Posts By Abbie Stutzer
While Shakara Tyler didn’t grow up on a farm, the doctoral student learned to love the land and developed an interest in food justice in her home city of Philadelphia.
Tyler completed her master’s in the Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) at Michigan State University in August 2013. Her master’s thesis concerned Michigan black farm owners’ perceptions of USDA loan programs. Now, she’s working and pursuing a Ph.D. at MSU and doing research on farmers in underserved communities.
Seedstock recently spoke to Tyler to learn more about her farming background, pursuit of food justice,
Massachusetts Teenager Hooked on Local Ag After Completing ‘30 Day Challenge’ to Survive on Local Farm’s ProduceDecember 3, 2015 | Abbie Stutzer
Sixteen-year-old Noah Kopf recently embarked on a challenge to eat only foods he produced or grew on his own for 30 days. The name of the challenge was appropriately called “Homegrown 30: A Month of Backyard Eating.” Kopf was successful – and while he says he found the challenge trying at times, he learned a lot during his journey.
Kopf first became interested in local agriculture about five years ago. “My family got a CSA at a local community farm and part of the requirement for the CSA is a certain amount of working volunteer hours,” he says. “My mom would bring me over after middle school and I helped weed the beds and pick stuff. I really enjoyed the work. I thought it was really cool that people were growing so much food right around us.”
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?”
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.
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.