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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Bethany Knipp

In Missouri, A Hobby Garden Gone Wild Evolves into Certified Organic Urban Farm

December 21, 2016 |

Rodger Kube describes the start of his and his wife’s urban farm in Kansas City, Missouri, as a hobby gone wild.

Stony Crest Urban Farm is a certified organic operation that produces vegetables on about 2.5 acres, Kube says. The farm is a small one that sells hyperlocally, keeping the produce within 10-miles, he says.

Stony Crest came to fruition after Kube and his wife, Diane Hershberger, bought a property in 1997 in southeast Kansas City so they could have more space to garden. Read More

Utilizing Hydroponics, Three Families Unite to Provide Meaningful Work for Their Children with Special Needs

December 14, 2016 |
calcan-hydroponic-farm-kansas

(from left to right) Colby Myers, Andrès Guillen and Luke Gerhardt operate CALCan Enterprises LLC, a hydroponic greenhouse outside of Topeka, Kansas, that grows lettuce and arugula. Photo courtesy of CALCan Enterprises LLC.

On the outskirts of Topeka, Kansas in a greenhouse equipped with a hydroponic system, three families have come together to provide meaningful work for their children who have special needs.

Tim and Rhonda Gerhardt, Luis Guillen and Marisol Perez, and Kris and Chuck Myers own CALCan Enterprises LLC, a year-old produce business that grows lettuce and arugula utilizing hydroponics. The company’s produce can be found in the Kansas City area on the shelves of Whole Foods as well as HyVee grocery stores and in several area school districts

The business name is derived from the first letters in each of their adult children’s names — Colby Myers, Andrès Guillen and Luke Gerhardt, who put in 10 to 15 hours a week at the greenhouse and receive payment for their labor. Read More

Sustainable Agriculture Institute Arms Returning Veterans with Tools to Become Farmers of the Future

December 1, 2016 |
colin-and-karen-archipley-of-archis-acres-and-aisa

Colin and Karen Archipley, the co-founders of Archi’s Acres and Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA). Photo Courtesy of Archi’s Acres.

Returning military often find themselves struggling to return to normality after serving overseas. Colin Archipley, co-owner of Archi’s Acres in Escondido, CA knows exactly how they feel. He served three tours of duty during the Iraq War that began in 2003. Between his second and third deployment, Colin, along with his wife Karen, bought an inefficiently run avocado farm. Besides starting their own very successful living basil hydroponics farm on the site, the empathetic couple created a sustainable agriculture training center called Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA) to help ease the transition of service members from military to civilian life. The courses offered at the institute are open to civilians as well as veterans giving everyone a way to serve their local community while building a sustainable business that will support their family.

The AISA learning center is based in Valley Center, California, near San Diego, and offers its students instruction in everything from sustainable agribusiness and farming production methods to business development and planning during a six-week course on founders’ Colin and Karen Archipley’s farmland. Read More

As Primary Goal, Two Decades Old Community Farm in Tennessee Teaches People to Grow Food Sustainably

November 15, 2016 |
Beardsley Community Farm donates all of the food it produces to local pantries, kitchens and hunger relief organizations. It cultivates 10,000 pounds of produce a year. Photo courtesy of Bruce Cole Photography.

Beardsley Community Farm donates all of the food it produces to local pantries, kitchens and hunger relief organizations. It cultivates 10,000 pounds of produce a year. Photo courtesy of Bruce Cole Photography.

Initially established in a Knoxville, Tennessee, food desert, CAC Beardsley Community Farm has been donating its fruits and vegetables to area hunger relief organizations for almost two decades.

“Beardsley started in ‘98 actually as a way to address the situation in this area because at that point it was a food desert,” Beardsley Farm Manager Charlotte Rodina says.

The farm, which exists in a public park that was originally the site of an agricultural college, and later a middle school, is owned by a local governmental social service organization called Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee.

Rodina says the farm is still working on hunger relief efforts despite the fact the area is no longer considered a food desert. Read More

Farming Formerly Vacant Lots, Urban Ag Program Grows New Farmers and Fresh Produce for Food Deserts

November 7, 2016 |
The West Sacramento Urban Farming Program aims

The West Sacramento Urban Farm Program leases city, school district, private and commercially-owned land for five years in the area’s food desert. Photo courtesy of West Sacramento Urban Farming Program.

An urban farming project in West Sacramento, California, aims to fill the area’s food deserts with fresh produce and create new farmers in the process.

Founded in 2014, the West Sacramento Urban Farm Program is an initiative of the agricultural education nonprofit Center for Land-Based Learning, headquartered in Winters, California. The program converts vacant lots in urban West Sacramento neighborhoods to increase food access, and support production of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We’re growing about 25,000 to 30,000 pounds of produce a month, so it’s definitely a significant amount of produce that all stays within West Sacramento for the most part,” program founder Sara Bernal says. Read More