local food sourcing
The demand for local food continues to grow, often faster than small growers and infrastructure can keep up. That’s why the work of the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) is vital in connecting small farmers to big business in Northwest Washington State.
Founded in 2006, NABC is the brainchild of a group of farmers and politicians who noticed a gap in the small business assistance market. Independent growers running small farms are first and foremost farmers. Brand development, marketing, establishing a customer base and utilizing accounting technology are often unfamiliar and time consuming aspects of the small farm business. NABC provides assistance in these and other areas helping to keep small farms viable.
‘Next Urban Chef’ Program Stresses Importance of Local Food to Detroit Youth, Teams Students with ChefsApril 24, 2013 | Nina Ignaczak
“The food system is literally killing people in communities like Detroit,” says Alison Heeres, 27, coordinator of a program designed to educate and engage youth in the local food movement in the City of Detroit.
Heeres, who works with the University of Michigan Health System teaching nutrition and wellness in schools, has witnessed firsthand the impact of lack of access to and knowledge about fresh, local food in urban communities. So when she was asked to coordinate a program to engage Detroit youth in a high profile project designed to get them thinking about food and nutrition in a new way, she took the opportunity.
The program, Next Urban Chef, is modeled after the wildly popular Next Iron Chef television series, and focuses on youth education and leadership development around local food.
It’s 5 pm on Thursday, milk is running low, and the kids polished off the last of the peanut butter the night before. Working parents everywhere, stuck in traffic, are scrounging for a healthy dinner.
Enter Door to Door Organics, an online organic grocery retailer that delivers fresh, organic groceries at a competitive cost with traditional brick-and-mortar grocers.
The company, which was founded by David Gersenson in 2004 in his 300 square-foot Boulder, Colorado garage, now serves 9 states, operating out of five centralized hubs in Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Missouri.
In many urban areas across the nation, access to fresh, locally grown and produced food is difficult to come by, and South Florida is no exception. Seeing an opportunity to address challenges to local food availability in this area, The Urban Farmer, a Pompano Beach, Fla.-based organization that grows and sources locally grown food, was launched to meet the demands of South Florida residents for locally and sustainably grown food. While The Urban Farmer is still in startup mode, it’s garnering support and keeping afloat because of its founders’ love of educating – and feeding – Floridians awesome, local produce.
I recently got in touch with Stephen Hill, a principal at The Urban Farmer, to find out how and why the organization was founded, how Urban Farmer serves Florida and what the organization has planned for the 2013 season.
Wendy Baroli is a happy farmer. It even says so in her email signature. She’s happy for many reasons including a productive, profitable small farm, a penchant for heritage breeds and her healthy contribution to the planet. But what she seems most happy about is her small farm business model that brings the customers to her, reduces overheads and provides clients a custom farming experience that’s become a way of life.
Baroli comes from a family of farmers, Italian immigrants that farmed organically because they were too poor to do otherwise, but never planned on actually being a farmer. In fact, politician seemed more up her alley. But then she discovered the truth about politics: there’s only so much you can do from the sidelines. She wanted to be the change.
Shopping at Farmers Markets or participating in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) system of picking up weekly produce boxes from a local farm are both great ways to enjoy locally grown produce. But once the growing season is over, generally, so are the Farmers Markets and the CSAs. So, how can people buy local produce and other farm products year-round? From out of this dilemma, the seed for a new business idea was planted.
In 2009, Andrew Adams saw the need in his Bend, OR community to get local, organic foods during the “off season.” So, he decided to fill that niche. He believed that if he created a link between local farms and local folks, people could be supplied with a year-round bounty of fresh, organic foods. Out of this idea, grew Agricultural Connections (AC).
News Release – WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced more than $4.5 million in grants for 68 projects, spanning 37 states and the District of Columbia, to connect school cafeterias with local agricultural producers.
Started more than a year ago by Cousins William and Nathaniel Trienens along with another cofounder, lead developer Gabriel Odess-Gillett, CitySprout is an online social marketplace that was developed to allow communities without easy access to locally grown food, or the population to support a CSA, to more easily connect with local farmers.
The company’s communications director Jesse Mayhew explained that the idea behind CitySprout originated in a discussion about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) between William and a Westport, New York, farmer friend in Lake Champlain where Trienens grew up.
Meet the future of retail grocery shopping: SPUD, which stands for Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery. The company provides you with a means to buy organic, locally sourced, guaranteed-tasty, weekly groceries, without adding a microgram to your carbon footprint.
It’s like your local Farmers Market pulls up stakes and sets up camp on your front lawn, except that you only have to glance at your computer to make your selections, and everything might cost a little bit less. No drive to a crowded market, no aimless search for that elusive parking spot,
News Release – DURHAM, N.H. – Eating local is not just for foodies and high-end restaurants: in New Hampshire, school kids are increasingly getting into the act. A new survey from New Hampshire Farm to School found that the number of New Hampshire farmers providing food to local schools has tripled in the past three years and the variety of food they’re offering has increased.
The report, released today, highlights trends and findings from three years (2009, 2010, 2011) of surveys of New Hampshire farmers and school food service directors conducted by New Hampshire Farm to School (NHFTS).
“For the farmers, this provides another market for them to sell their produce,” says Stacey Purslow, program coordinator for NHFTS, a statewide organization that is housed within the University of New Hampshire’s Sustainability Institute. “And for the schools, it’s an opportunity to get fresh and local produce. Buying directly from the farmer, there’s a freshness and flavor difference. The food tastes better.” Purslow adds that better tasting fruits and vegetables are more likely to pass muster with students.
In addition to providing a haven for economical foodies in southern California, quick casual restaurant Tender Greens is working to play another important role in the community through its Sustainable Life Project (SLP). Starting in just a couple of weeks, SLP will train groups of young adults transitioning out of foster care in fields ranging from agriculture to culinary arts. The program aims to cultivate in them an “appreciation not only for the taste of organic produce, but also in its potential as a career path,” by helping participants develop the interest, skills and confidence to successfully pursue higher education or careers related to sustainable food.
Emphasizing Local Farm Ingredients, Craft of Cooking, Fast-Growing SoCal Restaurant Chain Stays True to RootsSeptember 9, 2012 | Melinda Clark
For Erik Oberholtzer, cooking and eating high quality, local, sustainably produced foods is “part of his DNA.” Oberholtzer co-founded Tender Greens, a rapidly-growing “slow food done fast” restaurant chain that serves affordable, sustainable, delicious meals across southern California. With big plans for growth in the works, Tender Greens faces the difficult, but exciting challenge of staying true to its roots while expanding across the state.
After culinary school and an impressive career as an executive chef at luxury resorts in Hawaii and San Francisco, Oberholtzer ended up in Los Angeles, where he met business partners Matt Lyman and David Dressler. The three of them decided it was time to venture out on their own – and they were very aware of a niche that needed filling.
“Tender Greens was a reaction to the lack of really good affordable causal options in Santa Monica,” says Oberholtzer.