The Independent newspaper has a great story about people in Britain who are trying to make a buck (or rather a pound, I suppose) from nature’s bounty. There are five examples, ranging from a guy making sloe gin to another who sells a chopped up, boiled seaweed called purple laver (Porphyra umbilicalis). That’s apparently the basis of an intriguing traditional Welsh treat called laverbread. How do these products reach consumers? A separate article – this one in The Times – on country markets provides one answer.

Kids eat more if fruit and veg are home-grown

A survey in the US has discovered that children eat more fruit and vegetables, and have a more positive attitude to those foods, if they have been grown in a home garden. That’s great, for children at homes with gardens. For the rest, school gardens can help:

“Students at schools with gardens learn about math and science and they also eat more fruits and vegetables. Kids eat healthier and they know more about eating healthy. It’s a winning and low-cost strategy to improve the nutrition of our children at a time when the pediatric obesity is an epidemic problem.”

I happen to think a garden is one of the finest teaching aides ever, but then, I’m biased.

Smorgasbord: take what you need

Like a perfectly assembled buffet, everyone should be able to find something nourishing in Fidel Castro’s latest essay: Where Have All the Bees Gone? And Other Reflections on the Internationalization of Genocide. Ranging across more topics than you can shake a stick at, he says a couple of things that I happen to agree need saying. Like criticising the modern mania for biofuels: it’s a sick joke in developed countries. As The Economist said two weeks ago, “It is not often that this newspaper finds itself in agreement with Fidel Castro, Cuba’s tottering Communist dictator. But …”

(Disparities between Cuba’s infant mortality rate and medical services and those of the United States are not the subject of this blog.)

Then there are the bees. Here’s Fidel:

Scientists are entertaining all kinds of hypotheses, including the theory that a pesticide may have caused the bees’ neurological damage and altered their sense of orientation. Others lay the blame on the drought and even mobile phone waves, but, what’s certain is that no one knows exactly what has unleashed this syndrome.

There’s enough trickiness around without going into the mobile phone argument. I’d be happy to be proved wrong on this, but for now I’m not even prepared to link to the many, many outpourings on the subject. Let’s just say that mobile phones are the least of Cuba’s worries, with the lowest penetration of any country in South America.