Widespread labor shortage

When we got to the ‘careers’ unit in the English course that I taught in Colombia, I would ask the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. We were studying workplace vocabulary like office, hospital, grocery store, mechanic shop, nurse, firefighter, farmer, doctor, lawyer…. When I would point to the picture of the farmer on his tractor and ask, “Do you want to be a farmer?” their face would say, Are you kidding me? and their lips would pronounce, “No! I do not want to be a farmer.” Continue reading…

Valentine’s Day roses: where did yours come from?

An Ecuadorian rose

For the past two years, Valentine’s Day (February 14) fell on a weekend. This year, floriculturists across Mexico, Ecuador, and Colombia, are glad it’s on a Tuesday, since a weekday—as opposed to a weekend—holiday tends to boost flower sales. Continue reading…

Less nitrogen, more barley

Conservation agriculture aims to preserve natural resources—soil, water, air—while still making a living with a farm. Farmers love any technology that betters the long-term sustainability of their operation, especially if it also increases their efficiency and income. Now, a group of Mexican agricultural researchers have placed another flagstone in the pathway to efficiency and sustainability, this time using two little bacteria with big names. Continue reading…