Organic TV

Green living expert, author, and TV personality, Sara Snow, explains the USDA organic seal and why "natural" is not organic.

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  • Three new studies confirm that exposures to common insecticides during pregnancy can cut a child’s IQ 4% to 7%  by age 9.
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Hot Science

Organic farms provide more food sources for young songbirds

Nov 10, 2014

  Intensive conventional agricultural practices have been linked to a decline in insects that are a particularly important source of food for young songbirds. In a study published in the Journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, researchers tested whether organic farms provided more food for fledgling song birds than conventional farms. After surveying insect populations in [...]

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Pollinators increase with landscape diversity on organic farms

Nov 07, 2014

  In a recent study published in Agriculture Ecosystems and the Environment, scientists found that pollinator services to crops on organic farms increased when habitat heterogeneity was increased, but this same trend was not seen on conventionally farmed land. Researchers compared pod development in beans on conventional farms and organic farms surrounded by varying amounts [...]

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Urban farming is better for soils than conventional agriculture

Nov 06, 2014

  A recent study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology has found that small-scale urban farming can significantly contribute to global food security because it does not deplete soil quality like conventional agricultural farming does. Researchers in the United Kingdom compared different indicators of healthy soils including soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, the carbon/nitrogen [...]

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Neonicotinoid-coated soybean seeds provide little benefit

Nov 05, 2014

  Mounting scientific literature regarding neonicotinoid pesticides is finding they contaminate our rivers and streams, and likely play an important role in causing colony collapse disorder. One of the primary ways these pesticides enter the environment is through genetically modified soybean seeds that are coated with the pesticide prior to planting. Now, a new peer-reviewed [...]

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Low-level exposure to neonicotinoids weakens bees’ motor skills

Nov 04, 2014

  A recent study published in the journal Ecotoxicologyhas found that prolonged exposure to sub-lethal levels of neonicotinoid pesticides negatively affects motor skills in worker bees. Researchers fed bees four different neonicotinoid pesticides at low levels similar to what they would be exposed to if foraging on pesticide-treated crops. They then analyzed how specific behaviors [...]

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Increasing natural areas in agricultural land helps conserve biodiversity

Oct 27, 2014

  As the human population continues to expand, biologists are looking for new ways to conserve biodiversity in an anthropogenic landscape. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology found that reducing pesticide and fertilizer applications and increasing semi-natural landscapes surrounding farms are important techniques for conserving biodiversity.  The authors quantitatively [...]

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Pesticide use associated with diabetes in farmers’ wives

Oct 24, 2014

  A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, shows that pesticide use is associated with the development of diabetes. The Agricultural Health Study is a study that follows more than 89,000 farmers and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina since 1993 in order [...]

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Organic farming leads to large increases in biodiversity

Oct 23, 2014

  A recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Applied Ecology compared biodiversity under organic and conventional farming methods by studying the findings from 94 studies. After confounding factors were accounted for, the results showed that organic farms had 30 percent more species than conventional farms, and this trend was seen consistently across literature published [...]

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Fungicide over-use leads to resistant fruit and vegetable pathogens.

Oct 22, 2014

  Antibiotic-resistant bacteria evolve with the overuse of antibiotics, ‘superweeds’have evolved resistance to commonly used herbicides, and now a recent review in the Journal of Chemical Biology shows that fungal pathogens are developing resistances to fungicides due to excessive application. For its case study, the paper specifically uses the grey mold fungus, a destructive pathogen [...]

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Contaminated Argentine wetland poses threat to humans and migrating birds

Oct 21, 2014

  A recent study published in Science of the Total Environment found high levels of toxic chemical contamination in Argentina’s Mar Chiquita wetland. Organochlorine pesticides (OP), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDE) are toxic pollutants originating from intensive agriculture and industry. While these substances are banned across most countries, they still persistent in [...]

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