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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Feeding Flint: Budding Aquaponics Program Plans to Engage Youth and Neighborhoods

August 27, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Kettering University.

Photo courtesy of Kettering University.

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.  Read More

Bees as Bellwether: Studying Colony Loss In the United States

August 26, 2014 |
BIP Emergency Response Kit Image Courtesy of the Bee Informed Project

BIP Emergency Response Kit
Image Courtesy of the Bee Informed Project

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.  Read More

Waste Not, Want Not: Author Explores America’s Food Waste Problem

August 25, 2014 |
American Wasteland, a book by food writer Jonathan Bloom, addresses how to tackle the problem of wasted food. (photo courtesy of Jonathan Bloom)

American Wasteland, a book by food writer Jonathan Bloom, addresses how to tackle the problem of wasted food. (photo courtesy of Jonathan Bloom)

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. Read More

North Carolina Startup Seeks To Crossbreed An Urban Farm With A Grocery Store

August 22, 2014 |
Rendering courtesy of the Farmery.

Rendering courtesy of the Farmery.

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. Read More

This Week in Sustainable Ag: Seedstock’s Weekly News Roundup

August 22, 2014 |

seedstockDo You Know Which Politicians Benefit From Your Grocery Dollars?

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

Sustainable agriculture is a gold mine for rural entrepreneurs

A new National Wildlife Federation highlights business opportunities for rural entrepreneurs growing cover crops.

Source: The Prairie Star Ag Weekly Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference’s Urban Farm Field Trip to Tour Diverse Local Food Operations in Los Angeles

August 21, 2014 |

reintegrate agriculture urban logoAttendees 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. Read More

Rochester, Minnesota Aquaponic Startup Takes Farm-to-Fork to a Whole New Level

August 21, 2014 |
Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

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. Read More

George Washington’s Produce: Five Historic Farmers’ Markets To Visit This Summer

August 19, 2014 |
POSTEaston-Farmers-Market-press-photo

Photo courtesy of Easton Farmers’ Market

One of the pleasures of late summer is a trip to a farmers’ market, when the fresh produce is in abundance.  No pale-faced supermarket tomatoes here: vendor stalls overflow with the fruits of their labor, and there’s not a shrink-wrapped zucchini in sight. While a plethora of new farmers’ markets have been established in many communities in response to the growing demand for local food, but they are hardly a new concept.

Here are five markets still thriving, even hundreds of years after their founding. Read More

Tour de Fresh Initiative Seeks to Raise Funds for 40 New Salad Bars to School Districts Across US

August 18, 2014 |

CG-Tour-de-Fresh-Logo-CMYK-Transparent-4Press Release – IRVING, TX (August 18, 2014) – Tour de Fresh, the first collaborative event to bring together leading fresh produce brands, industry influencers and their bicycles, is ‘gearing up’ their fundraising efforts in support of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools (LMSBTS) campaign.

“Our goal is to raise $120,000 which would allow us to purchase 40 new salad bars in school districts across the U.S.,” said Brock Nemecek, event organizer and rider. “We believe that healthy eating opportunities should be available to all of our school kids and will directly confront the childhood obesity epidemic. And what better way to support school kids and salad bars than by pedaling our way down the California coast?”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there 38+ million children in U.S. schools, of which 17 percent (or 12.5 million) are obese. Childhood obesity among our youth has nearly tripled since 1980. Read More

Finding Your Roots in Water: Aquaponics Association Conference Set for September in San Jose

August 18, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bernstein

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bernstein

Aquaponic-philes everywhere can look forward to three days of tours, trips and technical know-how at the September conference of the Aquaponics Association. This year’s conference will be held in San Jose, CA and runs from September 12 -13. The conference plays a significant role in normalizing and promoting what could be the future of American farming. 

Meg Stout,  engineer and the current chairman of the Aquaponics Association, feels she is a neutral leader in a time when aquaponics is becoming ever more prevalent and ever more competitive.  Read More