Green Mountain Signs Distribution Agreement with Solluxus for Bio-Miracle Products

Robert Brehm CEO of Green Mountain Development Corp (Pinksheet: GMND), announced that Green Mountain and Solluxus, LLC have signed a joint venture (JV) distribution agreement for a private label version of the company’s Bio-Miracle™ microbial products. Solluxus plans to market the microbial products with its non-GMO seeds to groups and individuals who want to preserve and protect the integrity of the food supply.

Under the terms of the agreement, Solluxus will have exclusive channel international marketing rights for Bio-Miracle™ products through its proprietary sales and marketing program and Green Mountain will provide fulfillment services for the Bio-Miracle™ and Solluxus products. Both companies will work together to develop and distribute related products for Solluxus including solar power, water treatment, and backyard and community food growing systems that empower individual and community self reliance. The three year renewable agreement provides for exclusive channel marketing rights in return for a $5MM product purchase commitment. Initial product deliveries are expected in the third quarter beginning April 1.

Brehm commented, “I have known the principal of Solluxus for over 20 years and when he invited me to participate, I was very excited to not only supply the Bio-Miracle™ products but also to be actively involved in the market development and product mix decision making. I believe our past experience in water treatment and the company’s microbial product line will be very useful in quickly ramping up Solluxus’ sales efforts to domestic and international customers. Our initial efforts will be in branding, packaging design, kitting, and setting up the internal operations for product fulfillment and customer support for deliveries beginning in the third quarter. The Solluxus relationship adds a new channel of distribution and potentially large, new customer base that augments our existing international channels for Bio-Miracle™ product distribution.”

About Green Mountain Development Corp

Green Mountain Development Corp provides project development services for capital providers and technology operators and distributes licensed products related to the energy, agricultural and environmental sectors.

About Solluxus
Solluxus is connecting like-minded people and groups to encourage strategies for protection of family, for self-reliance and for sustainability through delivery of non-GMO seeds and related products. (see www.Solluxus.com for more info or contact at 1-702-871-8535).

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Banana sourcing policy holds key to feeding the world’s growing population says The Co-operative

Banana sourcing policy holds key to feeding the world’s growing population says The Co-operative.

In a move to mark this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight, The Co-operative today (Monday 27 February) announced a new banana sourcing policy, which could be the blueprint for feeding the world’s growing population.

The Co-operative, which was the first to launch Fairtrade bananas into the UK, has now switched all its bananas to 100% Fairtrade, with a unique sourcing model demonstrating unrivalled commitment to fellow co-operatives and small-scale growers, who between them will supply the bananas on a 50/50 basis.

All of The Co-operative’s bananas are now supplied by fellow co-operatives, 23 of which are made up of thousands of smallholder growers from countries including Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

Bananas are the most popular fruit in the UK, and The Co-operative sells a staggering 230 million bananas a year – enough to circle the globe.

As part of its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, The Co-operative has pledged that if products can be labelled as Fairtrade, they will be, and by the end of 2013, the retailer hopes to be 90% towards this target.

Oxfam, which has teamed up with The Co-operative, believes that smallholder producers, many of which are co-operatives, are the key to feeding the extra two billion people that it is estimated will be on the planet by 2050, despite the gathering pace of climate change and dwindling natural resources. Together The Co-operative and Oxfam will campaign for increased international investment to help smallholder growers and co-operatives to feed the world sustainably.

At a time when the United Nations has designated 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives, they will also help to ensure that the role co-operatives play worldwide is recognised.

Group Chief Executive Peter Marks said: “Despite the economic downturn, Fairtrade sales in the UK continue to grow, and support for Fairtrade from our own customers and members is as strong as ever.

The switch to 100% Fairtrade bananas in more than 4,000 Co-operative stores in the UK is a demonstration of this commitment to Fairtrade, co-operatives and small-scale farmers.

“However, having been instrumental in bringing Fairtrade into the mainstream, we recognise the unique role we can play as a co-operative in going beyond Fairtrade and increasing support for our producers to tackle global poverty.

“Our new partnership with Oxfam is an example of this and is particularly timely given it’s the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives.”

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The National Trust Reports Lovesick Cows Get New Mate For Valentine’s

The National Trust has revealed that an Irish Moiled bull is set to be in the ‘moo-d’ for love at Wimpole Home Farm after the romantic future of a rare breed cow herd was put to the vote.

The National Trust’s online MyFarm community voted on which breed should get a mate for Valentine’s Day.*

The farm team at the 1,450 acre farm in Cambridgeshire, home to 65 rare breed cows and four bulls, are on the hunt for a new bull, but can only afford one.

Setting a ‘Moo Who?’ challenge, The National Trust MyFarm community had six days to research and vote on which of the three (Gloucester, Irish Moiled or Shetland) rare breed cow herds living on the farm was the most deserving of a new mate.

After the ‘battle of the cattle’ the Irish Moiled herd took an ‘udderly’ overwhelming 51% of the vote. When a suitable beast is found it will mate with the 10 cows from the herd ‘ready for the bull’ to create pure breed offspring.

Cows from the other herds will be cross-bred with Juggernaut, a one tonne, Long Horn bull who already lives on the farm.

Farm Manager Richard Morris said: “Each breed has its own characteristics and is special for different reasons. All three herds are on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s ‘At Risk’ register – meaning there are fewer than 750 breeding females in the UK.

“But, it’s never as simple as just choosing the rarest, this had to be weighed up against bull prices, the number of cows in each herd, (more cows mean more calves); and the quality of the meat produced when the cows are ready for slaughter.

“This was truly one of those heart versus head votes and we’ll now be buying a Irish Moiled bull. Hopefully he’ll mate successfully with our 10 Irish Moiled cows.”

Stockman Mark Field at Wimpole said: “Back in 2000 we only had three Irish Moiled cows on the farm. Since then we’ve been working hard to enlarge the herd, working with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust to extend the gene pool.

“Thanks to the MyFarm communities votes we can now continue that work. I’m looking forward to getting into the market to find a suitable Irish Moiled bull to introduce to our herd – and to MyFarmers.”

The new Irish Moiled bull and the four other bulls will be expected to mate with all 65 breeding cows over the spring and summer at Wimpole Estate with calves expected in 2013.

To sign up and to get involved with everything related to farming, food and where it comes from, visit www.my-farm.org.uk.

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Warick University Research into possible Woodchester wild cat finds no cat DNA on deer

The National Trust asked the University of Warwick to test a roe deer carcass found near Woodchester Park, Gloucestershire in early January after examination of the wounds led to speculation that it may have been killed by a big cat.

Comprehensive DNA tests have found fox DNA on the Woodchester carcass and what is expected to be fox DNA on the second deer carcass found a few miles away.

Dr Robin Allaby, Associate Professor at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick, said: “We did not detect cat DNA on either deer carcass. Other than deer, by far the strongest genetic signal we found on the Woodchester Park carcass was from a fox. That fox DNA was found on the ribs, legs and fur plucking sites from the Woodchester deer carcass.

“On the second deer carcass we found canid DNA. A more detailed analysis is underway to pin down the canid species but our expectation is that that will also be fox DNA.”

Dr Robin Allaby took 45 samples in total, from the wounds of the deer carcasses with the aim of testing specifically for DNA from the saliva of any canid (for instance dog or fox) or felid (cat) species which had killed or scavenged from the deer.

He used those samples to carry out 450 PCRs (the polymerase chain reaction is a standard scientific technique to amplify the target DNA), and almost 600 sequence reactions. The team searched for two gene targets each of deer and canid, but over 30 different cat gene targets.

David Armstrong, Head Ranger for the National Trust in Gloucestershire said: “The story of the investigation of the dead deer has really sparked off local curiosity with a lot of people who visit Woodchester Park to explore. People love a mystery like this and although we haven’t found a wild cat, many of our visitors clearly believe there might be something interesting living quietly hidden in Woodchester.”

Rick Minter, author of a new book on big cats reported in Britain, said: “There has been speculation of breeding amongst feral big cats in the UK. We are no closer to indicating that with these results, but lessons have been learnt from Warwick University’s valuable input to this exercise. The strong media interest suggests an appetite to look into this subject further, and recent community surveys in Gloucestershire have indicated a strong desire for big cat evidence to be researched carefully.

“We should not be complacent about possible big cats in the UK, but considering these animals living secretly in our landscape can fire people’s imaginations and help us consider all of the wild nature around us. Our outdoors can still hold surprises maybe.”

Big cats will do their utmost to avoid contact with people but anyone who does see a big cat in the wild is advised to stay composed and back away from the animal.

Any sightings or possible evidence on National Trust land can also be reported by email to nature@nationaltrust.org.uk.

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The National Trust boost for Box Hill wildlife also benefits Olympic spectators

Rare wildlife has a better chance to thrive thanks to a scrub clearance at the National Trust’s Box Hill in Surrey.

The work also allows many more cycling fans to watch the Olympic Road Races in July, combining a sustainable Games with excellent sporting facilities.

The hill is home to many endangered species that only live on chalk grassland such as small blue butterflies and man orchids. These species are protected nationally and internationally which is why Box Hill is a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest,

A detailed wildlife survey funded by The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) proved the Trust could safely remove some areas of scrub, creating more grassland where these species can flourish.

The National Trust, LOCOG and the government’s wildlife and landscape advisers, Natural England, have worked together to create a balance between protecting wildlife and promoting enjoyment of top level international sport.

It is hoped the work will make room for up to 15,000 spectators to watch the world’s best cyclists tackle one of the most exciting sections of the Olympic race route – Box Hill’s Zig-Zag road – on July 28 and 29.

Andy Wright, the National Trust Countryside Manager for Box Hill said: “It’s great news that so many people will be able to enjoy the races in this wonderful natural setting.

“Since traditional farming ceased in the 1930s, woodland has been encroaching onto the grassland at Box Hill and we’ve been battling to keep it back.

“The surveys conducted by LOCOG are the most thorough ever carried out on this site and they have really helped us understand the best way to manage the habitat for the long term.

“The scrub alongside the road has very few species living in it so after we removed it, it didn’t matter if people walked in those areas.

“Gradually, over the years that land will turn back into chalk grassland which is a much richer habitat – supporting around 60 to 100 species of plants, animals and insects per square metre.”

As well as being a valuable area for wildlife, the steep and winding Box Hill loop is considered to be one of the most challenging stages of the Olympic Cycling Road Race.

Jim Smyllie, Natural England’s Executive Director for Delivery, said: “The cycling road races will be world class events in world class scenery and the restoration work at Box Hill will help ensure they leave a living legacy.”

The scrub clearance work began on January 30th and the Zig-Zag road was closed for a week to allow trees to be felled. Strips of land on both sides of the road were trimmed but occasional bridges of overhanging trees were left to allow dormice and other woodland creatures to cross.

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