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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jenny Smiechowski

Getting to Higher Ground with Rooftop Farming

April 2, 2014 |

Higher Ground Farm founder John Stoddard is all about moving on up—especially when it comes to urban agriculture.

In 2012, Stoddard wrote a guest post for Seedstock highlighting the potential of rooftop farming. At the time, he and his business partner, Courtney Hennessey, were searching for a roof space to farm. They’ve since started farming on the roof of the Boston Design Center, a 55,000 square foot space in South Boston, and completed their first farming season in 2013. Read More

Boston Nonprofit Farm Grows Fresh Food for Homeless Families

March 18, 2014 |
Photo credit: ReVision Urban Farm

Photo credit:
ReVision Urban Farm

In the early 1990s, ReVision Family Home, a shelter for pregnant and parenting women in Boston, Massachusetts, began a community garden with the intention of providing fresh, nutritious food to the families at the shelter.

As it expanded, the community garden grew into ReVision Urban Farm, a half-acre urban farm that provides fresh, nutritious food not only to shelter residents, but to the entire Boston community.

In 2005, ReVision Family Home and ReVision Urban Farm merged with Victory Programs, a nonprofit agency dedicated to serving those who are homeless, have substance abuse issues, and/or other related illnesses and disorders. As a result, both the farm and the family home became programs among a diverse network of social services. Read More

The Future of Fish Farming: A Q&A with Author Paula Daniels

March 10, 2014 |
Paula Daniels Photo credit: Leroy Hamilton

Paula Daniels
Photo credit: Leroy Hamilton

Despite being among the top three seafood consuming countries in the world, the United States produces less than one percent of the world’s farmed fish. After becoming aware of this incredible discrepancy, Paula Daniels, former Senior Food Policy Advisor to the mayor of Los Angeles and founder of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, began asking important questions about the future of aquaculture in the United States.

Specifically, Daniels began exploring why the United States is falling behind so substantially in the production of farmed fish, and how aquaculture can be practiced sustainably so it can become an integral part of our regional food networks.

Read More

Canadian Company Aims to Solve Global Water Crisis through Wastewater Management

March 4, 2014 |
Image Credit: Livestock Water Recycling.

Image Credit: Livestock Water Recycling.

In the early years of the twenty-first century, the environmental activism of former Vice President Al Gore inspired many people to action. Among them was president and co-founder of Calgary-based Livestock Water Recycling, Ross Thurston. In 2003, Thurston was so inspired by the former vice president’s work concerning the global water crisis that he decided to pursue a potential solution to this problem—global water treatment.

Thurston focused his water treatment efforts on livestock production, a largely underserviced global water market. He realized that although livestock production used 70 percent of the world’s water daily, wastewater treatment in the livestock industry was practically nonexistent. He also learned that the amount of waste created through livestock production is staggering. Read More

Nashville Entrepreneur Experiments with Micro-scale Rooftop Hydroponics

January 21, 2014 |
Courtesy of Jeffrey Orkin

Courtesy of Jeffrey Orkin

On the roof of a condo in downtown Nashville, Urban Hydro Project founder Jeffrey Orkin is redefining the meaning of space-efficient urban agriculture.

Orkin has turned a former rooftop utility room into a 135-square foot hydroponic grow room where he raises various types of lettuce, basil, arugula, dill, kale, cilantro, mustard greens, and more. In December 2012, Orkin launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds he needed to build the grow room. Those who donated to the campaign were promised certain amounts of lettuce, basil, and arugula in return, and Orkin has been busy over the past year distributing these greens to his supporters. Orkin has also been busy selling his produce to residents of the condo unit he grows in, other community members, and local restaurants in the Nashville area. Read More