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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Vanessa Caceres

With Mix of Passion and Resourcefulness, Urban Farmer Overcomes Challenges of Growing in City

August 31, 2016 |
David Newman, founder of Ripe City Urban Farm in Tallahassee, Florida. Photo Credit: Ripe City Farm.

David Newman, founder of Ripe City Urban Farm in Tallahassee, Florida. Photo Credit: Ripe City Farm.

Farming is never an easy job, and if you’re running a for-profit urban farm the challenges only grow.

Usually, you’re farming on a plot of land that is a mere fingernail-sized portion of what you might farm out in the country. The land you’re farming on may be in flux, perhaps a temporary lease. Its soil might require extensive remediation. And then there are the zoning questions that many city officials aren’t sure how to handle, leaving it unclear what you may or may not be allowed to do on the land.

David Newman of Ripe City Urban Farm in Tallahassee, Florida, nevertheless saw the potential of urban farming and the corresponding demand for local food as too great to let such challenges stand in his way. Read More

Avid Gardener’s Aquaponics Hobby Evolves into Commercial and Educational Enterprise

August 23, 2016 |
Helga Tan Fellows founder of gyo greens aquaponics florida

Helga Tan Fellows, founder of Ponte Vedra, Florida-based aquaponics farm Gyo Greens. Photo courtesy of Gyo Greens.

Aquaponics farms often amaze visitors with the symbiotic connection between aquaculture and hydroponics that results in picture-perfect produce. Yet many aquaponics operations focus solely on training and education. Gyo Greens in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, has a focus on both the business and educational realm, to further spread the message about the importance of eating locally and naturally.

Owner Helga Tan Fellows, who spent much of her career in engineering and manufacturing, began Gyo Greens after traveling frequently for her job and seeing aquaponics operations elsewhere. An avid gardener, she thought aquaponics could be a fun hobby—yet her husband said it would probably be a bigger undertaking than just a hobby. Read More

Women in Food: Camas Davis of Portland Meat Collective Preaches Virtues of Responsible Meat Eating

August 4, 2016 |
camas davis whole animal butchery portland meat collective photo credit shawn linehan

Camas Davis runs the Portland Meat Collective, which offers classes in meat preparation and seeks to inspire responsible meat production through experiential education. Photo Credit: Shawn Linehan.

In her quest to educate others on how to prepare and enjoy meat, Camas Davis of Portland, Oregon, seeks to change eating habits and help people see, and taste, the benefits of the whole animal.

“We’ve lost our knowledge of how to cook meat, and many people don’t know that all of meat is edible. We want to shift the way that people think about what’s edible, and we want to change habits,” Davis says.

A former food writer and magazine editor, Davis now leads the Portland Meat Collective, which has offered classes in meat preparation since 2010.

“Our main goal is to inspire responsible meat production with experiential education,” she says. The collective advocates meat slaughter that’s humane and transparent—no mystery meat here. Use of the whole animal means less meat goes to waste, and informed eaters have a better understanding of what they’re eating. Read More