One of the greatest problems confronting farmers today is how to control plant disease and pests while minimizing environmental impact and remaining profitable. When synthetic chemical pesticides were first developed in the early 20th century, they were embraced as a less harmful solution to the highly toxic inorganic chemicals (sulfur, lead and arsenic) that humans had been using to kill insects on their crops for the past 4,500 years. However, evidence pointing to the environmental damage and adverse human health effects caused by the synthetic chemical pesticides that fueled the Green Revolution continues to mount.
AgraQuest, a biotechnology company that develops biological and low-chemical pest management products, believes that it has the solution: Biopesticides.
Venture investment in agriculture startup companies is not yet commonplace, but J.M. “Jim” Schultz, Founder and Managing Partner at Effingham, Illinois-based Open Prairie Ventures, believes wholeheartedly that it soon will be. So as to be a front runner and not a follower, in 2008, Open Prairie Venture’s launched one of the first early stage venture capital funds (OPV II, LP) to invest primarily in agriculture technology startups.
In fact, there’s an entire system – including a smartphone application – developed by ClimateMinder, a Glendale, California based startup company, that enables growers to wirelessly monitor environmental conditions in both greenhouses and open fields.
(updated 04/11/12) As the push to “go green” in urban architecture has intensified over the past decade, so-called green roofs and green walls have gained in popularity. These vegetation-covered walls and roofs can reduce cooling costs, mitigate air pollution and add beauty to the neighborhood.
But the promise of green walls goes beyond just looking cool and staying cool. Green Living Technologies International, LLC (GLTi) is exploring how these architectural innovations might actually meet our growing need for food and inspire a new wave of urban sustainable agriculture.
Seedstock is always interested in learning more about who’s out there starting companies in the sustainable agriculture space. Today we were fortunate enough to speak with Seth Burns, CEO of San Diego, CA based Biogas & Electric LLC.
Burns is a fourth generation cattle rancher with an MBA who hails from Big Timber, Montana and possesses firsthand knowledge of the potential for biogas, (the gas produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter such as livestock waste in the absence of oxygen), to promote sustainable agriculture.