A team of international researchers has found that levels of radioactive material in farmland in parts of northeastern Japan exceed safety standards.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, found that Fukushima prefecture was “highly contaminated” after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged in the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The level of radioactive material found in neighboring prefectures, such as Miyagi, Tochigi and Ibaraki, was lower but could still pose a threat to food production in some areas, the researchers said.
The study, led by Teppei Yasunari of the Universities Space Research Assn. in Maryland, looked at levels of cesium-137, which is of particular concern because it takes decades to decay.
The researchers used daily measurements collected in most prefectures along with computer-generated models of particle dispersion based on weather patterns to estimate the level of contamination across Japan.
The legal limit in Japan for concentrations of cesium-137 and cesium-134 in farm soil is 5,000 becquerels per kilogram (2.2 pounds). Cesium-137 makes up about half of the total for the concentrations, which are produced together.
The study found that the level of contamination in east Fukushima exceeded the safety limits. Results from neighboring prefectures were within the legal limits, but the researchers advised local authorities to conduct supplementary soil sampling.
The leaves resemble brown lasagna noodles when they wash ashore on coasts around the world. Like many other seaweeds, sugar kelp has all sorts of uses. The leaves of Saccharina latissima provide a sweetener, mannitol, as well as thickening and gelling agents that are added to food, textiles and cosmetics.
But some believe its most important potential is largely untapped: as an addition to the American diet.
Seaweed is widely cultivated and consumed in Asia. However, in North America, where it sometimes is rebranded as a “sea vegetable,” it is cultivated rarely and eaten infrequently. To proponents, this is the unfortunate oversight, considering it is a crop that can clean the water in which it grows, needs no arable land, and provide a nutritious food with traditional roots.
August 30th, 2009 by peoplesdialectic
I’ve always been impressed with the quality of events Kanu Hawaii puts on to help the community and raise awareness about important issues.
The Eat Local Challenge is no exception. In fact, it strikes at the heart of possibly one of the most immediate and important questions for our islands. Eating local is beneficial on both an economic and environmental level. And the light the Challenge shines on food channels couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin featured on Wednesday, August 12, an article discussing plans to develop 1,500 acres of some of ‘the best ag land’ on Oahu for a 12,000 home community. The loss of this prime agricultural land to tract housing, shopping centers, and business parks will be a significant loss of our ability to grow food for ourselves.
There was a day when the economy of our islands didn’t depend on visitors from around the world. While no one suggests we return to the plantation culture, we do need to diversify our economy away from tourism. With a revenue stream that is so fundamentally tied to the vacation plans of people around the world, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to economic hard times and recessions. We can no longer afford to depend so heavily on the disposable income of others. Hawaii must once again become self-sufficient.
Kaua‘i now imports approximately 90% of its daily food. This situation renders us vulnerable to interruptions in shipping, rising fuel costs and an increasing scarcity of certain foods in the face of rising world population. Some experts claim that the demand for food has already exceeded the supply. These conditions invite predictions of serious food shortages for our island at the same time that profits from our food expenditures are going to off-island suppliers rather than strengthening our local economy.
On the average the entire State only produces somewhere between 4.4 to 5.8 percent of our food supply. Specialists at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agricultural have pointed out that if we doubled our production of local food we would be avoiding $120 million in imports and creating more than 3,000 jobs. Farm related business income would increase, they predict, by about $64 million, and of course, other economic benefits would occur. Similar estimates regarding the benefits of increasing local food production have been suggested by Governor Lingle and also by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Here is the PDF file for the Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry: Current and Potential Economic and Fiscal Contributions report.
Please visit the website for more information: http://www.nass.usda.gov/hi/
Hawaii’s Seed Crop Industry
Mark E. Hudson, Director
USDA NASS Hawaii Field Office
1421 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96814-2512
Office: (808) 973-9588 / (800) 804-9514
Fax: (808) 973-2909
The research objective of this study is to update our 2006 study of the Hawaii seed crop industry’s economic and fiscal contributions to the State of Hawaii. To this end we have provided:
• Background information about the technology used by the industry locally and internationally,
• Details of Hawaii’s seed crop industry with comparisons to other Hawaii sectors and subsectors,
• The economic contributions of the seed crop industry.
Our primary research conclusion is that Hawaii’s seed crop industry makes significant ever increasing economic and fiscal contributions to the state’s economy generally, and most particularly simultaneous contributions to the agriculture, life sciences and high technology subsectors. In so doing, the Hawaii seed crop industry generates various positive externalities to the state, the value of which has not been assessed in this study. Seed crop industry economic contributions to the state should continue to increase given anticipated industry investments in Hawaii, which will assist achievement not only of economic policy objectives but other objectives as well, the various positive side effects of this industry operating in Hawaii.
Sustainable Tropical Agriculture 294
June 12th-July 19th, 2007 University of Hawaii-Hilo is offering an experiential class this summer in diversified, organic, holistic agricultural practices with local experts Nancy Redfeather, Tracy Matfin, Craig Elevitch, Melanie & Colehour Bondera, Mike Brown, Geoff Rauch & more! The focus will be on practical solutions in organic farming with plenty of hands-on group projects and several field trips to working farms.
Topics to include: Bamboo Production/Marketing, Seed Saving, Growing Traditional Hawaiian Crops, Animal Husbandry, Organic Food Production, Soil Health/Compost/Compost Tea, Agroforestry/Diversity, Multiple Yealds/Niche Products, Myths of Industrial Agriculture, & Permaculture Principles & Techniques.
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-12noon June 12-July 19th, 2007
For information call Sarah Sullivan, 808-756-1269
UH admissions office: 808-974-7414
Join us for this hands-on course at UHH Panaewa Farm!