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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Sneak Peek: Seedstock Conference Panel on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Investment in Local Food

October 29, 2014 |
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The movement to grow the proportion of local food on our plates is gaining momentum across the nation.

But progress is uneven. While 89 percent of Vermont schools engage in some type of local food program, only 44 percent do so nationally, according to USDA. Large food service providers and institutions are, for the most part, still getting their food from the big guys. The military, one of the largest food markets in the country, gets most of its food from large agribusiness, according to the New York Times.

The demand is there. As compared with the 2007 USDA Agricultural Census, the current 2012 Census shows an increase of 8 percent for the number of farms selling directly to consumers and 5 percent for the sales in dollars of directly marketed agricultural products.

The challenge for innovators, entrepreneurs and growers is securing the investment necessary to start and grow their companies in order to meet this market demand.

Seedstock’s upcoming “Reintegrating Agriculture: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” Conference on November 12, 2014 at UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, CA will look at the innovations and business models that have the potential to help expand local and regional food systems as well as the funding routes that entrepreneurs and new growers can take to start and grow their operations.

The discussion will be led by moderator Wilton Risenhoover of the UCLA Venture Fund and feature expert panelists Nicola Kerslake of New Bean Capital, Rob Trice of Better Food Ventures and The Mixing Bowl, and Robert TSE of USDA Rural Development. Read More

Seedstock 3rd Annual Sustainable Ag Innovation Conference Packs Punch with Stellar Slate of Expert Speakers

September 16, 2014 |
speakers seedstock conference

Top Row (left to right): Clare Fox, Los Angeles Food Policy Council; A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Nurit Katz, UCLA Sustainability. Bottom row (left to right): Michel Algazi, Freshology and Food Centricity; Sasha Kanno, Long Beach Local and Farm Lot 59; Rickey Smith, Urban Green.

Local food policy, urban agriculture strategy, and business model innovation are just a sample of the informative fare to be served up at the 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”

The comprehensive, expert-rich program, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11-12, at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food infrastructure. Participants from local food policy experts and urban agriculture entrepreneurs to investors and thought leaders in the sustainable agriculture industry will explore new approaches to strengthen the marketplace for local food and foster the revitalization of urban areas by embracing innovation in sustainable agriculture. Read More

Youth 20 Summit: Sustainable Entrepreneurship Top of Mind for Global Youth

July 15, 2014 |

posty20-+-g20-SummitEdward Silva is a student at the University of California, Davis studying international agriculture, and is a founder of Henlight.

Recently, I experienced something that does not seem to happen often: over 120 youth from more than 20 countries around the world actually came to a consensus that entrepreneurship is the most overarching issue affecting youth globally. More specifically, entrepreneurship as it relates to food and agriculture. This overwhelming validation for agripreneurs is the result of a larger global experiment called the Y20 and signals a hopeful future for food and agricultural entrepreneurs globally. Read More

Michigan Diversifies Economy With Food Innovation Districts

May 1, 2014 |
Farmer’s market setup in Battle Creek, MI Photos courtesy of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments

Farmer’s market setup in Battle Creek, MI
Photos courtesy of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments

Michigan has undergone an economic transformation in the last few years, diversifying from its historic role as an industrial center and emerging as a leader in the sustainable agriculture and local food sector.

One way the state is diversifying is through Food Innovation Districts,  one of the tools proposed in Michigan’s Good Food Charter. The Charter, compiled between 2009 and 2010, was created in the wake of the economic downturn and provides goals for Michigan to help establish viable regional economies and communities.

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Seedstock’s “Grow Riverside” Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nears Discounted Registration Deadline

January 9, 2014 |

grow riverside speakersRIVERSIDE, CA– Little more than a week remains to obtain discounted registration for the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” Conference (http://growriverside.com).  The event, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, at the Riverside Convention Center, will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots and unite citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders around the economic opportunities that can result from employing sustainable agriculture. Read More

Planning App Takes Guesswork Out of Small-Scale Urban Gardening

January 8, 2014 |
Image Courtesy of GrowVeg.com

Image Courtesy of GrowVeg.com

Jeremy Dore was banking on the idea that everyone can use a little help when it comes to planning next year’s garden when he came up with the idea for the Garden Planner app.

The idea for the app was sparked when he and his family started growing more of their own food in 2005. Read More

Organic Farm School Teaches Tomorrow’s Farmers Everything from Soil to Sales

December 18, 2013 |
Source: Greenbank Farm

Source: Greenbank Farm

In 2008, Greenbank Farm  established its Organic Farm School to teach sustainable agricultural methods to students from all walks of life. The farm, located on Greenbank, Washington’s Whidbey Island, teaches agriculture methods and emphasizes how to manage a farm as a viable business.

Farm manager and instructor Jessica Babcock says the Farm School’s emphasis on business management is what sets it apart from other organic agricultural training programs.

“Each student leaves the program with an extensive business plan they have written that they can use to start their own sustainable farm business,” says Babcock. Read More

Urban Farming Startup Sees Opportunity in Aeroponic Tower to Increase Local Food Production in New Orleans

December 16, 2013 |
Image Credit: VertiFarms

Image Credit: VertiFarms

Fresh produce in New Orleans usually arrives from places like California or Florida. One company wants to change that.

Vertifarms began providing aeroponic farms for New Orleans food businesses in 2011, when company co-founders Doug Jacobs and Kevin Morgan-Rothschild began partnering with Florida-based FutureGrowing to bring aeroponic tower systems to restaurants, markets, grocery stores, and non-profit organizations that want to grow their own local crops.

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