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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Seedstock Digest: Nanotechnology on the Farm, Sustainable Aquaculture in the Midwest, Wireless Climate Monitoring Systems and more!

June 23, 2011 |

It’s Wednesday and that means another addition of the Seedstock Digest to get you through what remains of your hump day or evening. Today’s digest features articles on wireless climate monitoring systems, nanotechnology that reduces the environmental impact of pesticides, a sustainable Yellow Perch farm in Indiana and a unique permaculture operation in Sandy Lake, PA.

Yellow Perch at Sea in the Cornfields of Indiana

Bell Aquaculture, an early-stage aquaculture company that sits on family farmland in Albany, Indiana is helping to lead the sustainable aquaculture revolution in the US.  The company formed in 2005 to sustainably meet consumer demand for yellow perch in the Midwest. “In the mid ‘80s Purdue [University] had done a study and the consumption of yellow perch within the Great Lakes region was just over 38 million pounds and that has fallen to less than 10 million pounds today,” said Norman McCowan, President of Bell Aquaculture.

Bringing Nanotechnology to the Farm

If I said the word ‘agriculture’ to you, would you think of cows grazing, endless fields of corn, grain silos, and red barns?  Or, would you think about modern farm technology in agriculture like GPS, remote sensors, aeroponic systems, on-farm renewable energy systems, et al?

Whatever you envisioned, chances are the word nanotechnology did not immediately come to mind.   So, how does nanotechnology play a role in supporting sustainable agriculture?

Smartphone App Increases Yields and Sustains Agriculture

ClimateMinder develops wireless climate monitoring systems for agricultureWant to monitor the climate in your greenhouse or field to increase yields and your ability to farm more sustainably? There’s an app for that.

In fact, there’s an entire system – including a smartphone application – developed by ClimateMinder, a Glendale, California based startup company, that enables growers to wirelessly monitor environmental conditions in both greenhouses and open fields.

A Shelter for Permaculture

What began for Darrell Frey as a desire to homestead and learn basic self-reliance skills evolved into a passion for applying environmental science to design ecologically based farms and gardens. Drawing inspiration from the writings of Bill Mollison, the so called ‘father of permaculture,’ and the innovative farming techniques and bioshelter building strategies developed by the New Alchemy Institute in Massachusetts, Frey launched his farming operation, Three Sisters Farm in 1988 on five acres of land in Sandy Lake, PA to promote permaculture. At the center of his operation sits a unique bioshelter that employs permaculture design and utilizes sustainable agriculture methods, technologies and practices.

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