Sustainable Living

In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, a hive of honeybees appears on display at the Vermont Beekeeping Supply booth at the annual Vermont Farm Show at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, Vt. The federal government hopes to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making more federal land bee-friendly, spending more money on research and considering the use of less pesticides. (AP Photo/Andy Duback, File)

The plan calls for restoring 7 million acres of bee habitat in the next five years. Numerous federal agencies will have to find ways to grow plants on federal lands that are more varied and better for bees to eat because scientists have worried that large land tracts that grow only one crop have hurt bee nutrition.

FILE - This May 10, 2013, file photo shows a genetically engineered potato poking through the soil of a planting pot inside J.R. Simplot's lab in southwestern Idaho. The Agriculture Department has developed the first government certification and labeling for foods that are free of genetically modified ingredients. USDA's move comes as some consumer groups push for mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.   (AP Photo/John Miller, File)

“Recently, a leading global company asked AMS to help verify that the corn and soybeans it uses in its products are not genetically engineered so that the company could label the products as such,” Vilsack wrote in the letter. “AMS worked with the company to develop testing and verification processes to verify the non-GE claim.”

In this Tuesday March 31, 2015 photo, almond grower Bob Weimer poses in his almond orchard near Atwater, Calif.  As California cities and towns move to mandatory water cutbacks in the fourth year of extreme drought, the state’s $6.5 billion almond crop has claimed the spotlight as “the poster child of all things bad in water” in the country’s top agriculture state. At 1 gallon per almond, California’s almond crop is now consuming about 10 percent of all the water that Californians are using in the drought. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SAN FRANCISCO | California almonds are becoming one of the world’s favorite snacks and creating a multibillion-dollar bonanza for agricultural investors. But the crop extracts a staggering price from the land, consuming more water than all the showering, dish-washing and other indoor household water use of California’s 39 million people. As California enters its fourth year of […]

Cooking coach Chef Charles Hill poses for a picture as he holds a Canadian certified organic farm-raised King Salmon at the Wegmans, Friday, April 10, 2015 in Fairfax, Va. Organic fish is certified in the EU and Canada because the US doesn’t have any standard. After more than a decade of delays, the government is moving toward allowing the sale of U.S.-raised organic fish and shellfish. But don't expect it in the grocery store anytime soon.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“The challenge is, will consumers will be willing to pay for it?” says Sebastian Belle, head of the Maine Aquaculture Association, who has advised the USDA on the organic rules. “The markets will decide that.”

FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2104 file photo, organic body products are seen at a Whole Foods in Washington. Consumer interest in the organic label continues to grow. The organic industry says U.S. sales of their products jumped 11 percent last year alone, to more than $39 billion, despite tight domestic supplies of organic ingredients. And the number of U.S. organic operations has grown by 250 percent since the government started certifying organic products 2002, according to new Agriculture Department data released Wednesday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON | The higher price of organic foods and other products doesn’t seem to be deterring consumers: Sales jumped 11 percent last year, an industry report says. Sales of organics have been rapidly growing since the United States put strict rules in place and began certifying organic products in 2002. According to the Agriculture Department, the […]

This July 7, 2011 photo shows a pair of Belgian draft horses on the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, N.C. Many familiar barnyard animals and birds are passing from the scene as farmers concentrate on developing breeds that lay larger eggs, produce leaner meat and mature more quickly for market. Others, like these horses, have lost their jobs as growers convert to faster, more sophisticated machinery to handle their large-scale operations. (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)

“While this is the threshold for this category, some breeds, like the Choctaw hog, have only around 100 animals left in the entire world,” Walker said. “Many of our heritage breed farm animals are far more endangered than the giant panda, Siberian tiger and black rhino.”

This image provided by The John Innes Centre, UK, shows a salad made with red and purple tomatoes. A small British company is planning to apply for U.S. permission to produce and sell purple tomatoes that have high levels of anthocyanins, compounds found in blueberries that some studies show lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The Food and Drug Administration would have to approve any health claims used to sell the products. Cancer-fighting pink pineapples, heart-healthy purple tomatoes and less fatty vegetable oils may someday be on grocery shelves alongside more traditional products. (AP Photo/Andrew Davis, The John Innes Centre, UK)

“I think once people see more of the benefits they will become more accepting of the technology,” says Michael Firko, who oversees the Agriculture Department’s regulation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

This photo provided by Timber Press shows a butterfly and bee pollinating a flower in the book, "The Living Landscape," (Timber Press) by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy. Rather than being redundant, a diversity of pollinators creates stability in vital pollinator communities. (AP Photo/Timber Press, Doug Tallamy)

“It’s no longer enough for a garden to just look pretty. Every garden needs to do more and every garden matters,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor in the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware.

In this Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 image from video, Kyaw Naing, a slave from Myanmar, looks through the bars of a cell at the compound of a fishing company in Benjina, Indonesia. After working for three years on a Thai trawler, sometimes enduring beatings with the bones of sting ray, he begged his captain to let him return home. "All I did was tell my captain I couldn't take it anymore, that I wanted to go home," Naing says. "The next time we docked, I was locked up." (AP Photo/APTN)

“All I did was tell my captain I couldn’t take it anymore, that I wanted to go home,” said Kyaw Naing, his dark eyes pleading into an Associated Press video camera sneaked in by a sympathetic worker. “The next time we docked,” he said nervously out of earshot of a nearby guard, “I was locked up.”

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