Category Archives: Food

Solar Panel Farm Grows 17,000 Tons Of Food Without Soil, Pesticides, Fossil Fuels Or Groundwater

Farming is probably the world’s oldest profession and something that is obviously universal to every culture and race in the world.

Since the beginning of time, farming has been the backbone of any society. While the methods may differ based on such things as technology, environment and financial means, the one thing that never changes is that farming will always be a necessity.

So, anything that can safely help farmers more effectively and efficiently produce the crops and livestock we need to survive is welcomed news.

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Insect Apocalypse: German Entomologists Sound Global Alarm

 

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all terrestrial species, have been dying off at alarming rates, with disastrous impacts on food chains and habitats, amateur German researchers have found

 

For almost 30 years they passed as quirky eccentrics, diligently setting up their insect traps in the Rhine countryside to collect tens of millions of bugs and creepy crawlers.

Now the group of German entomology enthusiasts can boast a world-class scientific treasure: evidence of what is described as one of Earth’s worst extinction phases since the dinosaurs vanished.

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all terrestrial species, have been dying off at alarming rates, with disastrous impacts on  and habitats, researchers say.

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African Rat Meat Seized By US Customs At O’Hare Airport

CHICAGO (politics is downstream from culture) — Officials say U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport thwarted a man’s attempt to import dozens of pounds of African rat meat.

Customs spokesman Steve Bansbach said Tuesday that the man declared the 32 pounds of meat on June 26 when his flight arrived from the Ivory Coast. The meat was confiscated and destroyed.

Bansbach says the man did not face a fine and continued on his journey because he was forthcoming about what he was bringing into the country. He says customs officials prohibit the entry of African meats to prevent the spread of diseases.

Source: AP | ABC7Chicago

Forward Observer Dispatch: Economic Warning

What follows is the Economic Warning portion of this week’s (Forward Observer) Watch Report.

In this month’s FOMC meeting, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged that there was soft economic data emerging — a potential warning sign of recession. Many investors expect a cut to interest rates next month to stave off a recession. Some economists expect two rate cuts this year, regardless of when they happen. One asset manager said he expected four rate cuts this year.

Recession And Trump’s Re-election Chances:

This month, Jeffrey Gundlach, Morgan Stanley, and JPMorgan Chase all revised their expectations of recession forward to 2020. JPMorgan’s Bruce Kasman said it might even start this year. That’s a big shift from what these firms were saying last month, so I agree that we can expect the Fed to cut interest rates in order to stave off a recession. Gundlach, who has no faith in the Fed’s predictive capability, believes that by the time the Fed has to cut rates, it will already be too late.

This, of course, will have major implications for President Trump’s reelection chances. High profile managers like Scott Minerd and Kyle Bass both believe that the recession will be average or mild, respectively. Others, like Gundlach, have warned that this recession is going to present more difficult challenges.

If this recession poses the risks that Gundlach describes (below) then Trump’s chances of reelection will be seriously threatened. If that’s the case, then it’s time to batten down the hatches for higher taxes and wealth redistribution based on what we saw during this week’s Democratic debates and what’s been proposed in the lead up.

The problem with cutting interest rates this year to stave off a recession next year is that the Fed will have less to cut once a recession does hit, which increases the likelihood that the recession is more painful than “mild.”

This week, Fed chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that’s the case, saying, “Interest rates are lower than in the past and likely to remain so. The persistence of lower rates means that when the economy turns down, interest rates will more likely follow close to zero [which] poses new problems to central banks and calls for new ideas.” (Bold for emphasis.)

In the past two recessions, the Fed has cut interest rates from 5.25 percent to basically zero percent during the 2008 recession, and cut from 6.5 percent prior to the 2001 recession. Today, the federal funds rate sits around 2.25 percent — that’s before any cuts this year. That does not bode well for the Fed’s ability to soften the severity of the next recession. The Fed has 50 percent less to cut, which means that a hard landing during the recession is more likely.

Earlier this year, Bridgewater’s Greg Jensen warned of a period of poor economic conditions in the U.S. “We think that the secular conditions and cyclical conditions are combining to create this situation where you’re going to have this long, protracted weakness in the developed world economies… So basically what we expect to see is weaker growth and a movement to [Quantitative Easing]… The struggle in Europe is probably going to click first.”

That mirrors what billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller believes. He said earlier this year that, “The highest probability is we struggle [economically] going forward.”

So who’s right? Are we going to have a mild recession or will this be the beginning of a ‘secular’ — i.e., long term — period of persistently weak growth and economic malaise?

Right now, my money is on what Gundlach had to say earlier this month: “When the next recession comes, there’s going to be a really big problem… with the national debt… [We’re going to see] basically money printing, I think, to combat the next recession.”

Gundlach describes that money printing will lead to increases in long term interest rates, which will actually make the recession worse. And maybe that’s why Fed chair Jerome Powell is openly calling for “new ideas” to reverse the effects of the next recession.

In light of changes to this month’s Recession Matrix (out later today for Warning subscribers), there’s a solid argument to be made that the next recession is closer than previously thought, and that it may rival the duration of the 2008 recession at 18 months, followed by persistently low economic growth in the years following. We could be headed towards the Great Recession 2.0.

Consider that we may have about 12 months before this kicks off, followed by the 2020 election four months later — in other words, at the worst possible time. If you haven’t considered kicking your preparedness into a higher gear, then now is the time. – S.C.

If you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial to the Forward Observer Warning Service and stay ahead of political, social, and economic threats with reports like this one.

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“It’s coming guys, the pace is quickening, time to dial it up”

The Next Grand Solar Minimum Has Very Likely Begun: NASA Predicts Lowest Solar Cycle In 200 Years (video)

https://abruptearthchanges.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/sunspot_numbers-nasa-1610-2019-copy.png

Finally, it looks as if the GSM is on.

First, this is not a 100% conformation that the Next Grand Solar Minimum has already begun, even though the data strongly indicates that the trends will continue according to the models of Zharkova et al, 2015, Ole Humlum 2011 John Casey and many others. The different models vary in duration. (see details in the introduction to the next Grand Solar Minimum.)

On June 12, 2019 NASA announced:

Solar Activity Forecast for Next Decade Favorable for Exploration

“The forecast for the next solar cycle says it will be the weakest of the last 200 years. The maximum of this next cycle – measured in terms of sunspot number, a standard measure of solar activity level – could be 30 to 50% lower than the most recent one. The results show that the next cycle will start in 2020 and reach its maximum in 2025.”

The beginning of a Grand Solar Minimum can only be definitely declared after several very low solar cycles (11- year-cycles or Schwabe cycles). A decline of 30- 50% in sunspot numbers already brings us to Dalton Minimum levels.

It must also be said that the Dalton Minimum itself is by some astronomers declared to have been only an incomplete Grand Solar Minimum . (Usoskin et al, 2011,) [iii]

Compare the current state of the sun to the Dalton Minimum conditions. Here, I added a sketch of the NASA projection to the end of the solar cycle progression of the last 400 years.

This graph compares the current solar progression to that of the Dalton Minimum. Original Graph by Anthony Watts / December 20, 2010. I added the recorded Solar Cycle 24 (green) and the NASA projection of solar cycle 25 (black dotted line). The similarities are striking.

https://abruptearthchanges.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/dalton-minimum-vs.-today-_fig9-1.png

“The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named after the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830.[1] Like the Maunder Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Dalton Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures. The Oberlach Station in Germany, for example, experienced a 2.0°C decline over 20 years.[2] The Year Without a Summer, in 1816, also occurred during the Dalton Minimum. Solar cycles 5 and 6, as shown below, were greatly reduced in amplitude.” Antony Watts.

Source: by Sacha Dobler | Abrupt Earth Changes

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The U.S. just witnessed its 12 wettest months in 125 years, and the floods keep coming – WaPo

German Study shows Changes in Precipitation over Europe linked to Solar Activity

Solar History, Chapter 22:  Presence and Future of Human Behavior in relation to  solar cycles

Americans Brace For Shock Surge In Everyday Food Prices

Avocado Toast

The ‘patient’ Fed has been lamenting the “lack of inflation” for far too long. It is about to get its wish.

American food merchants are struggling to import fruits and vegetables from Mexico as wait times at port of entries along the Mexico–US border have surged because of a shift in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel away from the port of entries to remote regions of the border to fight illegal crossings. As a result, shipments of food have dramatically declined in recent weeks, and the result is an imminent spike in imported food prices in the coming months that could put a sizeable dent in consumer wallets.

Fruit and vegetable importers that wholesale to grocery stores throughout the US, could inflate prices by at least 20% to 40% if the wait times continue, with avocado prices already soaring (see “Mexican Avocado Prices Explode By Most In A Decade After Trump Border Threat“).

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/avocado%20price%204.27.jpg?itok=gUW2invn

After the avocado price surge, cucumbers, eggplants, bell peppers, squash, cherry tomatoes, watermelons, and most other fruit and vegetables imported from the tropics would be affected.

“(The) Mexican border, it’s one of the most important crossings to the United States,” said Joshua Duran, Amore Produce sales representative.

About 43% of all US fruit and vegetables originate from Mexico. In the last several decades, Mexico has become the top trading partner with the US. Much of the US-Mexico commerce involves mega-corporations that send products back and forth across the border as part of a critical segment of their supply chain that has increased since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/mex%20us%20trade.jpg?itok=AIv5n_xo

This month [April], distributor Amore Produce truck drivers hauling product from Mexico have experienced a 300% wait time at the various port of entries along the Mexico–US border, stuck in line for up to 15 hours.

“Now we are having a lot of problems in the border,” Duran said. “So, let’s say we used to have like five hours. We’re getting 10 or 15 hours to pass that truck to the United States…one or two (gates) are not enough to get all the entire trucks coming from Mexico and not only for produce, for all the products that people here in the United States get from Mexico.”

Increase wait times have depleted cold storage inventories of McAllen Produce Terminal Market, located just 20 minutes from the border. Duran said the importer cannot ship fresh produce across the country anymore becuase their truck drivers are waiting almost a day to move product across the port of entry – by the time it makes it to the US, the produce won’t make it fresh to the wholesaler.

“We couldn’t get it here and we couldn’t send it to the customers in the north,” Duran said.

Marabella Produce owner Alejandro Knight suggested that wait time increases have impacted his cold-storage levels in the last month. Knight said his warehouse is always at full capacity, but now, the floors are covered with empty pallets. Most of the produce Knight receives from Mexico is spoiled, thanks to wait time increases, warehouse workers have to immediately throw out the produce once it arrives.

“We cannot deliver a fresh product anymore if we have to wait for each load to cross, five to six days, it’s impossible to work like this,” Knight warned.

Knight said Mexican farmers are now “afraid” to export fruits and vegetables to the US because of extended wait times.

Salavador Contreras, an economist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said if wait times increase, it could inflate produce for everyday American consumers.

“It’s going to be felt at the grocery stores when we start paying more for limes and our avocados at the grocery store,” Contreras said.

If the wait times persist at the border, in the coming months Americans will be shocked by soaring prices in the produce section of their local grocery stores, a move that could reverse consumer sentiment right before an important election year. But at least the Fed will be delighted: it will have achieved some of that “symmetric” inflation overshoot it has been seeking for so long… and all thanks to Trump.

Source: ZeroHedge

Wild Bee Population Collapses By 90% In New England, Study Warns

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire conducted a study to document declines in about 100 wild bee species critical to pollinating crops throughout New England. What they discovered, according to the study, was a collapse in the wild bee population across the state, reported AP.

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/wild%20bees.jpg?itok=IQvwzFVc

Researchers analyzed 119 species in the state from a museum collection at the college dating back more than a century. Sandra Rehan and Minna Mathiasson published the study in the peer-reviewed journal called Insect and Conservation Diversity this month. They concluded 14 species found across New England were on the decline by as much as 90%. Several of the species include leafcutter and mining bees.

“We know that wild bees are greatly at risk and not doing well worldwide,” Rehan, assistant professor of biological sciences and the senior author on the study, said in a prepared statement. “This status assessment of wild bees shines a light on the exact species in decline, besides the well-documented bumblebees. Because these species are major players in crop pollination, it raises concerns about compromising the production of key crops and the food supply in general.”

The AP noted that wild bee populations across the world are in decline, and scientists have blamed a wide range of factors including industrialization, insecticides, herbicides, parasites, disease, and climate change. Bees are crucial for pollination, and about one-third of the human diet derives from plants that are directly pollinated by bees.

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Greg Burtt, founder of Burtt’s Apple Orchard in Cabot, Vermont, told the AP that his farm relies heavily on wild bees for crop production. 

“Making sure that pollinators in the area are healthy and doing well is definitely something we’re concerned about,” Burtt said.

Jeff Lozier, a bee expert from the University of Alabama who didn’t participate in the study, said the results are a critical step in expanding research into lesser-known species of bees. He cautioned that the study relied upon bees in a museum that were not collected “for the purpose of large scale population surveys.”

“The most important use of the data in my view is in providing a baseline set of hypotheses for groups of species that are potentially declining or stable across a much greater set of species than is usually examined, which can then be investigated in more detail to determine why they may be changing,” Lozier said in an email interview. “This study doesn’t really determine the why quite yet, but gives us a reference point for further study.”

The study noticed that half of those wild bees on the decline were located in higher elevation regions like the White Mountains than in the state’s coastal areas. The study said as the wild bees shift northward, some of the species don’t have the same kind of flowers and plants to pollinate.

“They have nowhere else to go,” Rehan said. “That is the biggest concern.”

Rehan warned as wild bee populations collapse so will crop yields, which could produce food shortages across the country. She says wild bees are facing similar threats that have also caused honeybee populations to plunge – including the overuse of pesticides and herbicides, a lack of seasonal wild plant diversity and volatile weather.

Source: ZeroHedge

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Notre Dame’s 200,000 Bees Kept On Roof Survived Devastating Fire

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It was feared the hives had been engulfed in the fire that devastated the iconic building in Paris on Monday.

But beekeeper Nicolas Geant has now confirmed they survived.

He said: ‘The bees are alive. Until this morning, I had had no news.