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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Rose Egelhoff

Wisconsin Public-Private Partnership Builds New Aquaponics Innovation Center

June 16, 2015 |
Replication Systems of the UWSP-Aquaponics Innovation Center

Replication Systems of the UWSP-Aquaponics Innovation Center | Courtesy UWSP-Aquaponics Innovation Center

A new Aquaponics Innovation Center (AIC) in Montello, Wisconsin is the result of a public-private partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) and Nelson and Pade, Inc. Read More

Kansas Task Force Seeks to Strengthen Local Food in a Big Ag State

June 3, 2015 |

 

Vendors at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market make a sale. Like other states, Kansas has seen a boom in the number and popularity of farmers’ markets in recent years. Image courtesy of Overland Park Farmers' Market/ Jason Ebberts with TBL Photography.

Vendors at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market make a sale. Like other states, Kansas has seen a boom in the number and popularity of farmers’ markets in recent years. Image courtesy of Overland Park Farmers’ Market/ Jason Ebberts with TBL Photography.

A group of farmers, horticultural experts and politicians from both sides of the aisle have come together to learn about local food in Kansas.

The seven-member Local Food and Farm Task Force, established by Kansas Senate Bill 286, will prepare a report of their findings along with policy and funding recommendations for January 2016 session of the Kansas legislature. Monthly meetings started this past November and will continue through December 2015.

The task force includes a horticultural expert from Kansas State University’s extension system, a Republican and a Democrat selected by their respective party’s legislative leadership, a member from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and three member appointed by the governor—including the chairman, Ron Brown, who is a family farmer and executive board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Kerry Wefald, Agriculture Marketing Director at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, attends task force meetings as a member of the administrative support team. According to Wefald, the current focus of the task force is to get an idea of what gaps exist in the state food system. Read More

Women in Food: Leah Penniman, Food Justice Farmer and Educator

May 27, 2015 |
Soul Fire Farm, Courtesy Leah Penniman

Soul Fire Farm, Courtesy Leah Penniman

The connection crackles slightly as I pick up the phone.

“Hello?”

A couple thousand miles away in Oaxaca, Mexico where she is currently working on a Fulbright, Leah Penniman replies. Though I am nervous to speak with someone whose work I greatly admire, Leah’s humor and openness quickly puts me at ease. Read More

Five Vertical Farms that Capture the Imagination and Profit

May 17, 2015 |
"Harvesters Alejandra Martinez (front), Steve Rodriguez, and Marquita Twidell cut basil at the FarmedHere facilities. Image courtesy of FarmedHere."

Harvesters Alejandra Martinez (front), Steve Rodriguez, and Marquita Twidell cut basil grown in an aquaponic system at FarmedHere, a vertical farming operation based in Bedford Park, Illinois. Image courtesy of FarmedHere.

Vertical farms: the idea captures our imagination. We envision their upward-twisting frames nestled between the steel and chrome skyscrapers of the big city. Each floor overflows with fruits and vegetables brought to life by hydroponic or aquaponic growing systems, bringing local food and a breath of fresh air to cities with a footprint smaller than any “horizontal” farm.

While setup and electrical costs remain expensive, a wave of vertical farmers around the world has been finding new ways to cut costs and streamline systems to make vertical farming a reality. They may not be ‘farmscrapers’, but these five vertical farms achieve production rates up to 100 times more efficient per square foot than traditional farming while bringing year-round local produce to their communities. Read More

Bugs for Dinner: Big Cricket Farms Find Niche in Edible Insect Farming

April 16, 2015 |
Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Rich in protein and requiring relatively few resources to raise, the United Nations says insects should be on our plates.

Though bugs make up part of a healthy, diverse diet in many non-Western cultures, Americans and Europeans generally consider eating insects to be disgusting, even ‘primitive.’ But a growing movement by edible insect enthusiasts like Kevin Bachhuber is looking to change this perception.

Eating certain types of insects is common is Thailand, where Bachhuber picked up a taste for them in 2006 while traveling. Fried crickets are a common bar food, and though “it feels a little Fear-Factor-y at first,” he says a couple beers help wash them down the first time. From then on, he says, “They’re really good!” Read More