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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Charli Engelhorn

Farming Supermarket Rooftops and a Storied Ball Park, a City Farming Operation Increases Access to Local Food

April 17, 2018 |

Since its inception in 2008, Green City Growers (GCG), a Certified B Corporation that installs and maintains vegetable gardens and farms within the greater Boston area, has assisted in the production of more than 175,000 pounds of organic produce, donated more than 12,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and engaged more than 7,500 people through their efforts. 

“The mission is to grow food in unused spaces and provide people access to fresh produce,” says Jessie Banhazl, CEO and co-founder of GCG. “Having that mission as the core of our trajectory has led us into so many different spaces, which has been really fun and interesting and made us realize that there are so many possibilities for this kind of work.” Read More

Armed with Data, City of Louisville Builds Thriving Local Food Economy

April 9, 2018 |

At the root of Louisville, Kentucky’s ongoing and successful local food system implementation, which has generated considerable community and economic capital, is data.

A principal objective of Mayor Greg Fischer’s Six-Year Strategic Plan outlined in 2012-2013 to create new jobs and stimulate the economic development, is to develop ways to promote the city’s local food economy. Toward this end, three studies were conducted by the Local Food Economy Work Group, made up of elected officials from six counties and two cities, to gauge the needs of farmers and consumers pertaining to demand for local foods.

One of the studies showed that of Louisville’s $2 billion in food purchases a year, only $300,000 was going toward local food, and consumers and commercial buyers wanted to at least double that amount if opportunities were available. Another study highlighted the desire of local farmers to reach larger markets. Read More

To Transform the ‘Hood for Good’ Urban Farmer Chanowk Yisrael Plants Seeds not only in the Ground, but in Minds

April 3, 2018 |

Chanowk Yisrael, founder and farmer at the Yisrael Family Urban Farm teaching children how to plant and grow food. Photo Credit: The Yisrael Family Farm.

A common perception of farming encompasses the process of growing food and selling it to the masses. For many American farmers, this process represents their entire enterprise. Yet, for Chanowk Yisrael, being a farmer has greater significance for his family and community. With his wife and nine children, Yisrael operates the Yisrael Family Urban Farm on a half-acre plot in his backyard in South Oak Park, a historically working-class neighborhood in Sacramento, California.

Started in 2007 as a way to safeguard his family’s livelihood in the event of a recession, it took time before Yisrael got the hang of urban farming. However, once he did and came to understand the value of farming in a community, he transitioned full-time to life as a farmer. Read More

A Masterplan Community in Gilbert, AZ Embraces Its Farmland Roots

October 13, 2017 |

In 1960, Jim and Virginia Johnston bought an alfalfa hay farm in Gilbert, Arizona and built a home on it to raise their three sons. As Jim approached retirement in the 1990s, he and his family realized that the farmland on which their house sat would likely be sold to developers.

A visionary solution from one of their sons led to an agreement to preserve a portion of the agricultural land while at the same time creating a partnership with a developer to build new homes on the property. The result was the creation of Agritopia, a 160 acre masterplan community of 452 single-family homes that surround an 11-acre USDA certified organic farm. In 2015, the family formed the Johnston Family Foundation for Urban Agriculture, to oversee the 11 acre organic farm in perpetuity. Read More

From Supermarket Rooftops to a Storied Ball Park, an Urban Farming Co. Increases Access to Local Food

September 12, 2017 |

Since its inception in 2008, Green City Growers (GCG), a Certified B Corporation that installs and maintains vegetable gardens and farms within the greater Boston area, has assisted in the production of more than 175,000 pounds of organic produce, donated more than 12,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables, and engaged more than 7,500 people through their efforts. 

“The mission is to grow food in unused spaces and provide people access to fresh produce,” says Jessie Banhazl, CEO and co-founder of GCG. “Having that mission as the core of our trajectory has led us into so many different spaces, which has been really fun and interesting and made us realize that there are so many possibilities for this kind of work.” Read More