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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Abbie Stutzer

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

Inside the Strolling of the Heifers 2015 Locavore Index: Wisconsin

May 10, 2015 |
 Eldeberry Hill Farm Credit: REAP Food Group for both

Elderberry Hill Farm
Credit: REAP Food Group for both

This piece is part of a series exploring the top 10 states in the Strolling of the Heifers 2015 Locavore Index.

Wisconsin was a forward-thinking sustainable agriculture state before the local food movement was “on trend.” Seedstock had the opportunity to interview three people who are at the head of the state’s local food movement. Each person told us a unique story about how deeply Wisconsin’s sustainable roots have grown.

Wisconsin: At the Forefront of Sustainable Agriculture Education

Valerie Dantoin, a faculty member of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Associate Degree Program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, in Green Bay, Wis., has a master’s degree in agronomy. While she was working on her Ph.D., she met Rick Adamski, a farmer. Upon meeting Adamski, Dantoin “switched gears” and ended up moving to Podanski’s 100-year-old family dairy farm and embraced the farming lifestyle. Read More

Building a Megafarm in Anaheim, CA: A Q&A With Aaron Flora

January 26, 2015 |
Image courtesy of Renewable Farms

Image courtesy of Renewable Farms

Aaron Flora has worked on creating farms with Renewable Farms for years, but he just recently embarked on his biggest project to date, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign: a mega-aquaponics farm for the city of Anaheim, California that will double as a community training center.

Seedstock recently interviewed Flora and asked him about how Renewable Farms made the Anaheim project happen, how the mega farm will remain sustainable and what he hopes this farm will achieve in the future. Read More

Can Aquaponics Thrive in the Midwest? Indiana Startup Bets On It

January 25, 2015 |
Justin Long, CEO. Photo courtesy Justin Long.

Justin Long, CEO. Photo courtesy Justin Long.

How can a cold, Midwestern state grow organic produce all year, while also providing fresh fish to the local community? Those are the questions Justin Long, co-founder and CEO, and Jason Fry, co-founder, asked themselves before founding Blue Lotus Aquaponics in November 2013.

Before creating their company, Long and Fry did their research by traveling to a few Midwestern states and visiting places where people were experimenting with aquaculture techniques.

Long wanted to dabble in aquaponics because of its sustainable, high-yield nature. And Fry’s family background in commercial farming in northern Indiana helped him to flesh out the company’s overall concept. Read More