Food & Farm News
» July 20, 2011 «
In its first report outlining successes and challenges for farm-to-school programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the programs bring fresh, local produce into school cafeterias … but that schools sometimes have trouble finding enough local produce at the right time. For example, the report notes that produce items often come into season after school has let out for the summer. Farm-to-school programs in Riverside and Ventura were among those studied.
The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" takes on new meaning from research into biofactors, or biologically active compounds found in foods. A study conducted at UC Davis found that biofactors can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. For example, the study said omega-3 fatty acids in foods such as walnuts, flax seeds and salmon may protect against asthma and high blood pressure.
Drought and water supply restrictions can cripple crops, but a group of researchers at UC Davis is working to breed varieties of grain crops that can grow with less water. The success of drought-resistant wheat and barley would help farmers in California and the rest of the U.S., plus developing countries that experience frequent droughts or where modern irrigation technology is not available. The research is funded by a federal grant announced in January.
Nearing the halfway point in their growing season, California rice farmers say they're seeing good plant growth. Farmers say they also look forward to predicted warmer temperatures to kick-start seed growth and development of grain on the top of the plant. Crop progress reports rate 45 percent of the state's rice fields in “excellent” condition, and another 35 percent as “good.” Other rice-growing states have seen rice crops hurt by severe weather.Top