Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
Scroll to top

Top

Posts By Dan Allen

Tell Stanford We’re Moving Beyond Organic

September 7, 2012 |

The following is a guest post from Dan Allen, the CFO of Farmscape Gardens, a Los Angeles-based organic garden installation and maintenance company that since its founding has become the largest urban farming venture in Southern California.

Researchers at Stanford have launched another salvo in the battle between conventional and organic produce. After reviewing more than 200 studies, they concluded that organic produce is not significantly safer or more nutritious than conventional produce.

Chuck Benbrok at Washington State has already taken issue with their conclusions. Meanwhile, Brian Fung at The Atlantic correctly observed that their study misses the point by choosing to focus on organic food in the first place rather than its impact on the environment. Organic cultivation builds topsoil – a scarce and vital resource – rather than depleting it, and avoids the carbon emissions associated with synthetic fertilizer production. Read More

Wanted: Farmers

April 13, 2012 |

The following is a guest post from Dan Allen, the CFO of Farmscape Gardens, a Los Angeles-based organic garden installation and maintenance company that since its founding has become the largest urban farming venture in Southern California.

Urban farming has a dirty secret: the vast majority of garden plots in backyards, schoolyards, community gardens, rooftops and vacant lots are in a state of disrepair. Weeds outnumber thriving vegetables, soil nutrient levels are depleted, and irrigation is irregular at best.

This reality clashes squarely with the presentation of urban farming by journalists, academics and activists. The noble objectives of these urban farming projects means that those covering urban farming tend to overlook the harsh reality that most are neglected, ravaged by pests and withered from irregular irrigation. Read More

Land Values Lynchpin to Large-scale Adoption of Urban Ag

February 28, 2012 |

The following is a guest post from Dan Allen, the CFO of Farmscape Gardens, a Los Angeles-based organic garden installation and maintenance company that since its founding has become the largest urban farming venture in Southern California.

In a guest post for Seedstock on Friday, Roxanne Christenson argues that urban agriculture must professionalize if it is to keep growing, creating jobs, and providing quality food for urban residents. Her observation is a good one, as even a casual survey of urban farming ventures reveals that non-profits outnumber for-profits by a wide margin. And I agree with her conclusion regarding the potential benefits of urban agriculture training programs:

“The time is ripe for the professionalization of urban agriculture. It will then not only deliver the social and environmental benefits touted by the advocates, but it will also be an industry that generates significant economic benefits as well.”

However, I take issue with Roxanne’s prescription for how we get there. She argues that the missing link is business training, along with financial and management strategies to pair with agricultural expertise. Read More