By word-of-mouth, I recently heard about a national organization known as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). If there is one organization I’d like for people to be aware of, it would be this one! This organization’s purpose is to support the organic farming industry, local farming and in return, support your well-being and overall health.Farms associated with it are the small, independent, labor-intensive, family farms. The CSA arranges to deliver fresh produce (sometimes meat and dairy) to your door on a weekly basis. Due to the low cost of distribution, these foods tend to be competitive with conventionally grown produce. I find this to be one of the strong points in signing-up for this organization. Sure, you can go to your nearest major grocery store and choose from a variety of produce but they all traveled miles and miles away. You can’t even be sure where they traveled from! Wouldn’t it be great to scan your produce and see where it was grown and how it was grown? That’ll be the day. At least with CSA farms, you can be sure of the story behind what you are eating.I am currently reading an excellent book entitled, “Animal ,Vegetable, Miracle” in which the author outlines several major grocers who control their intake of organic foods. Grocery stores control the number of times organic farms distribute their produce. There are also strict guidelines to which organic farmers must be approved for in order for their produce to be accepted to major grocers. Major grocers will not accept produce that is below a certain weight, is discolored, does not follow specific shape/size requirements, etc. Keep in mind that even though this organic produce may have a shorter stem or is lop-sided, it still tastes the same and contains the same amount of nutrients and minerals. Major grocers control what we eat and waste food on a purely subjective basis. I can hardly walk through a produce section in a major grocer without being disgusted with their ways.If you don’t want to sign-up for this organization, at least get yourself familiar with the farmer markets in your town/city and support local farming and be pesticide-free!
The Duoro River runs through Spain and Portugal and is a very important river for the Iberian peninsula. It starts in Spain near Duruelo de la sierra and ends in Portugal near Porto. The river passes through five different provinces; Tordesillas, Alamazan, Soria, Aranda de Duero and Zamora. Only a few sections of the river can actually be accessed by boat.The Douro is very important to agriculture in the area as it is used for irrigation and creates its own micro climate in the dry arid land it is in. Almonds, grapes and olives are all grown near the Douro. The grapes from this area are used in the famous wine Port and the Douro has been named its own wine region.In order to regulate the flow of the river there have been many dams build in the river in Portugal. It is in Portugal where you can travel by boat on the river and see much of the country. These dams have created a more consistent flow as well as using locks that make it very easy for boats to travel through what was once difficult river.There are many towns along the banks of the river. Some of these towns and large cities are Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Zamora, Valladolid, Foz Coa, Miranda do Douro and Peso da Regua. These towns have beautiful homes, castles, manor homes, churches and monasteries that can be visited.The part of the river that cannot be traveled on by boat is mainly the section that forms the boundary between Portugal and Spain. This part of the river forms narrow canyons that were historically important areas for battle. They also managed to create language barriers between two areas.The most isolated spots of the river are actually part of the Arribes de Duero Natural Park on one side and the International Douro Natural park on the other side.
In agriculture, particulates used in fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides must be meticulously controlled, otherwise they would not be effective or would be wasted during application. Particles in the fertilizers used in farmed fields must have the precise size for the chemicals to be infused into the soil at the proper rate. Too large a particle and the growing products risk being damaged. You can run the risk of being wasteful with too small a particle, as the chemicals would not be enough to be effective.The study of these particles is called particle sizing. Instruments used in this process are highly precision instruments that can analyze components down to very tiny diameters, as in microns, or micrometers. These instruments use a variety of methods for this, as the tried and true sedimentation particle sizing, which the settling of particles in a solution which can determine their size and mass. Laser light scattering, where a concentrated laser beam is projected through the particulate mass and the reflected light is analysed to determine the size, shape, and even rotational velocity of the particles.In the sedimentation particle sizing process, a solution is used to suspend the particles to be measured. Special lenses are used to collect the light from a lamp on one side of the sedimentation tube. The lenses are connected to a sensor, which can measure accurately the light differences when the particles settle past. The speed in which the particles move past the lens can determine the mass, or weight, of each particle. The light diffracted and refracted from each particle can determine the size of each individual scintilla, and the shape can be scrutinized by the way the particle spins as it settles.In laser light refraction particle sizing, a powerful focused laser beam in the particle size analyser is sent through am aerosol, suspension, or emulsion. The scattering of light from this is detected and measured by sensors similar to that of a digital camera, also known as a charged coupled device. This CCD can detect difference s of light scattering from the particles to indicate size, shape, mass, and even velocity. Velocity is useful for determining how particles aerosol in powder form, such as used by farmers to scatter chemical fertilizers.In pesticides and herbicides, proper coverage is extremely important to the farming community. If the mixtures that the farmers used did not completely coat the plants they were trying to protect, or if the herbicides did not cover the weeds well, there would be massive waste of these chemicals. If protective chemicals could not penetrate the soil due to too large a particle size, then there would be no reason to apply them in the first place. Particle size analysers aid in the proper amalgamation of these components.Manufacturers of these vital products know the importance of the beneficial properties as mentioned above. They use sophisticated techniques to fabricate the chemicals that most farmers use, and one of the most obviously important methodology is particle sizing. Materials used in fertilizers come mostly in powdered form. Powders can be problematic if they are too fine or too coarse. Particle sizing analysers can determine the quality of such powders during manufacturing.