Posts By Jenny Smiechowski
As the demand for local, sustainable food grows, so does the need for farmers who are well-versed in the ways of sustainable agriculture. Fortunately, many educational institutions are ready to train the next generation of sustainable farmers through sustainable agriculture curriculums that cover everything from soil fertility to marketing to food policy.
In recent years, many institutions have even started offering these programs in a flexible online format that makes sustainable agriculture education more accessible to working professionals and sustainable agriculture enthusiasts across the country and world.
When Jeffrey Orkin started the Urban Hydro Project, he knew he wanted to test the waters of hydroponic growing on a small scale, but didn’t know exactly what the end result would be—until now. Orkin has officially made the move from small-scale hydroponic experimenter to full-scale hydroponic entrepreneur with the creation of Greener Roots Farm.
Orkin started the Urban Hydro Project in a 135 square foot utility room on the roof of a condo in downtown Nashville. For Greener Roots Farm, he plans to scale up significantly. Orkin is currently finishing the build-out on a hydroponic farm in a 6,000 square foot space.
“Agriburbia” is a land-use concept that epitomizes the motto “home is where the farm is” by combining agricultural production and suburban development. The concept was devised by Matthew “Quint” Redmond who owns an agriculture consulting firm called AgriNetx LLC which aims to create agriburbia throughout the country and world.
In 1997, Quint and his wife Jenny used their education in Environmental Planning to start a design and engineering firm called TSR Group Inc. In 2003, they were hired to design a new subdivision and convinced the owner to let them incorporate food into the community’s design. This particular subdivision was never built because of the economic downturn, but Quint and Jenny Redmond continued to pursue their passion for suburban agriculture.
When Colorado Springs passed an ordinance allowing residents to own small dairy goats within city limits, City Councilor Jill Gaebler knew it was an important step toward a more sustainable food system in the city. Although Gaebler realizes it was a small win, she also believes it helped put urban agriculture on the agenda of a city that is still very much a food desert.
According to Gaebler, Colorado Springs is behind the rest of Colorado when it comes to promoting urban agriculture. The city only currently produces about four percent of its own food, does not have a public market in its downtown, and still has various legal barriers that limit small-scale food producers.
In the early 1990s, Steve and Marie Nygren purchased an old farmhouse located on 60 acres in the Georgia countryside. At the time, they thought it would be a good location for an occasional day trip into the country, but it gradually became the centerpiece of their lives.
The Nygrens and their three daughters fell in love with the bucolic country setting, which was a welcome escape from their fast-paced life in Atlanta. They restored a 1945 cottage on the property and began staying in the country every weekend.