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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jenny Smiechowski

Canadian Nonprofit Keeps Rooftops Green in North American Cities

May 31, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Photo courtesy of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Since space in most cities is scarce, rooftop farming has become an increasingly important piece of the urban agriculture puzzle. While most cities do not have much open land, empty rooftops abound, making green roofs (used for farming or otherwise) an obvious choice for filling this underutilized space.

According to Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ 2013 Green Roof Industry Survey, the green roof and wall industry experienced a 10 percent growth rate in 2013. While 10 percent may sound nominal, 2,164,926 square feet of green roofs were installed in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area alone within that one year period.

Though this growth is encouraging, it has also been slow coming. The benefits of green roofs have been undisputed for several decades, but the industry itself is perceived by many as still being in its infancy. Read More

Hawaiian Resort Serves Fresh Fare through Hydroponics

May 3, 2015 |
Photo credit: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

Photo credit: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii has all the amenities you would expect at a Hawaiian resort: a golf course, a pool, scenic ocean views. But there is also one amenity you wouldn’t expect— a hydroponic garden.

The garden, which was started through a collaboration between the resort and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture, is located on a 4,000 square foot space that used to be the resort’s tennis court. It is comprised of two garden rows that grow seven different types of lettuce which are served at the resort’s restaurants and events. Read More

Commercial Kitchen Incubator Grows Small Food Start-Ups in California

April 26, 2015 |
Photo Credit: ShareKitchen

Sylvia Garza and her company, Que Mami Organics, got their start in ShareKitchen Photo Credit: ShareKitchen

Starting a small food business isn’t easy; high start-up costs and strict regulations can prevent even the savviest of small food entrepreneurs from realizing their dream. If you live in California’s Coachella Valley, however, starting a small food business has gotten a bit easier thanks to ShareKitchen, a commercial kitchen incubator in Cathedral City.

Angela Janus started ShareKitchen in 2012 after years of watching her friends in the food business struggle to get good ideas off the ground. Janus, who had 25 years of experience in the hospitality and food industry, recognized that there were many barriers to starting a small food business, some of which were too hard for small food entrepreneurs to overcome on their own. Read More

Michigan Food Innovation Hub Fosters Collaboration between Local Food Producers

April 22, 2015 |
Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Local food producers in Northwest Michigan are entering an era of collaboration thanks to the emergence of the Grand Traverse Food Innovation Hub. The food hub is an important step toward a more connected and cooperative local food community in the region and is in the early stages of bringing diverse local food companies together to share a workspace and possibly more, if everything goes according to plan. Read More

NYU Urban Farm Lab Teaches Important Lesson in Urban Ag

April 21, 2015 |
NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU’s Urban Farm Lab is not your typical classroom, but for students at NYU’s Food Studies program, it’s where they learn one very important lesson: how to grow food in the big city.

The Urban Farm Lab was the inspiration of NYU graduate student Daniel Bowman Simon who thought there should be an urban garden on campus. Unfortunately, the administration didn’t agree— at least not at first. But after five years of campaigning, Bowman Simon and members of NYU’s Food Studies Department got the administration on board, and the NYU Urban Farm Lab was born. Read More