Press release – WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Microsoft officials today announced the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge, in which contestants used USDA agriculture production open data to develop online tools that can help make the American food supply more resilient in the face of climate change.
“In yet another example of how public and private resources can be leveraged together to address significant global concerns, the winners of the USDA-Microsoft Innovation Challenge have used open government data to create an impressive array of innovative tools to help food producers and our communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and ensure our nation’s ability to provide plentiful, affordable food,” said Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. “For more than 100 years, USDA has compiled data on the farm economy, production, and the health of crops around the country, and it is exciting to see such modern, useful tools spring from these information sources.”
The Seattle direct-to-consumer marketplace Farmstr, which launched in 2013, is no more.
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough for us to justify a large next round in order to compete with the very well-funded competition,” founder Janelle Maiocco told BizJournals.com in February.
But on March 15, 2015, Maiocco launched Barn2Door. Maiocco, who was followed to Barn2Door by several of her former Farmstr colleagues, will apply lessons learned from her time at the helm of Farmstr to her new business venture.
Imagine going into a store and picking out your dinner by literally pulling it up by the roots. Sound farfetched? It’s not. In fact, it’s the behind a North Carolina-based venture called the Farmery.
The project is an effort to blend the convenience of a retail grocery store and cafe with the freshness of an indoor urban farming system operation.
Several prototypes of the system are already up and running, and the Farmery team is now in final talks with investors to get a two-story, 16,000-square-foot version operational by fall of 2015, most likely in North Carolina.
Most, if not all, gardeners have experienced frustration over the amount of waste involved with gardening. Examples include unused soil, dead plants and compulsive purchases that don’t take root.
Wanting to address this problem, hobby gardener and computer science engineer Nicolas Cadilhac of Montreal, Quebec decided to mix his information technology acumen and love for gardening by creating a web site that would match gardeners to a surplus of unwanted plants and other garden materials. Thus in 2012, Cadilhac launched PlantCatching.
Durham, North Carolina-based Bella Bean Organics specializes in fresh, locally-grown, sustainable and organic food via an online farmers’ market and food hub. The company recently expanded its operations, and is now extending deliveries to customers throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Owned by entrepreneurial farmers Richard Holcomb and Jamie DeMent, Bella Bean Organics supplies its customers with produce, meats, eggs and artisan specialty foods. The duo also owns Coon Rock Farm http://coonrockfarm.com in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The 55-acre farm supplies produce, meat and eggs to Bella Bean, in addition to more than 500 CSA customers, 5 farmers’ markets and Piedmont www.piedmontrestaurant.com, Holcomb and DeMent’s farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Durham.
In early March, 2014, Raleigh-based food processing technology company Aseptia secured $28 million in Series C-Preferred Stock financing to support the growth of Wright Foods Inc., the manufacturing subsidiary of Aseptia. Lookout Capital, SJF Ventures, Prudential, and F.B. Heron Foundation provided the financing.
As a leading aseptic food manufacturer, Aseptia has developed an aseptic, sustainable, shelf-stable carton that can maintain a higher-quality food product, according to Michael Drozd, president and CEO of Wright Foods. The packaging can be found in most every grocery store.
As a traveling salesman, Luke Saunders knew first hand just how hard it can be to find fresh food on the go.
“I was the person who would pick up prepared food for the road because I knew that when I got there, there wouldn’t be good options,” he says. “If I ever got to a place and I had forgotten to plan ahead, the options were limited for healthy food.”
His solution? Farmer’s Fridge: vending machines stocked with fresh, healthy salads and snacks.
In a world filled with contaminated food outbreaks, low-quality fresh produce at the grocery stores and an emerging class of sustainable producers, the time to improve fresh food logistics is now upon us.
That’s why innovative and award-winning minds at Infratab Inc., incorporated in 2002 and headquartered in Oxnard, California, have spent years researching how to keep food fresh from field to consumer. The company offers small farmers, produce truck fleet owners and farmers’ markets Freshtime, a perishable food monitoring system at an affordable price.