Tyson Gersh works out of a rustic office in a rehabbed building overlooking a majestic urban garden in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. Lined with flowers, the farm bursts with an abundance of organically grown herbs and vegetables. A nonprofit called the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative oversees the field. Gersh, a 25-year-old-college student, is its president.
He established the all-volunteer organization in 2012 with fellow U-M student Darin Mcleskey to provide fresh healthy food to low-income families and to support the local community. Beyond growing food, its mission involves fixing up nearby buildings, converting some into ag-related structures like a retention pond and others into assets like a community center and veterans’ housing. Volunteers are also working on tech, developing data metrics they believe will help other urban ag projects grow.
Barnraiser gives food entrepreneurs a drowdfunding platform of their own.
Source: Civil Eats
In a recent New York Times op-ed, Bren Smith, a shellfish and seaweed farmer on the Long Island Sound, states that “the much-celebrated small-scale farmer isn’t making a living.”
Smith’s article is positioned as a call-to-action for sustainable farmers across the nation to come together and force national reform. Claiming that too-competitive farmers’ markets and CSA’s and the proliferation non-profit farming operations conspire to price the small grower out, Smith states that his “experience proves the trend.”
But does it?
Seedstock spoke with several of the small, local farmers we’ve covered over the last several years to get their take on Smith’s piece.
Kettering University and Metro Community Development in Flint, Michigan, are working together to build an aquaponics farm that could eventually feed area neighborhoods.
Metro Community Development first approached Kettering University to help research and plan the potential aquaponics facility, says Dr. Matthew Sanders, professor and director of the Center for Culminating Undergraduate Experiences at Kettering University.
If you keep bees, have an interest in bees or have ever heard the often muttered phrase ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’ or CCD, you may have heard of Jonathan vanEngelsdorp.
Research scientist for the University of Maryland and former State Apiarist for Pennsylvania, vanEngelsdorp is the director of a nationwide bee data collection project, the ‘Bee Informed Partnership’ or BIP. BIP collaborates with backyard beekeepers and industry stakeholders to conduct bee-centric research. The goal is to make healthier bees and ensure that natural pollination ceases to decline. Over the last few years a lot of misnomers have sprung up in regard to the health of bees, and vanEngelsdorp and his team are working hard to educate Americans about thee state of our pollinators.
Local and sustainable food is great, as long as it is put to use. But according to food writer Jonathan Bloom, many people are chronic wasters of what they eat, which results in the loss of nutrition (not to mention the effort required to produce it) to a vacuum.
Bloom battles the issue of food waste through his blog, Wasted Food (and a book he wrote, American Wasteland. Seedstock asked Bloom his opinions about numerous aspects of wasted food.
Seedstock: What caused you to become so interested in the issue of food gone to waste?
Bloom: It started from a simple idea: wasting food made no sense. It was and is foolish to squander almost half of our food in a nation (and world) with so much hunger. My interest grew even more when I realized the environmental consequences of our food waste—both the squandered natural resources and the methane emissions from food rotting in landfills.
Imagine going into a store and picking out your dinner by literally pulling it up by the roots. Sound farfetched? It’s not. In fact, it’s the behind a North Carolina-based venture called the Farmery.
The project is an effort to blend the convenience of a retail grocery store and cafe with the freshness of an indoor urban farming system operation.
Several prototypes of the system are already up and running, and the Farmery team is now in final talks with investors to get a two-story, 16,000-square-foot version operational by fall of 2015, most likely in North Carolina.
Shop according to your political persuasion with this new app based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Sunlight Foundation and the Institute for State Money in Politics
Source: Washington Post
A new National Wildlife Federation highlights business opportunities for rural entrepreneurs growing cover crops.
Source: The Prairie Star Ag Weekly
Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference’s Urban Farm Field Trip to Tour Diverse Local Food Operations in Los AngelesAugust 21, 2014 | Robert Puro
Attendees of Seedstock’s 3rd Annual Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference will get a sneak peak at Los Angeles’ first multi-faceted food production business incubator for local entrepreneurs along with a tour of a blossoming 1.5-acre high school campus urban farming operation in Pasadena and a visit to a shipping container farm in the L.A. Art District.
The field trip, an excursion into the wide-ranging diversity of sustainable urban agriculture, will kick off Seedstock’s “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” two-day event on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.
In the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles, a former 56,000-square-foot industrial building is undergoing major renovations to ultimately house L.A. Prep, an accelerator for small food producers who have outgrown their startup spaces. The project, which broke ground this summer, will have its first tenants taking occupancy in early 2015.
Many restaurants boast a farm-to-fork experience, but how many diners are able to eat food harvested right before it arrives on their table? Fresh with Edge, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, makes it possible.
Fresh with Edge has found its niche in moving the farm indoors―to homes, restaurants and grocery stores. Its secret? Removing the need for soil by utilizing aquaponics and hydroponics to grow greens on towers. Herbs and greens at Fresh with Edge grow on 5-foot vertical towers in a greenhouse system. When ready to harvest, the towers are moved to a location where they will be consumed, such as a supermarket or restaurant.
Founder Chris Lukenbill and his wife, Lisa, came up with the idea of Fresh with Edge in 2011. Their idea grew from a desire to know where their food came from. Neither Chris nor Lisa was raised on a farm, but both have a strong base of agricultural knowledge, gleaned from aunts and uncles. Both work in computer science, and used this skill to establish a successful aquaponics enterprise.