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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Sustainable Ag News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

October 24, 2014 |

seedstockUSDA Creates New Website for Climate Hubs

Excerpt: On Wednesday, October 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched a new website dedicated to its regional climate change “hubs,” which the Department created in 2013.  USDA maintains seven hubs–Pacific Northwest, Southwest, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast–and three sub-hubs–Caribbean, Northern Forests, and California.  USDA created the three sub-hubs where “special aspects of biogeography, production systems, sector needs, or demographics suggested the need for focused work at a sub-regional scale.”

Source: sustainableagriculture.net Read More

5 Farms Pushing the Boundaries of Indoor Agriculture

October 23, 2014 |
Bright Farms Courtesy of Bright Farms

Bright Farms
Courtesy of Bright Farms

Indoor farms are the new and innovative way to grow greens. Modern indoor farms are quite large and filled with state-of-the-art technologies – they aren’t the tiny greenhouses of yesteryear.

We’ve rounded up five, indoor farms to give you a taste of what some of the most innovative growing organizations are producing.

1. Bright Farms 

Bright Farms has built its state-of-the-art farming facilities in seven cities. Bright Farms specializes in creating farms that conserve land and water. The Farms also are designed to “eliminate agricultural runoff” and to “reduce greenhouse gas emission from transportation.” Bright Farms has partnered with CropKing (specialists in controlled environment agriculture), Hort Americas (provides products to greenhouse growers), NetSuite (software company), and Nexus Greenhouse Systems (produces affordable greenhouse structures) to ensure it produces top-notch facilities Read More

Local Food Hub Works on Getting Beyond Commodity Corn in The Hoosier State

October 22, 2014 |
Image courtesy of Husk

Image courtesy of Husk

That sweet corn at your nearest supermarket chain probably was not grown locally. In all likelihood, neither were the green beans, lettuce or apples.

Husk is trying to change that. With headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana the startup is aiming to make sure locally-produced food at supermarkets and not just farmers’ markets.

Founded in 2013 by Nick Carter, Adam Moody and Chris Baggott, Husk is is creating a local foods system, complete with farming partners, a processing and distribution facility, and store. Only local farmers grow produce for Husk, and Husk products only sell at local and regional markets. Read More

10 Agriculture Jobs That Didn’t Exist 25 Years Ago

October 21, 2014 |
Mark Winchel tends to his aquaponics system. Photo courtesy of Aquaponics North.

Mark Winchel tends to his aquaponics system. Photo courtesy of Aquaponics North.

What we as a nation define as “agriculture” is morphing and expanding to reflect the changing landscape of American industry.  In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics referred to organic food production as a “growth industry,” denoting a turning point between the farming of the past and the forward-looking, sustainable farming and food economy of the future.

Here are 10 new agriculture and food-sector jobs that didn’t exist 25 years ago. 

Aquaponics Farmer

An aquaponics farmer raises fish in tanks and uses the fish waste water to grow plants and vegetables. Operations can be as small as a backyard tank to a full scale commercial operation.  The recently released 2013 Aquaculture Census states there are now 71 aquaponic farms in the United States with 650 commercial tanks in operation. In the 2005 data, updated in 2007, aquaponics isn’t even mentioned. Aquaponics farming as a measurable commercial American industry is still in its infancy, but looks looks like a growth industry. Read More

Life as a Lunatic: Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin Talks to Seedstock

October 20, 2014 |
Joel Salatin. Image courtesy of Joel Salatin.

Joel Salatin. Image courtesy of Joel Salatin.

“Conventional-farmers call us bioterrorists,” says Joel Salatin of the much heralded Polyface Farm.

“They are literally scared to death that one of our unvaccinated animals is going to get sick and then bring a disease to the area and shut down everybody’s farming and destroy the planet’s food supply. They would like us to pack up and leave. I could either respond with viciousness, depression, frustration and you know, ulcers or whatever, or I can just have fun with it. I decided to have fun with it.”

Joel Salatin is a holistic farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and an iconic figure in the sustainable food movement. Salatin practices a healing-the-land approach to farming in the face of much criticism from both traditional and sustainable agriculture advocates. Salatin self-deprecatingly refers to himself as a “lunatic” and is rather proud of it. A wordsmith and wise meat producer, Salatin offers perspective on all things farmer related. Read More

Sustainable Ag News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

October 17, 2014 |

seedstock‘Young Farmers NY’ provides financial help for St. Lawrence County’s future farmers

Excerpt: New ‘Young Farmers NY’ providing incentives for farmers starting out or hanging on in St. Lawrence County and around the state.

Parts of the program launched include more than $600,000 in grants and a loan forgiveness program, both aimed at helping young farmers overcome obstacles to give them a greater chance of a successful career in agriculture.

Source: North Country Now Read More

Sustainable Food Toolkit Targets Next Generation of Community Food Advocates

October 16, 2014 |
Credit: Melanie McLean

Credit: Melanie McLean

Since children are the future, it is important to teach them about issues that matter, and sustainable food is at the top of that list. The sustainable food movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, but despite its growth there are still more than six million children in the U.S. living in communities that lack access to healthy, sustainable food. Often, these children (and other children across the country) know very little about where food comes from, which foods are healthy, and which foods are good for the environment. Read More

DC Urban Agriculture Bill Could Encourage Farming With Tax Breaks

October 15, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of DC Greens

Photo courtesy of DC Greens

The urban farming movement finally appears to be coming of age in the nation’s capital.

No longer just a novel idea, it’s now on the cusp of receiving institutional support from DC’s city leaders–that is if its backers can get votes to line up in their favor.

Earlier this year, District Council Members David Grosso and Mary Cheh introduced a piece of legislation called the DC Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 that would not only provide a framework for urban ag, but actively encourage it while fostering the consumption of local foods by underprivileged residents. Their bill seeks to achieve these goals through a three-fold strategy of identifying vacant city-owned properties that could be used for farming, incentivizing private landowners to lease out space to farmers through a tax abatement and offering a tax break for fresh produce donated to food pantries and shelters. Read More

Five Colleges Leading the Way in Online Sustainable Agriculture Education

October 14, 2014 |
Green Mountain College Photo courtesy of Green Mountain College

Green Mountain College
Photo courtesy of Green Mountain College

As the demand for local, sustainable food grows, so does the need for farmers who are well-versed in the ways of sustainable agriculture. Fortunately, many educational institutions are ready to train the next generation of sustainable farmers through sustainable agriculture curriculums that cover everything from soil fertility to marketing to food policy.

In recent years, many institutions have even started offering these programs in a flexible online format that makes sustainable agriculture education more accessible to working professionals and sustainable agriculture enthusiasts across the country and world. Read More

Sustainable Ag News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

October 11, 2014 |

seedstockL.A. City Council introduces plan to encourage urban farming

Two Los Angeles City Council members want to transform empty, blighted lots into flourishing urban farms. A motion introduced Wednesday by Councilmen Felipe Fuentes and Curren Price calls for landowners to receive tax breaks for leasing vacant property for agriculture.

Source: LA Times Read More