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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

December 12, 2014 |

seedstockGroundbreaking Study Shows How Sustainable Farming Practices Can Improve Yields

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

Working the Land and the Data

Excerpt: Kip Tom, a seventh-generation family farmer, harvests the staples of modern agriculture: seed corn, feed corn, soybeans and data.

“I’m hooked on a drug of information and productivity,” he said, sitting in an office filled with computer screens and a whiteboard covered with schematics and plans for his farm’s computer network.

Mr. Tom, 59, is as much a chief technology officer as he is a farmer. Where his great-great-grandfather hitched a mule, “we’ve got sensors on the combine, GPS data from satellites, cellular modems on self-driving tractors, apps for irrigation on iPhones,” he said.

Source: New York Times

California Would Need Five More Super Storms to Quell Drought

Excerpt: Three years of below-normal rain and snowfall have left reservoirs at less than a third of capacity. Water for the nation’s most productive agricultural region was rationed. At least five similar storms would have to follow to replenish the deficits, said Alan Haynes, service coordination hydrologist at the California Nevada River Forecast Center in Sacramento.

Source: Bloomberg

Go Fish: A Next-Gen Rooftop Farm Is Set to Sprout in New York

Excerpt:  says something good about the direction we’re heading when reports of a new rooftop farm cropping up somewhere like New York doesn’t feel exactly like news. But the new farm envisioned by VertiCulture Farms cofounders Ryan Morningstar, Miles Crettien, and Peter Spartos several stories up in Brooklyn manages to take the burgeoning trend to a whole new (and, yes, newsworthy) level.

Source: takepart

Urban Ag Goes Big: An Area The Size Of The E.U. Is Used For City Farming

Excerpt: According to a new study that uses NASA’s satellite imagery, about 1.1 billion acres of land in and around cities is being used for food cultivation. That’s like having an urban farming community the size of the European Union. Zooming into the urban core, there are 166 million acres of land used to grow crops.

Source: Fast Company

Hope Center to build aquaponics farm to grow produce, raise fish to feed hungry

A food pantry in Macomb County plans to build a commercial-scale aquaponics farm to help feed the hungry. Hope Center in Macomb, a client choice or grocery store-style pantry that opened four years ago, plans to raise produce and fish year-round inside its Fraser warehouse at 33222 Groesbeck Highway.

Source: Crain’s Detroit Business

These modular, hydroponic micro-farms highlight the future of high-tech urban ag

Excerpt: For those who don’t own their own space, or whose growing space is made up of a bunch of smaller spaces, or if all that there’s room for is a rooftop garden (but not enough room for an entire rooftop farm or a green roof), then one possible solution might be to use something like this modular growing solution, from Cityblooms.

Source: Treehugger

New urban ag trend: ‘crop swaps’

Excerpt: At the weekly event at Pollinate Farm & Garden, an urban farm supply store here, Haven Bourque, 49, a communications consultant, had brought homegrown basil, Japanese eggplant and late-season tomatoes from her garden, which she exchanged for broccoli, bok choy and yellow cherry tomatoes. The crop swap is a sort of farmers market that operates on the barter system.

Source: The Bulletin

The Battle for Urban Ag

The Sacramento region is known for an ideal Mediterranean growing climate and renowned class-one soil. With so much need paralleled by such bounty, the most reasonable answer is to connect the two: empower local residents with access to grow their own food—and earn a living from it.Currently, city zoning laws prohibit the growing and selling of food from your school, church or home. Yet, to community organizers, the potential to change this zoning means improved lives and health of local residents.

Source: Comstock’s Business Insider for the Capital Region

Muskegon considers urban agriculture rules update

Excerpt: Officials in Muskegon are considering updating regulations on urban agriculture, including whether a ban on sales of produce should be relaxed.

Source: The Washington Times

Can Local Food Thrive in Industrial Ag’s Heartland Stronghold?

Excerpt: A new study paints a slightly different picture of the state (of Iowa), however, one in which a system supporting crop diversity and local sales is in better shape than it has been in decades. If things are changing in the belly of the big-ag beast (Iowa is the leading corn-producing state and the runner-up for soybeans), it’s at the very least a symbolic victory for diverse, sustainable farms, if not symptomatic of broader changes across America’s farmland.

Source: takepart

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