Sustainable Ag News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup
November 14, 2014 | Nina Ignaczak
Excerpt: The tour was organized by Seedstock, a Los Angeles-based company that offers consulting services and disseminates information about sustainable food projects. It hosts an annual conference on sustainable agriculture, which begins Wednesday at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. This year’s theme is “Reintegrating Agriculture: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”
Source: LA Times
SEATTLE — A food fight is brewing in King County.
Health officials want to hike the fees they charge farmers and food vendors to appear at local farmers markets – in some cases, as much as 200 percent.
The sharp increase – which would come with permits issued in 2015 – is to offset the cost of food inspections, health officials said Thursday. Opponents argue the increases are so steep, it could lead to a hike in consumer prices or even keep farmers from participating in the markets all together.
Alaska brings in 95 percent of the $2 billion of food residents consume annually from the Lower 48 and elsewhere. Back in 1955, Alaska sourced 55 percent of its food from out of state. Local leaders, concerned with both economic independence and security in the face of disaster, want to see the state return to its self-reliance of old and stop depending so heavily on foods shipped in from elsewhere.
The new farm bill is a massive document that covers a wide range of programs and making sense of it all is no easy task. A new resource from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition offers farmers and non-profit groups a digital guide to key federal farm and food programs aiming to support sustainable farm and food systems.
Source: Farm Futures
City dwellers are growing their own food on a much greater scale than previously thought, farming an area the size of the European Union, according to the first comprehensive study on the global scale of urban agriculture.
Most of the land – which totals some 456 million hectares – lies just outside of cities, although 67 million hectares of it is being farmed in urban centres, the study published in the November issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters found.
Urban farms are a great idea, in theory. People in cities need food, and shipping food over short distances (or not at all) saves fossil fuels. One problem? Urban farming, at least on the commercial level, isn’t always legal.
Urb.ag, a web app from Fathom Information Design, reveals where you could actually start an urban farmin Boston, where new legislation has made commercial urban farming possible. Based on the type of farming you want to do, the zoning of the site, and more, the app walks you through the process of submitting applications, obtaining permits, and even attending public hearings if necessary, with all the information tailored to the exact code that applies to the would-be farm’s address.
Source: Fast Co Design
In a 950-square-foot second-floor walk-up in Manhattan, Jonathan Kadish grows rainbow chard, bok choy, and lettuce in a four-foot-square nook near his desk. It’s a two-story system: A soilless bed sits atop a fish tank in which two $3 pet-store goldfish swim. Kadish’s tiny garden is intended as a supplemental food source only, but it’s a small, urban-scale model of sustainable agriculture that has a growing number of people excited. “I get people from all over the world who ask to come visit and check it out,” he says.
Cape Town is being overrun by farms. They’re spilling out of parking lots, overtaking lawns, even growing out of old TV sets.
“You don’t need something fancy to grow in. We have some people grow in toilets and make worm farms in old baths,” says Louise Vaughan, the field area manager at Soil For Life, a non-profit that teaches gardening and nutrition to Capetonians.