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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jessica Morey-Collins

Web Portal Reduces Waste by Helping Urban Gardeners Catch Plants

September 4, 2012 |

Three years ago, computer science engineer Nicolas Cadilhac began gardening as a hobby. Although he deeply enjoyed gardening, he was disheartened by the expense of soil, compost, bulbs, and perennials. Even more so, Nicolas was discouraged by errors like dead plants, re-buys, compulsive purchases, and–most of all–waste.

To solve for these issues Nicolas developed PlantCatching, an easy-to-use web portal that enables gardeners to notify one another of surplus materials, so that growers are able to share excess materials–reducing both cost and waste. Read More

Family’s Urban Farm a Model of Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency

August 17, 2012 |

What began as the Dervaes family’s endeavor to grow all of their own produce has developed into a thriving urban farm that grosses significant sales and exemplifies local, sustainable living. Located in Pasadena, California, the garden sits on 1/10 of an acre, and provides a blueprint for other urbanites to reduce their environmental impacts while lessening their dependence on conventional food and energy systems.

In the early 1970’s, Jules Dervaes grew wary of the world’s debilitated food infrastructure and growing environmental problems. Responding to these concerns, Dervaes moved to New Zealand to learn how to grow his own food. Read More

Strip Mall Parking Lot Torn Up to Make Way for Sustainable Urban Farm Oasis in Food Desert

July 18, 2012 |

When Holland Town Center in Michigan approached Jeff Roessing about farming a 1.3 acre chunk in the middle of a strip mall parking lot, the director Eighth Day Farm rose to the challenge.

The fledgling project aims to educate the community about agriculture, provide fresh produce, and draw customers to struggling businesses in the strip mall. According to Michele Zeilinger, who manages public relations for the farm, management of the strip mall is working hard to revive commerce and renovate the space for mixed use. Read More

Out of Economic Woe, Urban Farming Side Project Evolves Into Viable Business Enterprise

July 2, 2012 |

When the global economy deflated in 2008, business slowed for Austin-based landscaping business Texas Trees & Landscapes. Owners Glenn and Paula Foore ran Texas Trees & Landscapes off of five acres in the middle of the city, and had many long time employees counting on work. With landscape work being a very seasonal market, the Foores often took on side-projects to stay busy during slow periods. It was during one of these periods that they decided to start an urban farm on their property.

“We could feed ourselves and our crew, while staying busy and keeping morale up,” says Paula. Read More

Growing Up Hydroponically – Practical Motives Drive Family Strawberry Farm to Increase Sustainability

May 25, 2012 |

Strawberry farmers must contend with numerous challenges from supplying plants with just the right amount of water to fending off numerous soil-borne pests. Coupling the plant’s innate sensitivity with staunch environmental regulations, it can be difficult for growers to balance sustainability and crop health. Temecula Valley Strawberry Farms (TVSF), though, has found a solution to sustainably and profitably grow strawberries using a unique vertical hydroponic system that benefits the environment and the local community without sacrificing yields. Read More