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Articles Saturday Food Chain

Every Saturday morning, from 9 to 10 a.m, join KSCO's Michael Olson for a discussion on local farm and agriculture issues.

Metrofarm.com

 

 

Journalist

Michael Olson produced, wrote and/or photographed feature-length news for a variety of media, including the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers, Skiing and Small Space Gardening magazines,NBC, ABC, Australian Broadcast Commission, and KQED Public Television networks. His production and photography helped win a National Emmy nomination for NBC Magazine with David Brinkley. Olson is the author of MetroFarm, the Ben Franklin Book of the Year Finalist and Executive Producer and Host of the syndicated Saturday Food Chain radiotalk show, which received the Ag/News Show of the Year Award from the California Legislature. He recently authored Tales from a Tin Can, which is the oral-history of a World War II US Navy destroyer that earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly.

Business Person

Olson designed, blended and packaged a fertilizer for container-grown house and garden plants; certified and registered the product as a “specialty fertilizer” with the State of California; and sold the product to the national lawn and garden market. Olson has over two decades of broadcast media management and, as General Manager of newstalk radio stations KSCO & KOMY in Santa Cruz, California, has helped hundreds of locally-owned businesses compete against national chains. Olson is currently a partner in the MO MultiMedia Group of Santa Cruz, California.

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- July 13th 2013- The Vanishing of Our Bees- Bee Colony Collapse- Guests: Chensheng Lu, Associate Professor Environmental Health, Harvard University and David Hackenburg Sr, Beekeeper, Hackenburg Apiarie

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THE VANISHING OF OUR BEES-   BEE COLONY COLLAPSE


Food Chain Radio Show Host Michael Olson

Chensheng Lu, Ass Professor Environmental Health, Harvard Univ.

David Hackenburg Sr, Beekeeper, Hackenburg Apiaries

••••
Who, or what, is causing our bees to vanish?

Who, or what, is causing our bees to vanish?

****
This right out of science fiction: You wake up one morning to discover that every single person in Chicago has simply disappeared without a trace, leaving their breakfast on the kitchen table!  Poof!  Gone!

*******
Then everyone in Denver, Tuscon, and Charlotte disappear, leaving nothing behind to say why they left, or where they have gone.

Hard to believe something like that could happen, but it is happening to our bee colonies.  One day the bees simply disappear, leaving their eggs and food behind.  Poof!  Gone!

What makes the collapsing of our bee colonies especially interesting is the fact that bees are responsible for one-third of the food we eat.  If bees disappear – and bees are disappearing  – then our supply of food will diminish, and its costs will increase.

So who, or what, is causing our bees to vanish?

•••••••••••
Some say the causes are natural, and include global warming, trachial mites, and malnutrition.  “Its just nature,” they say.
•••••••••••
So who, or what, is causing our bees to vanish?

•••••••••••
Others say the causes are man-made, and point the finger at neonicotinoids (“new nicotine pesticide”) like acetamiprid, clothianidin and imidacloprid.

•••••••••••
The “neonics,” as they are called, are extremely efficient killers of invertebrate insect pests, and consequently are now used to coat most of the seeds planted in commercial corn and soybean crops.  Though not considered pests, bees are invertebrate insects and vulnerable to neonics.  “It’s people,” they say.

•••••••••••
Thus we have a difference of opinion on an issue of major significance to our food chain…

********
Who, or what, is causing our bees to vanish?

Comment (0) Hits: 435

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- June 22nd 2013- Guests: Larry Jacobs & John Graham, Del Cabo Cooperative- Out of Poverty Into Africa

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Food Chain Radio News Topic

OUT OF POVERTY INTO AFRICA

Food Chain Radio Show #925 • June 22, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

Michael Olson hosts:  Larry Jacobs & John Graham, Del Cabo Cooperative

••••

Can organic prosper in Africa?

Chances are you popped one of those organic cherry tomatoes into your mouth in the dead of a winter and, without a thought as to its origin, bit down to pop its sweetness.  Let’s give that tomato a thought…

*******

Your cherry tomato may well have carried the Del Cabo brand, which means that it was the product of a cooperative of 400 small, organic farmers near the town of San Jose Del Cabo in Baja California, Sur.  In fact, you may well have looked down on those farms while flying in to Cabo San Lucas to enjoy some winter fun in the sun.

In 1985, Larry and Sandra Jacobs, organic farmers from Pescadero, California, decided to package some of that winter sunshine into organic cherry tomatoes and ship them north.  But rather than growing the tomatoes themselves, they enlisted 10 small farmers to grow for them, and with that agreement, the Del Cabo Cooperative was born.

By working together through the Del Cabo Cooperative, and with the partnership of Jacobs Farm in California, the small farmers of Baja were able to increase their annual incomes from $3,000 to $20,000.

Today, the Del Cabo Cooperative consists of 400, give or take, small farmers in Baja, and the Jacobs Farm has grown into a company with over 60 employees in California.

The Jacobs have now taken this economic model to Africa, which leads us to ask …

•••••••••••

Can organic prosper in Africa?

Comment (0) Hits: 604

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- June 15th 2013- Farmer Assurance Provision/ Monsanto Protection Act

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FARMER ASSURANCE PROVISION /
MONSANTO PROTECTION ACT


Food Chain Radio Show #924 • June 15, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

Michael Olson hosts: Terry Wanzek, Farmer & North Dakota Senator

They say there are two sides to every story, and that is most certainly true when it comes to the story about the genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in our food chain.

*******
There is the side of producers, and there is the side of consumers.

For producers, the technology of genetic engineering has made the job of growing food much easier.  Before GMOs, a farmer had to go out into the fields to cull weeds and pests by hand and machine.  With GMOs, crops can be sprayed with herbicides and infused with pesticides, and thus one farmer can now grow thousands of acres of crops with no weeds or pests.

To protect this transformative technology, biotech agriculture lobbied government for a “Farmer Assurance Provision” that would allow their GMOs to be planted anywhere at anytime without interference from laws or courts.

For a significant number of consumers, there is uncertainty with respect to the efficacy of eating foods that have been saturated in herbicides and infused with pesticides, and they have taken to calling that government Provision the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

Two sides of the story: Farmer Assurance Provision or Mansanto Protection Act.”

And so we ask…

•••••••••••
What does agriculture hope to accomplish with its Farmer Assurance Provision?  Why do many call the Farmer Assurance Provision the Monsanto Protection Act?  And…
..
What’s to eat in the Monsanto Protection Act?

Comment (0) Hits: 490

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- June 08th 2013- To Test, or Not To Test, Organic Food- Guest: Mischa Popoff, Author of "Is it Organic?"

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Food Chain Weekly News Topic
TO TEST, OR NOT TO TEST,    ORGANIC FOOD

Food Chain Radio Show #923 • June 8, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific
Michael Olson hosts: Mischa Popoff, Author Is It Organic

••••
Are all foods labeled “organic” organic?

****
File this under Michael Olson’s Third Law of the Food Chain:  The farther we go from the source of our food, the less control we have over what’s in our food.

*******
On average, the food we eat now travels well over a thousand miles from where it was grown.   As a consequence of this distance, we are losing track of who is growing our food, and how they are growing it.  One way to regain some control over the food we eat is to buy food that displays the “Certified Organic” label.

The organic food industry is expected to grow from $60 billion today to $105 billion in 2015 on our desire to buy food that is clean and wholesome.

Foods that have been certified “organic” are to be grown and processed without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and to not contain genetically-modified organisms or GMOs.  At least, that is what we want to believe, and what industry wants us to believe, but is it true?

Are all foods labeled “organic” organic?

****

Comment (0) Hits: 386

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- June 01st 2013- Going to Ground, Can Livestock be Managed to Restore Soil?

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Food Chain Weekly News Topic
GOING TO GROUND

Food Chain Radio Show #922
June 1, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

Michael Olson hosts:   Judith Schwartz, Author

Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth



••••
Can livestock be managed to restore soil?
*
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

******
This advice may have worked eighty years ago, but that apple has since lost about 50% of its calcium and over 80% of its phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.  To keep the doctor away today, we must now eat about five apples a day!

*******
What happened to the food in our food?

There are two ways to grow a plant:  One way, which we have come to call the “organic” way, is to feed the soil with life, and then to allow for the decomposition of that life in the soil to feed the plant.  The other way, which might be called the “synthetic” way, is to bypass the soil and feed the plant directly with synthesized nutrients.

Most of our food is now produced the synthetic way, on an industrial scale.  As a consequence, the role soil plays in the production of food is different than it was 80 years ago.  Where soil was the source of nutrients, it is now an inert medium through which plants can be fed nutrients.

This synthetic technology has given us a great amount of control over the production of our food, and has allowed for the industrial scale with which we now grow our food.  With control, however, comes responsibility.  We are now responsible for providing all the nutrition plants need.  If we fail to do so, plants will not provide us with all the nutrition we need.

Who among us is smart enough to know which nutrients plants need, in what quantity, and at what time?  We do our best, but given the nutritional quality of our apple, and the state of our health, it would seem as though we should be going to ground.  And so we ask…

Can livestock be managed to restore our soil?

*******

Comment (0) Hits: 510

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- May 25th 2013- Cocaine + Caffeine= Coca Cola- Guest: Mark Pendergrast, Author of "The Definitive History of the Great American Softdrink and the Company that Makes It"

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Cocaine + Caffeine= Coca Cola - Guest: Mark Pendergrast, Author of "The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes It"

Mark Pendergrast joins Michael Olson to discuss the history of the iconic American soft drink.  Learn about the trials and errors of one of America's biggest companies.  To find out more about Mark and his book click here: http://markpendergrast.com/coca-cola

Comment (0) Hits: 550

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- May 18th 2013- Is the Herbicide Glycosphate (Round Up) Safe to Eat?

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Food Chain Weekly News Topic
EXOGENOUS SEMIOTIC ENTROPY
Herbicide Glyphosate (Roundup)


Food Chain Radio Show #920
May 18, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

*********                       Michael Olson hosts:   Stephanie Seneff, PhD, Senior Research Scientist

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory                              


I recently sat in on a Food Dialogues panel discussion titled “The Straight Story on Biotech in Agriculture: The Media and its Impact on Consumers.”

http://www.fooddialogues.com/chicago-food-dialogues/bio-conference

******
This discussion, which took place in Chicago at the International Bio convention in front of an audience of biotech people from biotech companies like Monsanto and DuPont, quickly became a tug of words between organic and conventional agriculture.  One of the panelists, Dr. Bob Goldberg, was the author of the ballot argument against California’s Proposition 37 GMO Labeling initiative, and so had lots of words with which to tug, and was very good at tugging.

*******
Nevertheless, I was there to tell the audience why I think people are uncertain about their technologies, and the foods those technologies produce, and so offered up something like this:

“You have at your hands a marvelous new technology which has the capacity for ultimate good, and ultimate bad.  You have made it possible for one farmer to grow thousands of acres of food crops with no weeds, and therefore have made their lives much better, and yourselves, much wealthier.  But what did consumers get?  They got food drenched in herbicide and infused with pesticide.  And some of those consumers are starting to ask, ‘What’s to eat?’”

Those who manufacture herbicide-resistant plants say that the herbicide saturated foods are safe for people and mammals to eat.  The herbicides go right straight through us, they say, and they have the science to back up what they say.  And who am I to doubt the wisdom of their science?

Then I ran across the following in the journal Entropy:  “… glyphosate is the “textbook example of exogenous semiotic entropy.”  And… “Consequences are most of the diseases and conditions associated with a Western diet, which include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.”

This leads us to ask the author of that Entropy article…

Is the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) safe to eat?

*******

Comment (0) Hits: 663

The Saturday Food Chain with Michael Olson- May 04th 2013- Super Weed- Is Seaweed good for the Human Body?

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Food Chain Weekly News Topic
SUPER WEED
Food Chain Radio Show #918
April 4, 2013 • Sat 9AM Pacific

Michael Olson hosts:  Scott Kennedy, FarmaSea


••••
Is seaweed a good food for the human body?
*
I was introduced to the nutritional properties of seaweed by Robin, a dedicated gardener from South Africa.  “I have a few boxes to take to the flea market,” he said, “May I have a lift?”
******
When I saw that the boxes contained kelp Robin had drug home from the nearby beach and shredded by hand, I said, “Robin, you have got to be kidding me!   Who in their right mind is going to buy that seaweed?”

*******
“Oh,” Robin replied, “You’ll see!”

After running a few errands, I decided to swing by the flea market to see how Robin was doing peddling his boxes of seaweed.  I found him standing there with a confused look.  There were no boxes of seaweed to be seen anywhere.

“Robin,” I said, “Did you really sell those boxes of seaweed? “

“No,” he replied, slowly and sadly swinging his head from side to side.  “I went to the restroom and when I came back the boxes were gone.  Somebody just took them!”  
•••
The theft of Robin’s boxes caused me to wonder about the value of the seaweed, and later, to buy tons of it to manufacture an organic fertilizer called Soil Essence.   It would be fair to say that I became a believer in the nutritional properties of kelp.  
•••
That being said, the following claim gives me cause to pause: “The people that eat it (kelp) every day or maybe even three times a week, are the healthiest and longest living people in the history of mankind.”
•••
This claim leads me to ask…  
••••
Is seaweed a good food for the human body?

Comment (0) Hits: 408

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