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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Deanna Krinn

Consortium to Create Food Hubs to Strengthen Local Food System in Georgia

November 8, 2011 |

The Georgia Sustainable Agriculture Consortium has a mission to bring local food back to Georgia, a state that currently relies on imports from the rest of the country for much of the food and produce that its citizens consume.

While the state’s largest economic sector is agriculture, a staggering 80 percent of the food that Georgians purchase comes from out of state, a University of Georgia expert told Georgia FACES News. The Consortium is proposing the creation of food hubs in order to shift the focus of agriculture back to local markets by making it easier for farmers to sell their produce locally and or regionally. Read More

Penn State Receives $2.3M Grant to Investigate Impact of Cover Crop Cocktails on Organic Agriculture

November 2, 2011 |

Researchers at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences were recently awarded a $2.3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine the effects of various “cover crop cocktails,” or cover crop mixtures, on organic agriculture production.

Jason Kaye, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry, said the study hopes to determine whether mixing multiple varieties of cover crops or planting a single species is better at amplifying ecosystem functions in a corn-soybean-wheat cash crop rotation that produces organic feed and forage. Read More

USDA Extends $19 Million in Grants to Support Organic Producers and Processors

October 26, 2011 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleA growing demand for organic and sustainably produced food has led the USDA to announce nearly two dozen new grants to research and extension programs that will help organic producers and processors more effectively market and grow their products.

The 23 grants total $19 million, and are funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program.

“As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. Read More

Wisconsin’s Farm Fresh Atlases Help Consumers Chart Path to Local and Organic Food

October 19, 2011 |

Wisconsin consumers seeking an easy way to find locally and organically grown food have a great resource to point them in the right direction: Wisconsin’s Farm Fresh Atlases.

The Farm Fresh Atlases have been around since 2002 and are produced yearly with five different editions for the various regions of Wisconsin. The Atlases are distributed at farmers markets, participating farms and businesses, tourism and convention bureaus, public libraries, and events like county fairs. The goal is to put “sustainable farms, farmers markets and local businesses and organizations that promote local food ‘on the map’,” according to the organization’s website. Read More

Startup Profile: Central NY Aquaponic Farm, a Business and Testing Ground for Future of Agriculture

October 18, 2011 |

What began as a business plan drawn up for fun has spawned Aqua Vita Farms, central New York’s first aquaponic farm.

Aqua Vita Farms was founded by Mark Doherty and seeks to provide wholesale food distributors with safe, high value, aquaponically grown seafood and produce. Retrofitting and construction on the company’s indoor farming facility, a 13,000 square foot building in Sherrill, N.Y. that was formerly a polishing facility for Oneida Silverware, kicked off in May of this year. The company, which currently raises bluegill fish, and grows lettuce, leafy greens and herbs in its custom-made aquaponic systems, had it first harvest shortly thereafter in August. Read More