Nurit Katz is UCLA’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, a role that has her working to advance a variety of sustainability goals at the university, as well as teaching in the UCLA Extension’s Global Sustainability Certificate Program.
Katz participated in a panel at the Seedstock Reintegrating Agriculture conference in November,where she provided insight into her efforts to move UCLA towards its goal of having 20 percent of its food procurement qualify as sustainable by 2020.
We caught up with her after the conference to find out more about how how she does her job, and what projects she is working on to achieve this ambitious goal.
Seedstock: Describe the path of your career; how you did you come to your role as UCLA’s First Chief Sustainability Officer?
Nurit Katz: My background is in environmental and outdoor education. I used to work with kids a lot, taking kids from the city who’d never been hiking out on the trail. I also brought kids to a farm-to-school program where they learned about how to grow healthy food. A lot of kids don’t even know where the food comes from, and they got to participate and help grow food and interact with the farm.That was a really great program.
After graduating college, Hannah and Jonathan Moser learned the mechanics of CSA management while working on a vegetable farm in Australia. Then the couple came home to North Dakota and decided to give it a try for themselves, launching Forager Farm.
The farm consists of approximately three acres of growing space on a large family cattle ranch. The Mosers completed their first growing season in October, using intensive growing, diverse crops and sustainable methods. Very quickly, Forager Farm has emerged as a leader in the local community’s sustainable local food scene.
In a state with very few CSA programs in place, the concept of a local food movement remains a fringe idea. In order to promote and gain support for consumer supported agriculture in the region, the Mosers had to first educate people as to what the need. Using her storytelling skills and a degree in PR and marketing, Hanna uses the web as a platform for growing awareness in her community.
Robert Egger is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, a culinary arts job training program for people coming out of foster care and incarceration. He also launched D.C. Central Kitchen, a similar effort, in 1989. L.A. Kitchen is currently in pilot phase and will launch in a new space in 2015. Read more about L.A. Kitchen in Seedstock here.
At the Seedstock Reintegrating Agriculture conference in November, Egger delivered a keynote in which he talked about waste, both in terms of food and human potential, and opportunity, in existing community resources and in the impending wave of older people who will be hungry in coming years.
Excerpt: According to the analysis, led by Lauren Ponisio (and published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London), there is evidence that sustainable agriculture – when done right – may have the potential to match the productivity of our dominant agricultural systems.
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists
U.S. to See More Urban Farming in 2015 as Economics Improve, Consumer Demand Increases and More Incentives are AddedDecember 10, 2014 | seedstock
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 10, 2014 – Urban agriculture is expected to maintain strong growth in the United States in 2015 as cities and states provide more incentives, more start-up farmers enter the field, smaller operations improve their profitability and consumer demand for locally grown food remains strong, according to Seedstock.com.
The growth outlook for land, production and jobs connected with urban farming was generated from Seedstock’s recent annual conference at UCLA where more than 250 farmers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and others gathered to hear experts discuss current factors driving robust local food systems in dozens of urban settings across the country.
As the sustainable agriculture movement has flourished in the United States, so has the need to support the local food movement in concrete and productive ways. Hopeful Harvest Foods, an offshoot of the influential Forgotten Harvest of metro Detroit, is coming up with practical solutions to do just that.
Chris Nemeth, senior director of social enterprise for Forgotten Harvest and his partner Michael Szymanski, have developed several strategies to solidify the small food business infrastructure in Detroit while creating a template the rest of the country can follow.
Regional food hubs have become all the rage in the past year among local foods advocates. These startups promote local food system development by offering aggregation and distribution services to farmers, food producers and vendors around the country.
The glowing media coverage they often receive for this and their increasing numbers suggest food hubs are an idea whose time has come. But can they survive in the long term?
A Growing Movement
Looking at the numbers, it’s clear the movement’s definitely developed momentum over the past few years.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, their ranks grew 65 percent between 2009 and 2013, jumping from around 140 different establishments to over 230. The agency now identifies approximately 300 operating throughout the United States.
Virtually every major city has a food pantry to help the needy, but some food aid organizations are raising the sustainability bar by putting excess food and food waste to good use.
Many offer culinary training programs and others use algorithms to match excess food with those who need it, but the common denominator of the following organizations is that they turn food waste into food aid for those who desperately need it.
EXCERPT: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture today announced goals that its member companies — including General Mills, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cargill — have committed to in an effort to advance sustainable agriculture in the US.
Source: Environmental Leader
Southern Californian Sasha Kanno, 38, cares so much about where food for her friends and family comes from that she started a nonprofit biodynamic farm and training/education center in Long Beach, a Los Angeles suburb.
Prior to starting Long Beach Local, she directed Wrigley Garden, a community garden in Long Beach, and co-founded the Wrigley Co-op Food Exchange. Recently she received a Women’s Business Council small business grant for her work with Long Beach Local. She is a graduate of the American Community Gardening Association’s Growing Communities Workshop and is a supporter of Slow Food Los Angeles.
Kanno, along with a team of volunteers, grows specialty crops and flowers without chemicals or pesticides at Long Beach Local’s 1-acre farm, Farm Lot 59. The farm also has egg-laying hens and beehives. Not only does Kanno wants to provide her community with great-tasting, locally-produced food, she desires to teach farming to other urbanites and procure more agricultural space in the city.