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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Posts By Trish Popovitch

10 Reasons Vermont Deserves to Lead the Strolling of the Heifers’ 2015 Locavore Index

May 17, 2015 |
Burlington City Hall Farmer’s Market by Church Street Marketplace

Burlington City Hall Farmer’s Market by Church Street Marketplace

This piece is part of a series exploring the top 10 states in the Strolling of the Heifers’ 2015 Locavore Index.

It’s hardly surprising with all the great things going on there, that Vermont comes in first place in the 2015 Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index. When community gardens were still just a seed catalog and a dream for many around the nation, Vermont was building on firmly established sustainable ground. Read More

Pitt Students Plan Urban Ag Law Firm in the Iron City

May 17, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Trellis

Photo courtesy of Trellis

“I think it’s inspiring how much Pittsburgh has changed even in the last ten years,” says Jaclyn Clifford of Trellis, a Pittsburgh-based sustainable policy and ag business legal firm. “It’s incredible how the city’s not only growing in terms of population and jobs, but people are really starting to become more environmentally aware.”

Marlene van Es and Jaclyn Clifford are launching their sustainable law business before finishing law school. Along with their communications officer, Sarah Abboud,  they will  offer a monthly subscription fee system and focus on urban agriculture in the city. The bar exam is set for July, and Trellis will open its doors in August 2015. Read More

The Little Library That Could: Advocates Change Seed Exchange Laws in Minnesota

May 3, 2015 |

seed bannerMinnesota’s first public seed library, held at the Duluth Public Library, came to the attention of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture after the story was picked up by the Associated Press in late 2014. But not in a good way. Read More

Group Tracks Impact of Food Hubs and Social Networks in Iowa Food System

April 26, 2015 |
Health Harvest of North Iowa covers a nine county region and is focused on local food production. Image courtesy of Healthy Harvest.

Health Harvest of North Iowa covers a nine county region and is focused on local food production. Image courtesy of Healthy Harvest.

How do you measure the strength of a local food system?

Healthy Harvest of North Iowa is a network of community stakeholders, growers and consumers covering nine counties in northern Iowa with a focus on promoting sustainability in the food system.

The nonprofit recently contributed in a statewide impact survey conducted by the Regional Food Systems Working Group of Iowa. The survey measured the current state of local food in Iowa as well as possible solutions to improve its reach.

“It takes that personal relationship and that’s really what the whole report is based on. In terms of us trying to leverage more resources to help promote local food work this information is very important,” says Jan Libbey, administrator for Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. “So we have tools that we can go to our decision making bodies and our funders in our region and say get on board, this is important stuff. And it is making a difference to our area,” says Libbey. Read More

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