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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local and regional distribution

City of Lexington, Kentucky Hires Former Aid to First Lady as First Local Food Coordinator

September 15, 2014 |

Ashton Potter Wright

The City of Lexington, Kentucky has initiated a new local foods program as part of its economic development efforts.

Tapped to manage this new initiative is Lexington native Ashton Potter Wright, who has served as local food coordinator for Mayor Jim Gray’s office since the first week of June.

Wright previously served as operations manager of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Child Care campaign, where she was able to network with people from around the country. She holds a doctorate in public health from the University of Kentucky and worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also serves as president of the board for Lexington-based Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.

“The position was in the works for three years or so,” says Wright. “It’s modeled after a similar position in Louisville, Kentucky.”  Her territory includes not only Lexington, but also Lexington’s county, Fayette County.  Read More

Atlanta Startup Brings Hyperlocal Hydroponics Across the Globe

July 1, 2014 |
Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

“The reality is that there is just less water available for agriculture than there’s ever been. As you look to the future, the amount of food production that’s needed and the amount of water we’ll have to do it, is going to require that we grow the food with less water than we do today.”–Matt Liotta, PodPonics

Selling their tubs of mixed greens wholesale to major retailers such as Krogers, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, PodPonics has become a name to know in the world of commercial-scale hydroponic produce. Read More

San Francisco Startup Reboots, Partners with Meat Producers to Bring Healthy Products Directly to Consumers

April 29, 2014 |
Image courtesy of AgLocal

Image courtesy of AgLocal

Naithan Jones started San Francisco-based AgLocal in 2011 with the idea to create a web application linking consumers directly to small-to-medium-sized farmers producing sustainably grown meat. After a brief detour selling meat mostly to chefs and distributors, Jones steered his company back to its original mission, direct-to-consumer sales, and re-launched the website last Wednesday, to achieve that end.

AgLocal “2.0” connects consumers with sustainably grown meats and educate them about the benefits of such products to their health, the animals, and the environment. The smartphone app will not be developed for a while, and the website launch is in a “first phase” for customers along the west coast and regions close by. Read More

Chicago Startup Offers Healthy, Organic Foods in Vending Machines

April 4, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Farmer's Fridge

Photo courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge

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. Read More

New Initiative Seeks to Advance Farm-to-Institution Procurement in Michigan

March 17, 2014 |

postIncreasingly, food service directors and purchasing officers in schools, hospitals, and other institutions are being tasked with the mission of finding local producers of the food items they buy on a regular basis.  They are doing this to support regional food systems, local economies, and the health of their constituents. Read More

California Organization Takes on an Ambitious Goal: Restructuring the Entire Food System

December 26, 2013 |
Food Commons Atlanta Source: The Food Commons

Food Commons Atlanta
Source: The Food Commons

Across the country, small-scale local and sustainable food enterprises are emerging: urban farms, food hubs, community gardens, and more. All of these operations, however small, help create a new, more localized agricultural paradigm. But in order to overhaul our entire food system, President and Co-founder of The Food Commons Larry Yee says we need to think much bigger.

“Our overall objective is to demonstrate a whole new food system for local and regional food,” said Yee. “I don’t know of anyone else who is actually trying to create a whole system with all the necessary infrastructure for a highly effective, efficient local food system. There are people who are working on pieces of it, but we were crazy enough to try to tackle the whole thing.” Read More

Attendees of Two-day Seedstock Conference at UCLA Affirm Promise of Sustainable Agriculture Future

November 7, 2013 |
Attendees touring Houweling's Tomatoes on day one of the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference.

Attendees touring Houweling’s Tomatoes on day one of the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference.

From new farmers, aquaponicists and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs to urban farming pioneers, microloan providers and crowdfunding evangelists, yesterday’s 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation conference at UCLA Anderson School of Management provided clear evidence pointing to the desire, will and motivation to develop economically viable and sustainable farming solutions to insure that the food system of the future not only survives, but thrives.

The two-day event, which drew an audience of nearly 250 from as far afield as New Zealand, Mexico and Korea, kicked off on November 5 with a sustainable farm field trip to Houweling’s Tomatoes in Camarillo where attendees were treated to an in-depth tour of the company’s sustainable 125-acre hydroponic greenhouse. Following the tour of Houweling’s, attendees headed over to McGrath Family Farms for a farm-to-table lunch provided by Chef/farmer Adam Navidi of Green2GO Restaurant Market. Following the lunch, farmer Phil McGrath gave the attendees a tour of his 5th generation organic farm and explained how he has used sustainable growing practices and direct marketing to remain economically viable. One of McGrath’s keys to farming successfully: “Grow a huge diversity of things and grow in season.” Read More

At Urban Rural Nexus, Food Distributor in Colorado Makes Connections that Grow the Local Food Marketplace

September 24, 2013 |

summer fall 500 croppedTo Elizabeth Mozer, owner/operator of Loco Foods distribution in Ft. Collins, Colorado, it’s all about connections.

Back when she was running the Lyric Cinema Café, she made a conscious choice to make sure her café was stocked with the same kinds of foods she would pack for her children’s lunches – something fresh, healthful and, most importantly, local.

“We were sort of a glorified concession stand,” Mozer said. “But we believe in supporting our local farmers. And where we’re located, somewhere between urban and rural, you can find a lot of farms.” Read More