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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Abbie Stutzer

Survey Shows New Hampshire Residents Want More Local Produce

November 10, 2015 |
Photo by Jay & Melissa Malouin (via Flickr)

Photo by Jay & Melissa Malouin (via Flickr)

A survey out of the University on New Hampshire has uncovered a few surprising bits of information about the value consumers place on local produce.

The survey questioned 200 people and was conducted by John Halstead, professor of environmental and resource economics, and university students.

“There’s a lot of momentum toward producing more of our food locally and a lot of statements being made about how we should buy X percent of our food locally, and how if we just did this we’d produce all these jobs,” Halstead says. “I felt like there hasn’t been a lot of real economic research done that talks about why, for example, don’t we do this now if it’s such a great idea? Why is nobody doing it, and if it is such a great idea, what’s keeping it from taking hold?” Read More

‘Free Leases’, Cooperative Neighbors Critical to Twin Cities Urban Farm

November 2, 2015 |
Stone’s Throw Farm CSA Pickup.  Image courtesy of Stone’s Throw.

Stone’s Throw Farm CSA Pickup. Image courtesy of Stone’s Throw.

Since its inception in 2011, Twin Cities-based Stone’s Throw Urban Farm has converted 14 vacant lots in St. Paul and Minneapolis into mini-farms.

The project began as a collaboration between several  urban farmers in the Twin Cities area during the winter of 2011. The farmers began discussing how urban farming could become a viable business, relying on vegetable sales to support itself, while also providing education, improving the ecological health of the land and developing innovative sustainable agriculture methods. Read More

Los Angeles County Approves ‘Tomato Tax Incentive’

October 25, 2015 |
Source: Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Source: Los Angeles Food Policy Council

Los Angeles County’s blighted areas and abandoned lots could be seeing more green in the near future.

On September 22, 2015 , the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved an Urban Agricultural Incentive Zone Program  (also known as a Tomato Garden Tax Break). If implemented, the policy has the potential to transform vacant and privately owned land in the county into urban farms, and help reduce blight and illegal dumping throughout Los Angeles city and county. 

In addition to adding more green space, the “tax break” also would create local jobs in urban farming and support food security and access. The details of the program still need to be worked out to make it reality. Read More

Q&A: Iowa Land Trust Looks to Support New Farmers

July 29, 2015 |
Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT)

Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT)

The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT), which launched this past January, is off to a strong start with the contribution of 53 acres of prime farmland near Omaha. The organization’s mission is to support sustainable farming through land conservation.

To find out more about the organization and its plans, Seedstock spoke with Suzan Erem,  SILT’s president.

Seedstock: When and how was SILT founded? Read More

Buffalo’s Vertical Fresh Farms Aims for Big Production in a Small Footprint

July 8, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Vertical Fresh Farms

Photo courtesy of Vertical Fresh Farms

Vertical Fresh Farms is a small aquaponic operation in Buffalo, New York. How small? The vertical farm is small enough to fit into owner Jeremy Witt’s garage.

That’s all by design. Witt and Matt Latham, the farm’s other co-owner, planned Vertical Fresh Farms’ small but sustainable layout.

From 2011 until spring of 2014, Latham and Witt intensely researched aquaponics to figure out how they could afford to build their own farm.

“Last year, we finally decided that we would start small and started out with a prototype,” Witt says. The prototype takes up an area that’s about 250 square feet. Read More

Countryside Initiative Invites Homesteaders to Work the Land at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

June 29, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of the Countryside Conservancy

Photo courtesy of the Countryside Conservancy

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in Peninsula, Ohio, has nine homesteaders who reside on the Park’s land.

The CVNP has housed a non-profit farm conservancy since 1999, and recently, the conservancy opened up its program to new farmers once again.

The Initiative is inviting aspiring homesteaders and farmers from across the United States to apply to reside on the land’s two new vacant plots.

“The Countryside Initiative was first conceptualized by former CVNP superintendent, Jon Debo,” Tracy Emrick, partnership manager of the Countryside Conservancy, says.

Read More

Women in Food & Ag: Rancher Christina Traeger’s Deep Respect for the Land

June 21, 2015 |

Christina Traeger is accustomed to hard work. After all, she runs a cattle ranch.

Traeger has to be tough to survive

Christina Traeger. Photo courtesy of Christina Traeger

Christina Traeger. Photo courtesy of Christina Traeger

on her own and make certain her farm animals are happy and healthy. While she has faced a lot of hardships over the years, she’s quite content with her decision to become — and stay — a female rancher in Minnesota.

Traeger grew up on a dairy farm about a half-mile down the road from Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch in Avon, Minnesota. Rolling Hills was first owned and operated by her great uncle, but after he was injured in an accident, she bought the ranch and started looking for a breed of cattle to tend. Read More

Women in Farming: Kari Spencer on Building an Urban Farm in the Desert

June 7, 2015 |
Kari Spencer at the Micro Farm. Courtesy of Kari Spencer.

Kari Spencer at the Micro Farm. Courtesy of Kari Spencer.

Kari Spencer has been smitten with farming since she spied her grandfather’s Midwestern garden when she was a little girl. But when Spencer grew up — and found herself in the middle of a desert — she knew she was going to have to invest in some training to successfully tend plants (and eventually animals) in the dry, Phoenix, Arizona climate.

But that’s just what she did, and since learning those valuable desert gardening skills, she’s successfully built an urban farm oasis: The Micro Farm Project.

Seedstock recently interviewed Spencer to find out how she learned her desert gardening skills, her experiences as a female farmer and more. Read More