Posts By Helen Weatherall
It is said it takes a village to raise a child. And what does it take to raise a commercial crop of leafy greens on a vacant lot in Boston? A different kind of village—one that includes experts practiced in the art of land tenure.
By bringing together such experts, the Trust for Public Land is helping to facilitate urban agriculture in the City of Boston. Back in 1972, the organization’s founder, Huey Johnson, recognized that negotiating land deals calls for expertise in law, real estate and finance. The trick to open space preservation, as he saw it, was to employ the strategies of modern business. Forty some odd years later, TPL has seen through over 5,300 parks and conservation projects in the majority of the nation’s states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Years of observing and assisting his father on his family’s farm in Croatia informed Matija Kopic about the intricacies of running a dairy farm. The problem Kopic identified is not a shortage of data, dedication or diligence – but time. After leaving the farm and gaining information technology expertise, Kopic set out to remedy the problem with powerful software and a start-up he named Farmeron.
Founded in Osijek, Croatia, the capital of the country’s well-known farming region Slavonia, Farmeron is a cloud-based comprehensive management tool for dairy farmers.
Farmeron’s American presence includes a headquarters in Palo Alto, California and offices in Columbus, Ohio and Minneapolis, Minnesota, with plans to expand into the southeast and southwest.
“Farming” may not be the first word that comes to mind when people think of Boston, but with December’s passage of Article 89, a new ordinance legalizing for-profit urban agriculture in the city limits, that may soon change.
This is how Edith Murnane, Boston’s Director of Food Initiatives would have it. Appointed in 2010 by former mayor Menino, Murnane’s responsibility is to increase access to healthy and affordable food, expand Boston’s local food production, and build a strong local food economy.
“We want to make sure that all boot-strapper farmers that have one, maybe two nickels to rub together can participate,” says Murnane.
As perhaps much does in Minnesota in the wintertime, the aquaponics start-up Urban Organics began with ice.
Pond ice, that is.
That’s because Fred Haberman, a public relations expert, dedicated social entrepreneur, and founder of The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships got to talking with his “ice man,” David Haider.
It came to light that the two had a common dream: to bring farms to the Twin Cities’ food deserts.
In 1979, John Musser embarked on an expedition into the rugged far reaches of America’s southern neighbor to visit Mexican orphanages, where he witnessed both hungry children and food waste.
Upon his return, Musser founded the Texas-based non-profit Aquaponics & Earth and stepped up to the challenge of helping orphans in Mexico and across the world secure adequate nutrition. Through hardware and education, Musser’s organization enables orphanages to become self-sustaining, freeing themselves from dependence on food aid.