Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

Scroll to top

Top

Agriculture Research

How Do We Reshape Our American Food System? A Q&A With Union of Concerned Scientists’ Ricardo Salvador

September 30, 2014 |
Ricardo Salvador was the first professor to teach a course in sustainable agriculture at a land grant university. Now, he is the director of the Food & Environment Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists. (photo courtesy of Sarah Goldberg/Union of Concerned Scientists)

Ricardo Salvador was the first professor to teach a course in sustainable agriculture at a land grant university. Now, he is the director of the Food & Environment Program for the Union of Concerned Scientists. (photo courtesy of Sarah Goldberg/Union of Concerned Scientists)

Ricardo Salvador is the director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food & Environment Program. He believes agricultural systems must change for the health of the Earth and its inhabitants, and was the first professor to teach about sustainable agriculture at a land grant university at Iowa State. 

Seedstock had the opportunity to speak with Salvador about the future of agriculture, the role of land-grant universities, and the developing science of “agro-ecology”. 

Seedstock: For years, our nation’s land-grant universities have focused on crop yields and profitability. How do leading agricultural research universities need to shift their energies to adapt to a rapidly evolving agricultural industry? Read More

Take the Seedstock Hydroponic Growers Survey Now!

September 18, 2014 |

hydroponic survey pictureAre you an indoor grower utilizing a hydroponic, aquaponic or aeroponic growing system?

If so, you should really take our survey. It will take you about 5 MINUTES and for your efforts we will provide you with a with a complimentary summary of the aggregated results. The information that you submit will be anonymized. 

Survey Link: http://bit.ly/1rg7IEZ

Seedstock is in the process of conducting a survey to obtain information and data from existing growers about the Indoor Agriculture sector inclusive of hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic growing operations and more.
Read More

UCLA Student Researchers Complete First Comprehensive Look at Urban Agriculture in Los Angeles County

August 16, 2013 |

urban agricultureNews Release – A group of graduate students in urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has created the first comprehensive picture of urban agriculture in Los Angeles County.

While farming has long been the domain of rural landscapes, increasing interest in the local-food movement, healthy eating and sustainable cities has sparked the growth of farming in urban environments. The new report, “Cultivate L.A.: An Assessment of Urban Agriculture in L.A. County,” is intended to aid city planners as they learn how to accommodate these new land uses in the nation’s most populous county. Read More

Arizona Researchers to Compile First Ever High Resolution Global Cropland Map

August 13, 2013 |

Irrigated crop fields show up as red boxes on this satellite image of the Sonoran Desert. Image Credit: Northern Arizona University.

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers scattered around the country is gearing up to piece together the world’s first high-resolution map of global croplands, in a cross-institutional collaboration. The team’s goal is to answer the question, “Where is all of our food going to come from when global population reaches 9 billion people?” Researchers hope that having a detailed picture of what’s happening with croplands around the world will help to inform the net effect of regional demographic and geological changes. Piecing together that accurate of a map will likely take five years, $3.5 million (funded by NASA), computation of thousands of satellite images, and collaboration with crop experts all over the globe. Read More

Study Identifies Several Contributing Factors in Honeybee Colony Collapse

August 8, 2013 |

1373309_honey_beeResearchers at the University of Maryland and the USDA uncovered several links in the chain of factors contributing to massive honeybee losses seen around the country.

Beekeepers have been reporting entire hive losses since 2006, when the media dubbed the phenomenon Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Several studies have pointed to poor nutrition, pesticide, pests, and pathogens; however, no single smoking gun has emerged. Read More

Startup Co. Recruits Beneficial Microbes to Boost Stress Tolerance in Crops

June 17, 2013 |

adaptive symbiotic systemsHave you ever wondered how some plants are able to endure the most extreme conditions from the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park to the high altitudes of Mt. Everest? It turns out that many of these plants likely owe their survival to symbiotic fungi that make themselves at home within the plants tissues. Microbiologist Russell (Rusty) Rodriguez and geneticist Regina Redman of Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies in Seattle, Washington are trying to foster similar relationships between fungus and plants in agriculture in hopes of improving drought and salinity tolerance, promoting temperature resistance, and boosting nutrient content.

The husband and wife team first discovered a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and a plant by chance while studying plants that grow in different soils in Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s. Rodriguez was collecting data for the U. S. Geological Survey where he worked as a principle investigator and microbiologist. Redman was conducting her own research while working as a research professor in the State University of Montana’s microbiology department. Read More

Vertical Farming Venture Achieves Sustainability and Success in New Buffalo, Michigan

June 10, 2013 |
Basil and Lettuce, neighbors in different vertical growing systems at Green Spirit Farms. Photo credit: Green Spirit Farms.

Basil and Lettuce, neighbors in different vertical growing systems at Green Spirit Farms. Photo credit: Green Spirit Farms.

According to Green Spirit Farms‘ Research and Development Manager Daniel Kluko, the future of farming is heading in one clear direction: vertical. “If we want to feed hungry people this is how we need to farm,” said Kluko.

Kluko believes that vertical farming offers a very important benefit in today’s world of scarce land and resources— the potential for unparalleled plant density. After all, how else can a farmer grow 27 heads of lettuce in one square foot of growing space?

Green Spirit Farms was started by Daniel’s father Milan Kluko under his engineering company Fountainhead Engineering LTD. The idea for the farm emerged while the company was evaluating indoor, urban farm models in North America for a non-profit client—a process which piqued Milan Kluko’s interest about the viability of a vertical farming operation. Read More

Union of Concerned Scientists Urges Policy Makers to Open the Door for Healthy Farms

May 28, 2013 |

union of concerned scientist food and agricultureIndustrialized agriculture pollutes water, land, and soil; harms natural wildlife habitats; threatens natural resources, all while still leaving a billion people hungry around the world, charged a new policy brief by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit science advocacy organization with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “American agriculture is at a crossroads: a point where we can either apply our scientific knowledge to create a vibrant and healthful food and farming system for the future, or double down on an outdated model of agriculture that is rapidly undermining our environment and our health,” the brief began.

While grassroots movements around the country have pushed back against industrialized agriculture for decades, the science has only recently caught up to the sentiment, said Doug Gurian-Sherman, plant pathologist and senior scientist for the Food and Environment Program at UCS. Read More