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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Jessica Vernabe

San Diego Farm Seeks to Go Beyond Organic and Build Sustainable Connections with Customers

November 14, 2011 |

Suzie’s Farm is all about rekindling the connection between farmer and consumer while also helping people become better stewards of their bodies, its owners say.

The 70-acre USDA-certified organic farm in San Diego, with more than 100 varieties of crops, has about 400 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program members, or community members who sign up to receive boxes of its produce on a regular basis, said Lucila De Alejandro, who owns the farm with her husband. Suzie’s Farm also sells its produce at 14 weekly farmer’s markets all over San Diego County, and it sells its produce to more than 50 restaurants and at least 10 grocery stores. Read More

USDA Awards Grants to Launch Community Gardens Across the Nation

November 11, 2011 |

USDA National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef CattleThe United States Department of Agriculture has awarded 10 grants to help underserved communities across the country in order to start “People’s Gardens,” addressing problems such as malnutrition, food insecurity and other health issues.

The grants, totaling $725,000, will support 155 People’s Gardens, or sustainable community gardens that give residents direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a USDA press release. They are the first grants awarded under the People’s Garden Grant Program. The USDA received more than 360 proposals requesting more than $4 million. Read More

Foundation Seeks to Use Sustainable Agriculture to Empower Women in the Developing World

November 8, 2011 |

For the Global Hunger Foundation, combatting hunger in developing countries requires more than just sending emergency food their way. The foundation takes a much more long-lasting approach—it aims to empower women in poverty-stricken countries by helping them learn how to grow their own organic food.

Why the focus on women, one might ask.

H. Eric Schockman, president of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit and a university professor, said that’s because about 70 percent of small farming entities in the world are run by women. Studies also show that women are more likely than men to pour resources they are given back into their communities, he said. Read More

UC Davis Breaks Ground on New Sustainable Winery Facility

November 5, 2011 |

The University of California, Davis just broke ground on a new sustainable winery building aimed at conserving water, energy and other resources, university officials announced.

The 8,000-square-foot Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building, which cost $4 million, allows the adjacent winery, brewery and food-processing complex to become the world’s first self-sustainable, zero-carbon teaching and research facility, the university said. Read More

Startup Profile: Entrepreneur Looks to Profit by Spreading the Word about Worms

November 1, 2011 |

Ralph Crevoshay, president of VermiVision, is trying to get the word out about worms. That’s because the entrepreneur views his company’s method of vermicomposting—or worm composting—as a sure thing when it comes to successful growing. He also sees it as a major business opportunity.

The San Diego-based company, which is still in launch mode, is focused on creating community-based vermicomposting facilities, particularly through partnerships with universities and research centers. Vermicomposting is a process in which worms consume organic matter and break it down into high-value compost through their excretions, or “castings,” according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Read More