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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jessica Vernabe

19-Year-Old Combines Farming and Tech Experience, Develops iPhone App for Organic Farmers

May 16, 2012 |

Alex Schimp started learning programming at age 11. Now, at age 19, he has developed an iPhone and iPod Touch application that will help certified organic farmers keep their crop records organized with simple clicks and taps of their fingers.

Schimp launched his Seed to Harvest iPhone and iPod Touch app in March. The app—available as a limited free version and a full version for $9.99 through Apple’s “App Store”—gives certified organic farmers the ability to record vital information right on the field (since the information logging aspect of the app does not require Internet access). Read More

From Paper Mill Residuals to Seaweed Byproducts, Tilth Expert Provides Sustainable Solutions to Invigorate Soil

May 9, 2012 |

Organic waste is too precious to go unused—take it from a soil scientist.

Andrew Carpenter, founder of Belfast, Maine-based consulting company Northern Tilth, makes a living helping others set up organic waste recycling plans for the purpose of improving soil fertility. Carpenter helps his clients make use of all kinds of organic matter-based byproducts, such as paper mill residuals, seaweed byproducts, wood ash, manure composts and biosolids (sludge from waste water treatment plants). Northern Tilth’s clients include organic waste generators who want to recycle their waste (such as paper mills and food processors) as well as those who want to use it (such as farmers). Read More

Aquaponics Co. Hopes to Increase Food Security and Achieve Profit Via International Strategy

April 30, 2012 |

With world population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050, there are concerns about whether there will be enough fresh food to feed them all. Some say aquaponics is the solution.

The method combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing vegetables in water and nutrients, without soil) to produce pesticide-free food while using substantially less water compared to conventional farming methods. That creates the potential for maximizing food production in developing countries that have less water and healthy soil to work with, according to the leaders of Dallas-based Premier Organic Farms Corporation which plans to do just that through its subsidiary ECO Fresh Solutions. Read More

Sustainable Farm Collaborative Leverages Regional Brand Identity, Extends Farmers’ Reach via Robust CSA

April 16, 2012 |

Capay Valley Farm Shop's 'Bushel' FarmShares Box

When Capay Valley Farm Shop customers open up their CSA boxes full of fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, nuts and other edible goodies, they get to appreciate the hard work of dozens of organic and sustainable farms from, you guessed it, the Capay Valley.

The Capay Valley, located in Northern California in the coastal range between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area, has been a hotbed of organic and sustainable farming innovation for over three decades now. To meet customer demand for organic and locally produced foods, foster and strengthen the “Capay Valley Grown” brand identity, and increase the economic viability of farms in the region, Capay Valley Farm Shop was formed. Read More

Vermont Cow Power Program Makes Most Out of Manure, Benefits Farmers and Environment

April 12, 2012 |

Some might underestimate the power behind a cow—or let’s just say the power that comes from a cow’s behind.

But that’s not the case with electric utility Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS), which uses its Cow Power program to make the most out of cow manure while simultaneously lowering the manure’s negative impacts on the environment and benefiting farmers’ bottom lines.

By partnering with the Cow Power program, 10 dairy farms in Vermont have been able to acquire anaerobic digesters for their farms. The digesters are used to turn cow manure into renewable energy, which is sold back to the utility and then purchased by local customers who are willing to pay a little bit extra for the cleaner power. The process also leads to the production of things like bedding material and compost, which can be sold by the farms or used directly on their own operations. Read More