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Sweetlife Sustainable Music Fest Grows Up

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Washington D.C. eatery Sweetgreen hosted its fourth annual Sweetlife festival last weekend, with big-name acts like Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk, and headliners the Strokes. The sustainable music festival grew exponentially from 750 people in its Dupont Circle store’s parking lot last year to more than 16,000 people at Merriweather Post Pavilion, despite the consistent rain.

“This started as a block party in our parking lot and got considerably bigger this year, with a new venue and bigger name bands,” said Jonathan Neman, one of Sweetgreen’s three founders. “Music is a big aspect [of our brand] and something we love personally, so it’s a great avenue for us to reach customers and show you can throw a festival in a sustainable way.”

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AEG and Reverb Partner to Promote Sustainability in the Music Industry

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One of the planet’s biggest sports and entertainment presenters, AEG, has announced a strategic partnership with Reverb, an environmental nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, custom greening programs for the music industry while conducting grass-roots outreach and education with fans around the globe. Together, the AEG 1EARTH program and Reverb will partner on research to quantify the impact of live concerts and events while also developing resources that will help educate tour managers and producers about simple actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water and energy usage.

In support of this partnership, AEG divisions such as AEG Live (world’s second largest concert promotions organization), AEG Facilities (operators of more than 100 venues) and AEG 1EARTH will also join the Green Music Group coalition founded by Reverb to promote large-scale greening in the music community. Read More »

Can Organic Farming Feed the World?

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According to the United Nations, the answer is Yes.

The hold out for many of those that cling to conventional farming has often been that it will be impossible for organic farming to feed the world. It’s more expensive and the crops aren’t as strong, right? Wrong. This is far from the truth according to a new UN study reported on Civil Eats.

According to the report, Agro-ecology and the Right to Food, organic and sustainable small scale farming could double food production in the parts of the world where hunger is the biggest issue. Within five to 10 years we could see a big jump in crop cultivation. Read More »

Increased Investments to Combat Food Insecurity

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At a recent meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), experts called for greater investment from both public and private sectors to increase smallholder productivity. To combat soaring food prices, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Senior Economist Jamie Morrison said that, “Particular attention is needed to increase smallholder productivity growth and to their increased integration into markets.”

Niger: AIDS Awareness Enters 21st Century

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In the West African nation of Niger, where much of the society follows strict Muslim codes of conduct, sex education has long been taboo. These days, thanks to a proactive, local NGO called Animas-Sutura, health and sex awareness are getting a new voice.
Animas-Sutura took Niger by storm in 2006, with a large-scale effort to educate women, young people and other at-risk sectors of the population through social marketing techniques. The organization makes health products like condoms, contraceptives, water purification tablets and mosquito nets readily available and affordable. Over the last three years, Animas-Sutura has swelled supplies of these life-saving goods at more than 3000 truck stops, pharmacies, hair salons, bars, market stalls, street vendors and taxis. At many locations, ‘Anti-AIDS Kiosks’ provide education as well as contraception. Read More »

Benin: Solar-powered irrigation a shining success

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It’s official: Solar-powered irrigation systems can boost food and income levels in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new study. Irrigation is known to reduce poverty in Asia, but the success of the technique was not well documented in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The team, from Stanford University, analyzed solar-powered drip irrigation systems – which use photovoltaic pumps to deliver groundwater to the surface – in arid Benin, where most farmers rely on a  3-6 month rainy season and irrigate by hand. The solar system in question was a project of U.S.-based Solar Electric Light Fund – SELF – which “designs and implements sustainable energy solutions for enhancements in health, education, agriculture and economic growth in the developing world.” Read More »