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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Davina van Buren

Can Cities Feed Themselves? A Look at Urban Farming in 5 Major American Urban Centers

February 24, 2016 |
Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Food Field is a for profit 4-acre urban farm based in Detroit that was founded in 2010 by Noah Link and Alex Bryan. Photo Credit: Food Field.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that urban agriculture—the practice of cultivating and distributing food in population-dense areas—is all the rage. 

As Americans learn more about our food system and how it affects our health and the environment, many city-dwellers are looking for alternatives to pesticide-laden fruit and vegetables, GMOs and CAFOs.

In response, many farmers have turned to cultivating in cities to meet the demand for locally grown crops. And ordinary citizens are taking it upon themselves to learn how to grow their own food. Read More

Women in Food: Mary Ackley and the Art, Science and Engineering of Urban Farming

February 11, 2016 |
Mary Ackley. Courtesy Little Wild Things City Farm

Mary Ackley. Courtesy Little Wild Things City Farm

If you’ve ever visited our nation’s capital, you know the metro area isn’t known for sprawling yards and large swaths of greenery. So when Mary Ackley set out to start a Washington, D.C.-based urban farm in late 2014, she had to get creative.

Growing up in Michigan, Ackley’s family instilled a strong love of the outdoors and stewardship of the environment through activities like hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing and camping. Between completing degrees in Civil & Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources Management, she volunteered for the Peace Corps in Fiji. Eventually she embarked on a career as a foreign service officer, where she helped start a small urban garden in Sri Lanka. Eager to learn more about sustainable farming methods, she then applied—and was rejected—for an internship at Joel Salatin’s famed Polyface farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

Eager to learn more about sustainable farming methods, she then applied—and was rejected—for an internship at Joel Salatin’s famed Polyface farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Read More

Muskegon County, Michigan Completes Food Hub Feasibility Study, Gets USDA Funding

January 26, 2016 |

Muskegon County, Michigan is one step closer to getting a food hub after completing a feasibility study conducted in partnership by Morse Marketing Connections and Cherry Capital Foods, an established food hub located in Traverse City.

In a study conducted in 2015 by County Health Rankings, Muskegon ranked 65 out of 82 for Health Behaviors, which includes factors such as adult obesity and food environment index (economic status and access to consistent sources of healthy food). That’s partly because Muskegon is a food desert. Read More

18 Ways to Eat Sustainably in 2016

December 28, 2015 |
Windowsill herb garden. Credit: Davina Inman

Windowsill herb garden. Credit: Davina Inman

Getting ready to put together those New Years’ resolutions? If eating more sustainably is among them, here’s a quick guide to get you started

1. Can, freeze and dehydrate all year.

Put up foods like berries and summery fruits and veggies throughout the year instead of buying them out of season. This way you can still cook with local foods even in the dead of winter. Save money by patronizing you-pick farms for berries and vegetables in the summer; apples, pears and pumpkins in the fall. Read More

Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative Looks to Localize Institutions

December 14, 2015 |
Maine Farm & Sea farmers harvest greens. Credit: Nathan Broaddus

Maine Farm & Sea farmers harvest greens. Credit: Nathan Broaddus

A group of Maine food producers, service workers and community members is out to change the local food system on an institutional scale.

The Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative is the first “farm and sea to institution” food service cooperative in the United States. Comprised of more than 100 owners, the group aims to transform the state’s institutional food service programs—like those in schools, universities and hospitals—by providing a higher percentage of local foods and employees to its partners. Read More