Posts By Abbie Stutzer
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.
From coast to coast, 20- and 30- something adults are ditching their power suits and ties for shovels and seeds. From novice upstarts to young farmers carrying on a family legacy, we’ve rounded up some inspiring, young farmers, farming duos, and teams who are leading the charge in sustainable farming.
Grow Well Missouri has taken a simple concept – distributing seeds to people who visit a local food pantry – and started a mini-fresh food revolution.
The program originated at the Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security at the University of Missouri. The program had its “soft opening” after a research group surveyed food pantry clients and discovered some interesting data.
Kettering University and Metro Community Development in Flint, Michigan, are working together to build an aquaponics farm that could eventually feed area neighborhoods.
Metro Community Development first approached Kettering University to help research and plan the potential aquaponics facility, says Dr. Matthew Sanders, professor and director of the Center for Culminating Undergraduate Experiences at Kettering University.
Bridget Holcomb, newly appointed executive director of the non-profit Women, Food & Agriculture, has always been interested in issues concerning sustainability. For her, it’s a no brainer that the current generation needs to live sustainably to improve the lives of future generations.
“For anyone interested in issues around sustainability, it is not long before we realize that food and agriculture is center to how we live sustainably,” she says.
Denise O’Brian, a southwest Iowan farmer, founded WFAN in 1997 to help raise women’s voices who work in agriculture. For the past 17 years, WFAN has helped female farmers in the Midwest and other regions and world network and learn.
Spring Creek Farm, founded by Louise Kellogg, houses Alaska Pacific University’s Kellogg Campus in Palmer, Alaska, with about 800 acres bequeathed as part of a family trust.
“The goal was to create a campus for the University, a very small one,” says Steve Rubinstein, the director of APU’s graduate program in Outdoor and Environmental Education. “And also to keep it as a working farm and to use it for other various educational aspects. We always had the goal of providing educational programs. It was not necessarily slated to become a vegetable farm, but that’s where we took it – it seemed to be a good direction.”
Cedar Point Church in Maryville, Tennessee started growing its hydroponic garden for two reasons: to develop a program offering a sustainable and healthy food source to its church family, and to build a sense of partnership between church members and the community.
While the garden is still in its early stages (it was started about three months ago), Kurt Steinbach, the church’s lead pastor is enthusiastic about the growing produce. Currently, Harvest Farms Co-op, the name of the church’s hydroponic gardening operation, grows several varieties of tomato, bell pepper, hot banana peppers, Anaheim peppers, green leaf lettuce varieties, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. In late June, the co-op was preparing for its first harvest.
States throughout America are embracing urban farming and gardening more and more every day, setting up shop in new cities and spreading the love of fresh greens to people across the state. One that has recently emerged into the urban community gardening scene is Nebraska.
Sarah Browning, extension educator of horticulture at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, says Nebraska has successful community gardens in many communities, both large and small.
“Here in Lincoln, there are several community garden areas managed by Community Crops,” Browning says. “These gardens are open to anyone in Lincoln to rent for a season. There are also several private community gardens, managed by church or neighborhood groups, that are open to use by their members.”