livestock program is helping to close productivity gaps in Mali’s ruminant production systems, enhancing both the volume and the value of these animals…

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Livestock research addresses issues underlying the pastoral crisis in the Horn of Africa

ILRI Clippings

Things Fall Apart

Things have quickly fallen apart in this particular drought in the Horn’s vast drylands because of a toxic mix of underlying factors.

Land Use

Among the things not being redressed are land-use policies and practices that fail to account for population increases and thus are restricting herders to ever smaller, drier and more fragmented rangelands. Increasing numbers of mixed crop-and-livestock farmers are moving onto former rangelands and cropping them unsustainably. We are in urgent need of sustainable land-use policies in this region, which comprises many of the world’s oldest and most renowned pastoral cultures. These societies have endured here precisely because they have evolved lifestyles that suit the region’s highly variable environments that are largely inhospitable to cropping. Pastoral communities need land-use policies that help them enhance their uncommon resilience to climate and other shocks.

Climate Change

If climate change shows us anything, it is that we…

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Mobile pastoralism—A 10,000-year-old practice still robust, if threatened, in the Mediterranean today

ILRI Clippings

Spanish Shepherd and His Flock

A Spanish shepherd and his flock (photo via Flickr/Jeromy Johnson).

From the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture
‘Mobile pastoralism is the movement of people and livestock through the landscape in search of water and pasture, and includes different practices such as transhumance, semi-nomadic and nomadic pastoralism and certain practices of extensive grazing—all involving people, herds and movement, and all having a positive impact on biodiversity.

‘This 10,000 year old cultural practice which still occurs in a wide variety of forms across the Mediterranean Basin, and is important in all the Mediterranean Consortium for Nature and Culture countries, is today threatened. Below are the activities the MCNC is involved in, to help ensure this vital way of life remains robust enough to stand it’s ground in today’s world.

‘For the last 5 years we have been studying the practice of Mobile Pastoralism in the Mediterranean Basin, and the innumerable ways in which it helps protect the…

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Cleaning up assessments of livestock-environment systems in developing countries with CLEANED

ILRI Clippings

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania

Dairy cow in Tanga, Tanzania (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

As a vegetarian, my occupation as a livestock scientist might come as an odd choice. But here’s the thing: Livestock science isn’t about promoting meat eating; it’s about investigating better ways of farming meat so we don’t harm the environment in the process.

‘Global projections show that rising incomes are only expected to increase the demand for meat. I don’t think that has to be a bad thing.

‘The question for me is not whether we produce or eat meat — but how we do it. And lab-grown meat, which has recently grabbed global headlines, is not the only way.

‘Some key reasons farmers keep animals, especially in developing countries, are so they can earn better incomes, have better prospects for their families, and produce manure to fertilize their farms. Eating meat regularly is often not an option. Milk, eggs and other dairy products, however, contribute…

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Beef cattle grazing on American rangelands—not feedlots—could be net carbon sink

ILRI Clippings

Beef cattle on pasture in the USA (photo credit: BEEF magazine).

A new research paper by Michigan State University scientists analyses the impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems.

• On-farm beef production and emissions data are combined with 4-year soil carbon analysis.
• Feedlot production produces lower emissions than adaptive multi-paddock grazing.
• Adaptive multi-paddock grazing can sequester large amounts of soil carbon.
• Emissions from the grazing system were offset completely by soil carbon sequestration.
• Soil carbon sequestration from well-managed grazing may help to mitigate climate change.

The following excerpts (excluding references) are from the paper.

‘Beef cattle have been identified as the largest livestock-sector contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Using life cycle analysis (LCA), several studies have concluded that grass-finished beef systems have greater GHG intensities than feedlot-finished (FL) beef systems. These studies…

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Animal health and welfare, two cornerstones of sustainable, responsible and effective food production

ILRI news

Monique Eliot, director general of the OIE, leads a high-level panel discussion at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, in Berlin, 19 Jan 2018 (photo credit: BMEL/Inga Kjer/photothek).

Improved animal health and welfare standards do more than improve animal health and welfare, as important as those are. Applying such standards can increase food production in ways that also protect the environment and enhance the resilience of livestock producers and systems.

Any transition to more responsible and efficient livestock production models depends on nations implementing, and meeting, appropriate health and welfare standards. This is why equipping national officials and private businesses with the technical knowledge and resources to adapt global standards to local circumstances is so important.

This point was repeatedly raised by the keynote speakers at a high-level panel on the future of animal health and welfare organized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as…

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