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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Melonie Magruder

At Urban Rural Nexus, Food Distributor in Colorado Makes Connections that Grow the Local Food Marketplace

September 24, 2013 |

summer fall 500 croppedTo Elizabeth Mozer, owner/operator of Loco Foods distribution in Ft. Collins, Colorado, it’s all about connections.

Back when she was running the Lyric Cinema Café, she made a conscious choice to make sure her café was stocked with the same kinds of foods she would pack for her children’s lunches – something fresh, healthful and, most importantly, local.

“We were sort of a glorified concession stand,” Mozer said. “But we believe in supporting our local farmers. And where we’re located, somewhere between urban and rural, you can find a lot of farms.” Read More

The Santa Monica Farmers Market – Where Every Farmer Has a Story to Tell and Bounty to Share

September 19, 2013 |
Panoramic shot of the storied Santa Monica Farmers Market. Photo Credit: Santa Monica Farmers Market

Panoramic shot of the storied Santa Monica Farmers Market. Photo Credit: Santa Monica Farmers Market

The Santa Monica Farmers Market is celebrated throughout metro Los Angeles as perhaps the best, most family-friendly and most diverse of markets in the county. Launched in July, 1981, the beachside town’s farmers market began with a mere 23 vendors. Since then, it has grown to include some 85 farmers from as far north as the Oregon border all the way down to Tijuana, and has expanded to run four days a week in three different locations across the city.

Laura Avery has been running the market almost since its inception and said she has been feeding her own family, her children and her grandchildren on the bounty found in the colorful market stalls.

“We started this market through a program then administered through the California Food and Agriculture Department, and they went out and recruited farmers for us,” Avery said. “It’s thanks to Jerry Brown, who was governor then and who passed the Retail Marketing Act that allowed us to operate, even though all the big retailers and shippers were totally against it.” Read More

Beylik Family Farms’ Embrace of Hydroponics Proves Out-of-Box Thinking Can Sustain Multi-Generational Farm

September 5, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Beylik Family Farms

Photo Credit: Beylik Family Farms

Beylik Family Farms has proved that out-of-the-box thinking on agriculture can be rewarded with a multi-generational business model – one that keeps the family on the farm without even getting their hands dirty.

“Back in 1971, hydroponics were not a proven technology,” current family farmer Scott Beylik said. “We are light years away now from how we started out. And we get better yields than ever.”

Beylik’s dad was an aerospace engineer and his grandfather was a plant biology teacher at Culver City High School back in the early 70s when they got an idea to work for themselves. Grandpa Beylik researched growing hydroponically in an industry that couldn’t imagine year-round greenhouse production with no dirt involved. Read More

Long Beach, CA Urban Farm Shows Success of New Food Movement Will Come from Lots of Small Efforts

August 29, 2013 |
Photo credit: Gladys Avenue Urban Farm

Photo credit: Gladys Avenue Urban Farm

Thirty-eight years ago, before he discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and became an advocate for sustainable oceans and built a boat out of plastic bottles to sail to Hawaii, just to make a point about ocean pollution, Charles Moore had a little farm.

On a 2,000 square foot plot smack in the middle of Long Beach, with an upholstery shop on one side and an auto body repair clinic on the other, Moore started growing vegetables and fruits so he could make lunch for his employees in his own furniture repair shop. From that effort, Gladys Avenue Urban Farm was born. Read More

Circle Fresh Farms Ties Network of Hydroponic Farms Together to Grow Local Food Movement in Colorado

August 20, 2013 |

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Circle Fresh Farms, in Colorado, likes to say they were born from a vision of founder Buck Adams based around sustainability, local foods and greenhouse farms, which pretty much describes the seven-year-old company.

But that amiable description leaves out the extended version, which illustrates Circle Fresh’s efforts to transform an industry towards more locally produced foods, in ways that sustain and restore the health of the land and local communities, with a business model that increases opportunities for participants, while benefiting local retail stores. Read More

Chipotle Leads Way in Sustainable Fast Food; Expands Market for Naturally Raised Meats

August 6, 2013 |

Anyone who has visited a Chipotle Mexican Grill knows their business model: pretty, tasty tacos and burritos prepared to order in an assembly line of tortillas, savory shredded meats, beans and an array of salsas to fit your heat tolerance.

What you might not know is that Chipotle is leading the way for “fast food” chains to transform their food sourcing to a more environmentally responsible model that taps local farmers, patronizes humanely-raised meat farms and gives customers a more healthful mouthful. Or, as Chipotle puts it, “Food With Integrity”. Read More

Startup Seeks to Build Better Farmers Market By Providing Year Round Online Access to Food

July 15, 2013 |

startup nation homepageWhat if you had access to a fresh farmers market seven days a week, knew exactly what they would be offering so that you can plan your meals, were able to contact your preferred vendors with a shopping list and could pay for everything in advance, with your fresh veggies being delivered directly to your door?

That’s exactly what Antony Lee, founder and CEO of Fresh Nation, has put together.

“The idea was to build a network of farmers markets across the country so that it’s a win for the vendors and a win for the customers,” Lee said. “We don’t necessarily need more farmers markets, we need better farmers markets.” Read More

To Counter Strain on Groundwater Supply, California Berry Grower Employs Innovative Water Management Strategies

July 9, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Driscoll's

Photo Credit: Driscoll’s

Driscoll’s strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are famous throughout the nation as some of the sweetest handful of anti-oxidants you can find. Grown in the Parajo Valley of California’s central coast region, Driscoll’s has been operating as a family business for more than 100 years.

But generations of expanding agriculture have put a severe strain on the groundwater supply that irrigates the region. Water is being pumped at twice the rate that the aquifer can safely provide, and as a result of over-pumping, seawater intrusion continues to diminish and contaminate the basin’s water supply. Driscoll’s – like farmers across the nation – is faced with finding innovative methods to counter the shrinking water supply.

Seedstock spoke with Emily Paddock, Driscoll’s water resource manager, to find out what they are doing about the challenge. Read More