Archive | December, 2014


Diverse Plant Communities Resist Invasive Species

Herbivores consume more nonnative oak leaf material in areas with diverse native plant communities than in less diverse communities. Why diverse plant communities tend to resist invasion by non-native or invasive species remains uncertain. Researchers from the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Morton Arboretum have been examining the potential role of herbivores on the […]


Consumers Reveal Tomato Preferences

A new study in the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), evaluated consumers’ choice in fresh tomato selection and revealed which characteristics make the fruit most appealing. Researchers found that the most important fresh tomato attributes were color, amount of juice when sliced and size. Consumers were most drawn […]

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Soil Ecosystems: Maintaining Critical Microbial Life

Soil ecosystems aren’t always the first things people notice when they are in nature. When asked to describe a forest or a meadow, most people would probably begin with the plants, the species diversity or the color of the foliage. They probably wouldn’t pay much attention to the soil ecosystems and the critical microbial life. […]

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Plant Communities Beat Monocultures

Although monocultures can be cultivated efficiently, they are anything but sustainable: environmental damage to soil and water caused by monoculture cultivation is becoming increasingly evident, even beyond in-the-know sustainable farming circles. Despite their disadvantages, however, monocultures remain the principal crop form and are often regarded as the sole possibility for achieving higher yields in plant […]

180 Degree Farm Eco-Farmer

Meet an Eco-Farmer: 180 Degree Farm

Why did you begin farming? My wife and I purchased property in Sharpsburg, Georgia, eight years ago. We had envisioned building a house and starting a small farm. Soon after the purchase, my son Mason was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a childhood form of cancer. As Mason’s cancer became nonprogressive, we realized we needed […]