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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jessica Vernabe

Produce Branding Co. Helps Small Farms Leverage Previously Cost Prohibitive Traceability Technology

August 22, 2012 |

When you go to the grocery store, it’s not always easy to find out where your produce or meat came from and all the details that go with it—whether the farm is local, which farm lot it originated from and the farmer’s growing practices.

Salinas, Calif.-based Top 10 Produce, LLC, though, has found a way to help smaller, independent farmers share that information with their customers using global standards barcodes and quick response, or QR™ codes. Read More

Entrepreneurial Iowa State University Ag Student Creates Mobile Apps to “Scout” for Crop Threats

August 20, 2012 |

ScoutPro Founder Michael Koenig has taken the traditional concept of scouting for weeds, pests, diseases and disorders in fields and has given it a forward-thinking, tech-savvy spin.

Koenig and four other co-owners of the company are offering growers, agriculture cooperatives, consultants and seed salesmen a smart-device application that takes much of the guesswork out of what is called crop scouting. Koenig, an Iowa State University student who thought up the concept while taking an agricultural entrepreneurship class, says the app allows its users to more precisely identify crop threats and determine the appropriate management. That, in turn, can lead to lower chemical usage and cost savings for some, he said. Read More

Bus Ride Spurs Creation of Online Solution for Home Gardeners to Profit from Bumper Crop

July 24, 2012 |

Can too much of a good thing be bad? It can be if the good stuff is going to waste.

A “bumper crop” is defined as an unusually large crop growth and harvest. That’s great news for the farmer who has customers to sell to, but maybe not for the home gardener who’s growing more tomatoes than he can eat.

Tampa Bay, Fla.-based startup company BumperCrop is developing a hyper-local solution to that problem. The company plans to launch a website where its users will be able to connect with home food gardeners right in their own neighborhoods and purchase their excess produce. Read More

Soil Monitoring Technology Allows Crops to Relay Precise Watering Needs to Farmers Via the Cloud

July 17, 2012 |

Imagine that your crops could call you by cell phone. What would they say? Would they be crying out for more water or frantically alerting you that they’re drowning?

The folks over at Indianapolis-based AquaSpy see their company as a sort of cell phone service that allows your crops to call home and tell growers when they’re hungry or thirsty. The Software as a Service (SaaS) company installs technology on growers’ land that closely monitors the soil’s moisture and chemical levels and the crops’ root uptake. The technology then collects the data using communication towers, analyzes it and sends it in easy-to-understand reports that are accessible right on grower’s computers and smartphones. As a byproduct of the advanced monitoring systems, many customers have touted water, energy and financial savings, said Bruce Moeller, the company’s CEO. Read More

Boston-Area Chef Takes on Locavore Mission, Runs Local Food Share Program

July 11, 2012 |

JJ Gonson says today isn’t like the good old days. No longer are there mothers or aunts or grandmothers (or “bubbies” as she calls it) in the kitchen slaving away over home-cooked meals every day—or at least that’s not the norm. Not only are people too busy these days, but there’s also fast food at every turn.

Cuisine en Locale—Gonson’s personal chef business based in Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts, near Boston—is there to fill in the gap. And Gonson is not only bringing cooked meals to the home, but she’s also providing a way for her customers to eat food made from all-local ingredients. Read More