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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Trish Popovitch

Nonprofit Connects Local Food System, Justice Dots in Brattleboro, Vermont

March 26, 2015 |
Courtesy of Windham Farm and Food.

Courtesy of Windham Farm and Food.

Since its start in 2005, Brattleboro, Vermont-based Post Oil Solutions has focused on the issues surrounding climate change. Along the way, the community development group incubated two companies: Food Connects and Windham Farm and Food. In February of 2015, the two startups merged.

“Food justice and food systems are naturally related issues, so we began doing some programming around community food security,” says Helen Rortvedt, communications director of Food Connects. “A local food hub was created and housed under Post Oil Solutions for a couple of years then set free to become its own limited liability corporation.  That organization is Windham Farm and Food, LLC.” Read More

A Sustainable Food One-stop Shop: New Orleans Business Combines Urban Farm and Grocery Store

March 25, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Hollygrove Market & Farm (HM&F) has shortened the food distribution chain to zero by combining an urban farm with a grocery store.

For many area residents in New Orleans’ 17th Ward, HM&F is their only source of affordable, local fresh food. HM&F goes out of its way to provide healthy food choices by letting customers choose from purchasing  single items or CSA-style food boxes.

HM&F began as part of the Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation. In the past they have enjoyed support from area organizations including the New Orleans Food & Farm Network and the Master Gardeners of New Orleans. Read More

Missouri Council Finds Strengths, Weaknesses in Ozarks Local Food System

March 17, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council.

Photo courtesy of Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council.

What makes a local food system?

That’s what the Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council set out to discover through their food system assessment for the 20 counties surrounding Springfield, Missouri.

Their findings show the strengths and weaknesses of the local food economy. The process also, brought together stakeholders from across the state to move the local food system forward.  They determined a need to build more food hub facilities, while giving small growers the business resources to move their company forward. Read More

Local Foods College Helps Minnesotans Get Ready for Spring

March 10, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of  University of Minnesota’s Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota’s Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership

In Minnesota, winters are often bitter and unforgiving. But the colder months are an ideal time to share knowledge about sustainable food production.

That’s why staff at University of Minnesota’s extension service chose January to launch the Local Foods College. Now in its fourth year, the program’s free courses are giving Minnesotans a reason to think spring. Read More

Iowa State University’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Helps Communities ‘Start the Conversation’ on Local Food Systems

March 10, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

A new Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit produced by the Iowa State University’s  Community Design Lab offers communities the planning tools necessary to prioritize and ignite urban farming projects. Created with the support of a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Toolkit includes process, practice and case studies to help jump-start local urban agriculture programs.

Courtney Long is a fellow for the Community Design Lab and facilitator of the urbanism toolkit program. Read More

Urban Farm Raises Awareness, Offers Different Flavor of the Good Life in Affluent Southern California

March 5, 2015 |
Rishi Kumar. Courtesy Rishi Kumar

Rishi Kumar. Courtesy Rishi Kumar

Often, urban farming startups focus on bringing food options to underserved communities.

In the case of The Growing Home and its latest venture,  Sarvodaya Farms, the community in question is educated and affluent.

After interning on a sustainable farm in India, Rishi Kumar wanted to bring his experiences back to affluent Diamond Bar. He is now offering his well-heeled neighbors a different flavor of the good life. With chickens for eggs, and compost and bees for honey, Kumar is bringing the world of locally grown to a community that doesn’t have to think about self sufficiency in the same way many American communities do. Read More

New Orleans Nonprofit Incubates and Connects Local Farmers and Growers

March 3, 2015 |
Image courtesy of New Orleans Food and Farm Network

Image courtesy of New Orleans Food and Farm Network

Since its inception in 2002, the New Orleans Food and Farm Network (NOFFN) has been sponsoring growing projects and providing technical and financial support to local agriculture.

But their latest project, Food & Farm Works @ Edible Enterprises — a collaboration between them and St. Charles Parish — takes the New Orleans local food movement a step further by incubating small food producers through a commercial kitchen and business education program.

“This is the time to think about food security in a very practical way; how do you incubate projects that are self sustaining? How do we help people make a living doing it?” asks Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director of NOFFN. Kharod took over the nonprofit four years ago, bringing with him a strong background in food justice.  In his previous position, he worked as a partnership developer in New York’s highly successful Just Food organization. Read More

New Hampshire-based Nonprofit Helps Immigrants Find a Fresh Start in Farming

February 26, 2015 |
Refugee farmers produce and sell both American and ethnic produce for the New Hampshire farmers’ market scene. Photo courtesy of Fresh Start Farms.

Refugee farmers produce and sell both American and ethnic produce for the New Hampshire farmers’ market scene. Photo courtesy of Fresh Start Farms.

Growing food is a universal need. One nonprofit is leveraging that fact to create a path for immigrants and refugees to transition into a new life in America.

At Fresh Start Farms, a project of the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success (ORIS), immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs participate in the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP). The program has been in operation since 2008, and helps new arrivals to not only establish a food source for their family, but to begin a sustainable small business in their adopted community.

Read More