Posts By Anne Craig
San Francisco-based Farm From a Box supplies all the components needed to create a two-acre off-grid farm, packed in a shipping container that will then serve as a farm building. It recently announced a new partnership with Netafim, an Israel-based irrigation firm with offices in 120 countries, to supply the irrigation components.
Farm From a Box is the brainchild of partners Scott Thompson and Brandi DiCarli. Their kits include renewable power systems, internet connectivity, basic farm tools, micro-drip irrigation systems and water pumps that can be adapted to fit either a ground well or municipal water supply.
Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management has announced two new funding streams intended to support local farmers and food producers.
The program is making nearly $400,000 in grant monies available to local small businesses under the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA) and Farm Viability programs. The goal is to increase the competitiveness of Rhode Island agricultural products in the marketplace while helping local farmers and food partners grow their businesses.
“Traditionally, 50 to 70 percent of Rhode Island’s agriculture income has come from sod, nurseries, and floriculture,” says Ken Ayers, chief of the agriculture division of Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management.
In 2011, Nancy Mintie, founder of Claremont, CA-based Uncommon Good saw in urban agriculture an opportunity to help fulfill her organization’s mission to break intergenerational poverty cycles and give people the tools to lift themselves up. Mintie says her embrace of urban agriculture in Uncommon Good’s ongoing efforts to promote health, wellness, education and sustainability was a matter of leveraging a resource that had been right under her nose.
The seed was planted during the recession.
“We’d been doing education and social services work, and we saw the level of hardship just skyrocket,” she says. “We were seeing a reverse migration since people were now starving here as badly as they had been back home in Mexico.”
Hope was in short supply.
So Mintie started with the idea that a community garden could, at least, get people fed; but her clients had their doubts.
Despite being ranked second in the country for the number of farms in 2007 and having 66 percent of its land in agriculture, Missouri has a serious food insecurity problem.
A recently completed study by the Missouri Foundation for Health indicates that the state ranks sixth worst in the U.S. for food insecurity, affecting one in five households with children.
“We are an agricultural state, but a lot of what is grown is exported,” says MFH vice president of policy Ryan Barker. “Even in rural areas, access is difficult. And of course, income and ability to obtain healthy food play a major role.”
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization defines food security as a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
When the recession eliminated Brian Griffith’s teaching job of 22 years, he wasn’t sure at first just what he’d do next.
“It was a difficult time,” he says. “That same year, my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”
His parents lived on a two-acre property in Riverside, California.
“There was a citrus grove there and they didn’t care for it much or pay much attention to it,” he says. “Navel oranges had been really overplanted in Riverside at one time, and there was almost no money in growing a small quantity of them if you were selling them through the packing houses.”