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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Robert Puro

‘Future of Food’ Field Trip Explores Commercial and Community Driven Urban Farms in Los Angeles, CA

January 30, 2017 |
seedstock future of food field trip usc teaching garden

Attendees of the Seedstock ‘Future of Food – Urban Ag Field Trip’ at USC Teaching Garden, learning about the farm’s aeroponics operations from LA Urban Farms’s Wendy Coleman and Niels Thorlaksson. Photo credit: Robert Puro, Seedstock.

On Friday, January 27, Seedstock hosted the inaugural ‘Future of Food – Urban Ag Field Trip’, which provided attendees an excursion into the diversity of urban farming and state-of-the-art hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic agriculture operations in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the U.S. The sold out tour treated participants to lectures and sessions from pioneering farmers who are embracing innovative business models and growing systems to both increase food security and take advantage of the escalating demand for local food.

The tour kicked off with a stop at The USC Teaching Garden, a joint venture between L.A. Urban Farms and USC Hospitality, which utilizes aeroponic tower gardens to challenge the food systems status quo on campus. The garden was established to supply fresh produce to the university’s on-campus restaurants, dining halls, catering services, and hotel, while also teaching students and staff about flavor and sustainability. Attendees heard from Chef Eric Ernest, Executive Chef of USC Hospitality, discuss the economic viability of the garden. Chef Ernest noted that the garden is not just for show, and that its 90 aeroponic garden towers grow enough food for campus retail units to break even each year. “The garden is about connecting chef and customer,” said Chef Ernest. We also heard from L.A. Urban Farms founder Wendy Coleman, and partner Niels Thorlaksson, discuss the technical details of the farm, its water usage, and maintenance requirements. Thorlaksson explained that each aeroponic garden tower utilizes 5 – 10 gallons of water per week. Read More

Second in Seedstock ‘Future of Food’ Field Trip Series to Focus on Community Development Ventures

January 24, 2017 |

To provide an up close and personal look at a series of innovative community development ventures that have emerged to increase food security, reduce food waste, create jobs, enhance food access, and improve health and nutrition in communities, Seedstock has put together the ‘Future of Food – Community Development Field Trip’.

Slated for Friday, March 17, 2017, the second ‘Future of Food’ field trip will look at the impact of community food systems ventures in Southern California, and include lectures from experts in the fields of community garden and urban farming program development, food access, and food justice.

The tour is the second in a series of Seedstock ‘Future of Food’ field trips that was recently launched to facilitate the exploration of food system innovations that are generating economic and community capital.

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Scheduled for Friday, March 17, 2017, ‘The Future of Food – Community Development Field Trip’ will include visits to L.A. Kitchen, Edendale Grove – a Seeds of Hope run urban farm, and Lavender Hill Urban Farm – an urban farm and community garden run by the Los Angeles Community Garden Council.

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Seedstock ‘Future of Food: Urban Ag Field Trip’ to Explore Urban Farming Operations in L.A. County

December 13, 2016 |

Urban agriculture ventures of all different stripes – from commercial hydroponic enterprises and rooftop aeroponic farms to community gardens planted atop formerly vacant lots – are not only disrupting the food system, but also generating community and economic capital.

To give you an up close and personal look at a series of innovative urban farming operations that have emerged to tackle challenges to food access, meet marketplace demand for local food, and increase food security, Seedstock has put together the ‘Future of Food – Urban Ag Field Trip’.

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Slated for Friday, January 27, 2017, the field trip will look at the community and economic development potential of urban farming. Tour stops include the USC Teaching Garden, Local Roots Farms, and The Growing Experience.

Scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2017, the field trip will look at the impact of urban farming in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, and include lectures on such topics as the past, present, and future of urban agriculture, vertical farming, and sourcing local food from urban farms. Read More

Grow Local OC Conference Delves into the Future of Urban Food Systems in Orange County and Beyond

November 15, 2016 |

GL-oc-conf-logo-ID-v1On Nov. 10-11 hundreds of attendees from across Southern California and beyond showed up for the inaugural Grow Local OC Conference: The Future of Urban Food Systems held Nov. 10-11 in Orange County, CA at California State University, Fullerton to learn more about the community and economic development potential of fostering local food systems in cities.

The conference attendees were treated to lectures from the foremost urban farming experts, entrepreneurs, and community advocates in the sustainable and local food system space. Topics explored by the speakers and panelists included the role that food plays in bridging the rural urban divide, the potential for urban farming to generate community and economic capital, the challenges faced by entrepreneurs seeking funds for their local food and farming ventures, the potential for controlled environment agriculture in cities, and the power of community development initiatives to increase access to healthy, local food.

The conference provided ample opportunity for the local food champions, entrepreneurs, and advocates in Orange County to continue to strengthen their base of support to increase food access, improve health outcomes, and meet the demands of a thriving local food marketplace. Read More

Hundreds Gather at 4th Annual Seedstock Conference in San Diego to Discuss Innovation and Rise of Local Food

November 8, 2015 |

Pay the farmer, or pay the doctor. The responsibility of the consumer to vote with his fork. Utilizing imperfect produce in order to increase local food buying at institutions and universities. How technology gives underrepresented groups the tools to empower themselves. Indoor agriculture is on the rise, but will people let go of their love of dirt and the traditional farm image?

These were just a few of the many topics that hundreds of attendees from across the Southern California region and beyond showed up to discuss and debate at the 4th Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference: Innovation and the Rise of Local Food at the Rady School of Management, UCSD on November 3-4, 2015. The sold out audience was treated to lectures from the foremost experts, entrepreneurs, advocates and business minds in the sustainable and local food system space. As in previous years the conference provided ample opportunity for growers to network with buyers, entrepreneurs to connect with potential business partners and for the local food champions in the host city, in this case San Diego, to continue to strengthen their base of support to meet the demands of a thriving local food marketplace. Read More