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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By David Sands

New L.A. Nonprofit Empowers the Disadvantaged to Reduce Waste and Build a Local Food System

June 16, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Robert Egger.

Photo courtesy of Robert Egger.

When it comes to food, Robert Egger is all in favor of making the most of what you’ve got.

Twenty-five years ago, Egger founded D.C. Central Kitchen,  a “community kitchen” that uses salvaged food to make meals for agencies servicing low-income and homeless individuals and provides culinary training to unemployed men and women.

Egger stepped down as its president last year to start a new project called L.A. Kitchen, based in his hometown of Los Angeles. Similar in concept to the D.C. nonprofit, the new kitchen places a greater emphasis on participating in the local food economy. Egger sees the effort as “taking charity up a notch” and establishing “a self-sustaining model” that supports local farmers, helps local residents and provides opportunities for men and women who may face barriers to employment. Read More

Vermont Food Hub Catalyzes Local Foods Movement, Sets 10 Percent Local Food Goal

June 10, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Mad River Food Hub

Photo courtesy of Mad River Food Hub

Fertile soil, water and compost aren’t the only ingredients that make a local foods scene blossom. Sometimes what’s needed is a helping hand.

In Waitsfield, Vermont this takes the form of a food warehouse, processing and distribution center known as the Mad River Food Hub.

The 4,000-square-foot facility caters to farmers and food processing businesses in central Vermont’s Mad River Valley. The area is home to several small communities and dozens of farms and serves as a popular tourist destination for skiers and summer idlers.

Founded three years ago, the Mad River Food Hub came about as a combination of the British entrepreneur Robin Morris’ love for local foods and his experience in the business world. Read More

California Organic Farm Raises Capital With Direct Public Offering

June 3, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Capay Farms

Photo courtesy of Capay Farms

Farmers often don’t have an easy time getting access to capital to sustain and grow their businesses. Capay Organic,  an organic family farm based about 35 miles west of Sacramento, California, faced just this dilemma in 2009.

To deal with their cash flow issues, owners Noah Barnes and Thaddeus and Freeman Barsotti took matters into their own hands creating their own lending system, the Green Loan Program.

Read More

South Carolina Food Hub Favors Food Stamps Over Foodies

May 16, 2014 |

postFood-Hub-1While it’s no secret foodies like farmers’ markets, a new project in Spartanburg, South Carolina wants to attract a different kind of customer: those who rely on food stamps to feed their families.

It’s called the Healthy Food Hub, and it’s the brainchild of three local nonprofits who want to transform a place now known as a food desert into an urban oasis for low-income patrons. Read More

Q&A: Dr. Peggy A. Mauk of UC Riverside Discusses Efforts to Strengthen Local Food System

April 28, 2014 |
Dr. Peggy A. Mauk. Director of Agricultural Operations and Subtropical Horticulture Specialist, UC Riverside Photo courtesy of Dr, Mauk

Dr. Peggy A. Mauk. Director of Agricultural Operations and Subtropical Horticulture Specialist, UC Riverside
Photo courtesy of Dr, Mauk

Mention the southern Californian City of Riverside and people often think of oranges. This is hardly surprising, since it’s the birthplace of the state’s citrus industry and home to an internationally respected citrus research center run by the University of California, Riverside.

An effort is now underway, though, that could change perceptions about food production in this citrus hub. UC Riverside and city government are collaborating on a new initiative to get farmers and residents to think outside the area’s traditional export-oriented citrus growing model by promoting development of Riverside’s local food system.

Seedstock spoke to Dr. Peggy Mauk, Director of Agricultural Operations at UC Riverside, to learn more about this work. Read More