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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Nina Ignaczak

This Week in Sustainable Ag: Seedstock’s Weekly News Roundup

August 22, 2014 |

seedstockDo You Know Which Politicians Benefit From Your Grocery Dollars?

Shop according to your political persuasion with this new app based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Sunlight Foundation and the Institute for State Money in Politics

Source: Washington Post

Sustainable agriculture is a gold mine for rural entrepreneurs

A new National Wildlife Federation highlights business opportunities for rural entrepreneurs growing cover crops.

Source: The Prairie Star Ag Weekly Read More

This Week in Sustainable Ag: Seedstock’s Weekly News Roundup

August 1, 2014 |

seedstockCargill Adopts a More Sustainable Palm Oil Policy

Source: TriplePundit

The $137-billion Cargill corporation recently adopted a sustainable palm oil policy with three components: developing a traceable, zero-deforestation supply chain, no future cultivation in carbon-absorbing peat soils, and avoiding sourcing in areas of indigenous person exploitation. Read More

This Week in Sustainable Ag: Seedstock’s Weekly News Roundup

July 25, 2014 |

seedstockHere’s a roundup of what’s new and interesting this week in the world of sustainable agriculture:

California universities to start sustainable agriculture programs
Source: Reuters
The ten-campus University of California announced a new sustainable agriculture initiative to include local food purchasing, new courses on growing in drought conditions, and more scholarships for agriculture students. Read More

In Search for Sustainable Biofuel Feed Solution, Startup Focuses on Ancient Pongamia Tree

October 16, 2013 |
Photo Credit: TerViva.

The oil from the seed of the Pongamia tree can be used in industrial applications like biodiesel and sprays, while the protein-rich seedcake can be used in the manufacture of animal feed. Photo Credit: TerViva.

To meet world food demand in the future, agriculture productivity must increase by a factor of 1-2% per year, more than doubling total output by 2050, according to the Global Harvest Initiative’s 2012 GAP Index report. At the same time, global demand for biofuels is projected to increase by 133% by the year 2020, according to Hart Energy’s Global Biofuels Outlook Report.

Intensification of unsustainable agricultural practices to meet these competing needs often harms soil, causing nutrient depletion, erosion, salinization, and chemical, and allows the introduction of crop pests. The result: significant amounts of land are removed from production indefinitely every year. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates 1-2% of global cropland is removed from production annually due to salinization alone.

That statistic got the attention of Naveen Sikka, Founder and CEO of TerViva, an Oakland, CA-based sustainable agriculture startup aimed at developing new crops for marginal or underutilized farmland. Read More

Waste-based Startup Uses Insect Alchemy to Transform Soldier Fly into Sustainable Animal Feed

October 14, 2013 |
Enterra’s animal feed ingredient products are derived from dried, pasteurized grubs of the Black Soldier Fly, a non-invasive beneficial insect. The grubs are grown in a fully controlled, artificial environment using a fixed recipe of pre-consumer food waste that is sourced from clean, traceable streams of waste fruits, vegetables, grains, and fish. Photo Credit: Enterra.

Enterra’s animal feed ingredient products are derived from dried, pasteurized grubs of the Black Soldier Fly, a non-invasive beneficial insect. Photo Credit: Enterra.

In 2007, Dan Merchant of Vancouver, British Columbia went fishing with David Suzuki, Canada’s most famous sustainability advocate, and had a life-changing conversation about fish food.

Aquaculture feed, to be more exact.

Commercial fish farming has long been criticized for its sustainability challenges; the fish feed produced from wild-caught fish, corn and soybeans is resource-intensive and competes for other uses, such as human consumption and biofuel. Grain-based animal feed faces the same sourcing and production challenges.

The conversation with Suzuki got Merchant thinking about methods of producing fish food more in harmony with nature’s design, noting that a staple food of many fishes is insects and their larvae. Read More

Urban Farm in Detroit Builds Community and Food Security

October 1, 2013 |
Photo Credit: D-Town Farm

Photo Credit: D-Town Farm

African Americans, especially children, have higher rates of obesity and type II diabetes than the general population, and are more likely to live in impoverished neighborhoods with limited access to fresh food. To address the inequities of the food system food in the African American community in the City of Detroit and establish African Americans as leaders of the local food and urban agriculture movement in their communities, the Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBFSN) pursues three avenues: policy, cooperatives, and agriculture.

To change policy, DBFSN helped establish the Detroit Food Policy Council, “an education, advocacy and policy organization led by Detroiters committed to creating a sustainable, local food system that promotes food security, food justice and food sovereignty in the city of Detroit.” Read More