Excerpt: ‘We have developed a freely available phone app to optimize pesticide spray applications based on weather and spray settings.
Excerpt: Realizing it may be hard to find inspiring legal jobs when they graduate in May, Marlene van Es and Jaclyn Clifford decided to create their own.
Since its start in 2005, Brattleboro, Vermont-based Post Oil Solutions has focused on the issues surrounding climate change. Along the way, the community development group incubated two companies: Food Connects and Windham Farm and Food. In February of 2015, the two startups merged.
“Food justice and food systems are naturally related issues, so we began doing some programming around community food security,” says Helen Rortvedt, communications director of Food Connects. “A local food hub was created and housed under Post Oil Solutions for a couple of years then set free to become its own limited liability corporation. That organization is Windham Farm and Food, LLC.”
Hollygrove Market & Farm (HM&F) has shortened the food distribution chain to zero by combining an urban farm with a grocery store.
For many area residents in New Orleans’ 17th Ward, HM&F is their only source of affordable, local fresh food. HM&F goes out of its way to provide healthy food choices by letting customers choose from purchasing single items or CSA-style food boxes.
HM&F began as part of the Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation. In the past they have enjoyed support from area organizations including the New Orleans Food & Farm Network and the Master Gardeners of New Orleans.
The average age of American farmers is 58.3 years, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture. Young farmers are needed, and those who are inexperienced have a variety of farmer training programs (many of them focusing on sustainability) to choose from.
- Oregon’s Rogue Farm Corps runs an internship program for beginning farmers called FarmsNext. This full-season offering trains new farmers and ranchers in sustainable agriculture. Those enrolled in the program gain up to 1,500 hours of hands-on training from a mentor, 75 hours of classroom time, local farm tours and independent study opportunities. Rogue Farm Corps runs four chapters across the state: Rogue Valley, South Willamette, Portland and Central Oregon. The organization was founded in 2003 by farmers in the southern part of the state who saw the need to provide education to those new to agriculture.
The Colorado state legislature has taken the first step towards passing a bill supporting statewide farm-to-school programs. House Bill 15-1088 seeks to build the capacity of farmers by helping them overcome economic hurdles and connect with school districts interested in serving fresh, local products to their students. The bill was introduced by Representative Faith Winter and passed the House Education committee last month.
House Bill 15-1088 is the result of years of research and work with public school districts across the state of Colorado. As a response to an increasing interest in farm-to-school programs, the state legislature created the Colorado Farm to School Task Force in 2010. According to Jeremy West, the nutrition director of the Greeley Evans school district, the goal of the task force was “to develop a framework, share best practices and identify and address some of the big struggles and roadblocks.”
Excerpt: Soil-conservation farming, a movement that promotes not tilling fields and using “green” manures, is gaining converts in tough environments and markets.
A company in California is using technology to engage people in local agriculture and support the local farming economy. Ag Link, based in the San Joaquin Valley, has created a website and smartphone app, Ag Link Connect, for consumers looking for local food and farms, as well as fun local activities and agriculture related events. By partnering with other agencies, Ag Link hopes to create a statewide network that will increase the reach of local agriculture organizations.
Ag Link Connect was created by Rob and Jana Nairn, native Californians who grew up on farms and have degrees in agricultural marketing. Their business started as an e-commerce platform to connect schools to local farms in support of farm-to-school programs in California.
“As we were developing a business model of connecting growers to schools, we came across a lot of growers whose products didn’t fit into this market but were interested in what we were doing,” Jana explains. “We started looking for opportunities to fit their needs.”
What makes a local food system?
That’s what the Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council set out to discover through their food system assessment for the 20 counties surrounding Springfield, Missouri.
Their findings show the strengths and weaknesses of the local food economy. The process also, brought together stakeholders from across the state to move the local food system forward. They determined a need to build more food hub facilities, while giving small growers the business resources to move their company forward.
After New Mexico Black Chamber of Commerce chairman Michael McNair investigated why some black farmers in the state experienced water shortages, he learned about aquaponics from watching videos on YouTube.
In a moment of epiphany, he realized that aquaponics would work not only for these farmers, but for the entire state of New Mexico. Since, he has become president of the New Mexico Aquaponics Association, and helped spearhead New Mexico House Bill 201, which adds tilapia and hybrid striped bass to the list of fish regulated by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.
When a Benedictine sister at a St. Leo, Florida monastery wanted to do more in helping feed the hungry and heal the world, she did something a bit unexpected: she started an onsite aquaponics system.
Prior to this endeavor, Sister Miriam Cosgrove’s knowledge of aquaponics did not extend far. So last March, she sought the advice of experts at Morning Star Fishermen, an international aquaponics research and training center in nearby Dade City.
But there were still other hurdles to jump. First was the issue of funding. Second, the City of St. Leo wanted Holy Name Monastery to acquire a permit to start construction. This led to Cosgrove having to educate city officials about what aquaponics entails.