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Organic Farming
Research Articles and Links

Organic Eprints "Organic Eprints is an international open access archive for papers and projects related to research in organic food and farming. The archive contains full-text papers in electronic form together with bibliographic information, abstracts, and other metadata. It also offers information on organisations, projects and facilities in the context of organic farming research." - Organic Eprints
Journal of Organic Systems This is another open access journal. "In 2006 the first issue of the Journal of Organic Systems was posted on this website. This resulted from several years of discussion, prompted by the need for a peer-reviewed scholarly journal in which researchers could publish their findings on ‘Organic Systems’ in the Australasian and Pacific Regions (and beyond)." - Journal of Organic Systems
Directory of Open Access Journals This is a database of open access research journals related to the field of organic farming and agriculture. It is a great resource. "The aim of the DOAJ is to increase the visibility and ease of use of open access scientific and scholarly journals, thereby promoting their increased usage and impact. The DOAJ aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access scientific and scholarly journals that use a quality control system to guarantee the content. In short, the DOAJ aims to be THE one stop shop for users of open access journals. Open Access Journal: We define open access journals as journals that use a funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. From the BOAI definition [1] of "open access", we support the rights of users to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles" as mandatory for a journal to be included in the directory." - DOAJ

Poor and Hungry – Study reveals how little we know about what people eat in SA."IN South Africa, poor rural households are particularly vulnerable to hunger and malnutrition (including overnutrition and undernutrition). The current economic climate and rising food prices are making it difficult for people to achieve a balanced diet. Healthy food seems to be unaffordable for many South Africans and, even more alarming, it appears that, in general, nutrient rich foods tend to have sharper price rises relative to less nutritious foods. To cope with these conditions vulnerable communities employ various mechanisms, including decreasing their consumption of non-staple foods, such as meats, dairy, fruit, and vegetables. This, in turn, increases their risk for micronutrient malnutrition where the body lacks the required vitamins and minerals it requires to function healthily. One way of improving household food and nutrition security, particularly among the rural poor, is to promote the home production of nutrient-rich foods. While many poor residents living in rural areas have access to land and water resources for productive use indications are that food produced at household level currently makes an insignificant contribution to the diet of rural households." - South African Water Research Commission Report. Water Wheel Article, Published 2013/03/04.
Download the article here
What is Food Security and Food Insecurity
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations currently uses the following definition: “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” A similar definition has also been adopted by the US, though in a more limited form. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s definition of food security is, “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Food security comprises several different components, including access to food, distribution of food, the stability of the food supply, and the use of food. The opposite of food security - food insecurity - is defined by the USDA as, “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

Food insecurity is part of a continuum that includes hunger (food deprivation), malnutrition, and famine. Long-term lack of food security eventually becomes hunger, defined by the USDA as “an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity.” The United Nations rarely declares famine status, even in cases of long-term food insecurity, since its definition of famine is quite specific – famine is declared only when “at least 20 percent of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.” Malnutrition can be caused by food insecurity, but can also be caused by poor health, poor care for children, or an unhealthy environment.
Pest Control - The Quest for Green Pesticides
The road to successful organic farming is riddled with holes. Holes made by hundreds and thousands of insects that see any organic garden as their paradise. Fruit, vegetables, and plants are served to them on a plate for them to indulge as they desire. This is any organic farmers biggest challenge, and nightmare. How to get rid of harmful pests without harming the environment. Following is a very interesting and helpful article the throws more light on environment-friendly solutions to this problem. It mainly deals with the use of essential oils as a form of pesticide. The writers also acknowledge that essential oils as a green pesticide do not provide a simple solution and that much more research is necessary for it to be conclusive. Nevertheless, research on the topic so far has proved very promising and is worth a try. Following are the abstract of the article. Follow the link to read the whole article.

Essential Oils as Green Pesticides: Potential and Constraints - OPENDER KOUL, SURESH WALIA AND G. S. DHALIWAL. Biopestic. Int. 4(1): 63–84 (2008)
ABSTRACT   Many plant essential oils show a broad spectrum of activity against pest insects and plant pathogenic fungi ranging from insecticidal, antifeedant, repellent, oviposition deterrent, growth regulatory and antivector activities. These oils also have a long tradition of use in the protection of stored products. Recent investigations indicate that some chemical constituents of these oils interfere with the octopaminergic nervous system in insects. As this target site is not shared with mammals, most essential oil chemicals are relatively non-toxic to mammals and fish in toxicological tests and meet the criteria for “reduced risk” pesticides. Some of these oils and their constituent chemicals are widely used as flavoring agents in foods and beverages and are even exempt from pesticide registration. This special regulatory status combined with the wide availability of essential oils from the flavor and fragrance industries has made it possible to fast-track commercialization of essential oil-based pesticides. Though well received by consumers for use against home and garden pests, these “green pesticides” can also prove effective in agricultural situations, particularly for organic food production. Further, while resistance development continues to be an issue for many synthetic pesticides, it is likely that resistance will develop more slowly to essential-oil-based pesticides owing to the complex mixtures of constituents that characterize many of these oils. Ultimately, it is in developing countries which are rich in endemic plant biodiversity that these pesticides may ultimately have their greatest impact in future integrated pest management (IPM) programmes due to their safety to non-target organisms and the environment.  Read the full article here