Seedstock’s Top Ten Stories of 2014
December 24, 2014 | Nina Ignaczak
It’s been a great year here at Seedstock, with two fantastic California-based conferences, an increased focus on urban policy and continued coverage of indoor agriculture technology and sustainable farming practices.
We’ve delighted in telling the stories of the people who are making a difference in the new food economy.
Here are the ten of those stories which resonated most strongly with you, our readers.
Thanks for reading, and see you in 2015!
Small growers and urban farms are springing up across the nation, but many cities lack the infrastructure, zoning laws and foresight to truly leverage this transition.
Over the past several years, however, city governments, often working with local stakeholder groups and food policy councils, are changing that. Urban agriculture ordinances help light the way for would-be urban farmers, providing guidance and a sense of legitimacy.
Here is Seedstock’s list of ten cities leading the way with innovative urban agriculture ordinances that provide a blueprint for a new economic future grounded in sustainable food production in urban centers.
As perhaps much does in Minnesota in the wintertime, the aquaponics start-up Urban Organics began with ice.
Pond ice, that is.
That’s because Fred Haberman, a public relations expert, dedicated social entrepreneur, and founder of The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships got to talking with his “ice man,” David Haider.
It came to light that the two had a common dream: to bring farms to the Twin Cities’ food deserts.
What we as a nation define as “agriculture” is morphing and expanding to reflect the changing landscape of American industry. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics referred to organic food production as a “growth industry,” denoting a turning point between the farming of the past and the forward-looking, sustainable farming and food economy of the future.
Here are 10 new agriculture and food-sector jobs that didn’t exist 25 years ago.
Jack Waite, founder of Agua Dulce Farm in Austin, Texas, is truly is a jack-of-all-trades.
By combining his varied background in accounting, engineering, botany and nonprofit management, he has realized his dream of running an aquaponics farm. In recent weeks, this interesting startup reached full operational capacity. Along the way, the farm’s journey has been tested with challenges and sprinkled with luck.
Across the country, sustainable agriculture is growing on college campuses. Carefully nourished soil on old athletic fields and other underutilized areas is becoming darker and richer, and nascent orchards are surviving the trial-and-error pruning of novices to mature and bear fruit. These student-led farms are providing local food, community, and practical agricultural experience to their young caretakers.
On the verge of opening their new Quebec store, Canadian startup Urban Barns looks set to be a leader in the sustainable grocery store industry, both in Canada and the United States.
After careful planning and four years of intense research and development, Urban Barns launched in 2012 with a goal of growing produce as close to customers as possible. Initially, Urban Barns wants to sell sustainable leafy greens to the wholesale market. They believe their patented growing cubes are the perfect way to do that.
Mushrooms have become one of the county’s fastest growing agricultural industries, according to the company’s Sustainability Coordinator Kevin Foley. By utilizing the latest technology from Holland and holding fast to the company vision of minimizing its environmental footprint, Premier Mushrooms, located in Colusa County, California, has grown from 16 growing beds to 64 with a production output growth from 70 to 300 thousand pounds a week. This has all happened in just over seven years.
New research and technological developments are allowing farmers to discover some very precise ways to grow food in the most efficient way possible.
We’ve rounded up 5 precision ideas that have emerged in a big way in the past several years, and are poised to change food production as we know it.
Although Cleveland, Ohio is known as a rust belt city, it’s also located in the prime agricultural lands of eastern Ohio.
Now, through policy initiatives and partnerships, Cleveland is tapping into its geographical bounty.
During the Great Recession, foreclosures impacted already struggling neighborhoods in the city, and food deserts increased after grocery stores left these areas.
But on the flip side, more land became available for green space.
From Four Acres Under Glass to 400, Two Brothers Turn Risky Hydroponic Venture into Sustainable Success
Shortly after immigrating to Ontario, Canada from Italy in 1961, brothers Tony and Gino Mucci planted their first vegetable crop on rented land. In 1969, they built a wood frame greenhouse, and in 1975, they put four acres of crops under glass—a risky venture during a time of high-mortgage rates, as well as high fuel and labor costs.
The investment paid off. Today, Mucci Farms continues to make investments in its profitable business, especially in the area of sustainability.