Wot, no agriculture?

The Indian Express reports on a three-day jamboree, “Biodiversity : Showcasing West Bengal 2006”. Highly commendable, of course, but not one mention of any species important to agriculture. Sure rhododendrons and fishes are interesting. But some mention of perhaps tea or rice might not have gone amiss.

Pourquoi pas?

For a truly parochial account of one American professor’s dream of diversifying French nut culture, head on over here. A 77-year old retired professor of physics is promoting pecans in Provence.

A hymn to urban agriculture

Over in Austin Texas, there’s a thriving urban farm that offers a massive slice of biodiversity. Author Tom Philpott sings the praises of the produce. Urban agriculture, and an appreciation of the myriad benefits of biodiversity, could be a great way to create a common cause between the rich and the poor, but few people make the connections. How hard would it be to twin farmers’ markets across the globe?

Trad jazz

A number of stories in the past few days have highlighted some novel initiatives to “mainstream” traditional medicine in Africa and China. First there was an article in The Economist on the effort by the Association for African Medicinal Plants Standards to develop a pharmacopoeia, or database of plants used in traditional medicine. By early next year this will include information on about 50 plants and how they are used across Africa. Then today there’s a report from a WHO meeting in Lusaka saying that institutionalizing traditional medicine would improve the care provided by African health systems. And there’s also news that the Chinese government has launched a programme to test the safety of traditional medicines, the latest in a series of projects on traditional medicine in China (see links at bottom of the page).