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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local food sourcing

California Food Hub Innovates by Decentralizing Distribution

July 7, 2015 |
Image courtesy of MendoLake Food Hub

Image courtesy of MendoLake Food Hub

Just north of San Francisco, Mendocino and Lake counties in California are full of small to medium-sized farmers. Many of them sell at local farmers’ markets.

But John Bailey noticed that the time and money many farmers spend just getting their crops to market can make a substantial dent in profits.

“They spend lots of money going to farmers’ markets, but do not earn a profit from farmers’ markets,” says Bailey. “Lots of farmers have no idea how to sell wholesale.” Read More

Inside the Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index: Oregon

July 5, 2015 |
Minto Island Growers. Image courtesy of Oregon Tilth

Minto Island Growers.
Image courtesy of Oregon Tilth

by Traci Knight

This piece is part of a series exploring the top 10 states in the Strolling of the Heifers 2015 Locavore Index.

Oregon keeps climbing the locavore index according to data compiled in Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local food advocacy group. Moving from number 14 in 2012 to number 4 in 2015, Oregon is showing a clear commitment to strengthening its regional food system. Chris Schreiner, Executive Director of Oregon Tilth, an organic certification and advocacy agency, helps identify some of the ways that the state has worked to build it’s sustainable, organic and local food network. Read More

Alaska Marine Conservation Council Sustains Local Food in Coastal Communities

June 17, 2015 |
Courtesy of the AMCC

Courtesy of the AMCC

The Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC) addresses infrastructure and population challenges in the nation’s last frontier in an effort to localize Alaska’s food system.

Founded in 1994, the AMCC works hard to ensure the economics of Alaska’s most bountiful natural resources, its marine life and coastal communities. Read More

CSAs, Food Hubs, and Farm-to-School Programs Earn Maine No. 2 Spot in Locavore Index

June 8, 2015 |
Maine, which ranks No. 4 on the Locavore Index, has over 125 farmers’ markets serving delicious and colorful produce. (photo courtesy of John Bott/Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry)

Maine, which ranks No. 2 on the Locavore Index, has over 125 farmers’ markets serving delicious and colorful produce. (photo courtesy of John Bott/Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry)

Maine is a great destination for locally-sourced food, as evidenced by its strong showing in the latest Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index. In 2015, the state ranked No. 2, a spot it has held since 2013.

“The purpose of the Index is to stimulate efforts across the country to use more local food in homes, restaurants, schools and institutions,” says Orly Munzing, founder and executive director of Strolling of the Heifers. Read More

Kansas Task Force Seeks to Strengthen Local Food in a Big Ag State

June 3, 2015 |

 

Vendors at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market make a sale. Like other states, Kansas has seen a boom in the number and popularity of farmers’ markets in recent years. Image courtesy of Overland Park Farmers' Market/ Jason Ebberts with TBL Photography.

Vendors at the Overland Park Farmers’ Market make a sale. Like other states, Kansas has seen a boom in the number and popularity of farmers’ markets in recent years. Image courtesy of Overland Park Farmers’ Market/ Jason Ebberts with TBL Photography.

A group of farmers, horticultural experts and politicians from both sides of the aisle have come together to learn about local food in Kansas.

The seven-member Local Food and Farm Task Force, established by Kansas Senate Bill 286, will prepare a report of their findings along with policy and funding recommendations for January 2016 session of the Kansas legislature. Monthly meetings started this past November and will continue through December 2015.

The task force includes a horticultural expert from Kansas State University’s extension system, a Republican and a Democrat selected by their respective party’s legislative leadership, a member from the Kansas Department of Agriculture and three member appointed by the governor—including the chairman, Ron Brown, who is a family farmer and executive board member of the National Association of Conservation Districts.

Kerry Wefald, Agriculture Marketing Director at the Kansas Department of Agriculture, attends task force meetings as a member of the administrative support team. According to Wefald, the current focus of the task force is to get an idea of what gaps exist in the state food system. Read More

Inside the Strolling of the Heifers 2015 Locavore Index: Wisconsin

May 10, 2015 |
 Eldeberry Hill Farm Credit: REAP Food Group for both

Elderberry Hill Farm
Credit: REAP Food Group for both

This piece is part of a series exploring the top 10 states in the Strolling of the Heifers 2015 Locavore Index.

Wisconsin was a forward-thinking sustainable agriculture state before the local food movement was “on trend.” Seedstock had the opportunity to interview three people who are at the head of the state’s local food movement. Each person told us a unique story about how deeply Wisconsin’s sustainable roots have grown.

Wisconsin: At the Forefront of Sustainable Agriculture Education

Valerie Dantoin, a faculty member of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Associate Degree Program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, in Green Bay, Wis., has a master’s degree in agronomy. While she was working on her Ph.D., she met Rick Adamski, a farmer. Upon meeting Adamski, Dantoin “switched gears” and ended up moving to Podanski’s 100-year-old family dairy farm and embraced the farming lifestyle. Read More

Nonprofit Connects Local Food System, Justice Dots in Brattleboro, Vermont

March 26, 2015 |
Courtesy of Windham Farm and Food.

Courtesy of Windham Farm and Food.

Since its start in 2005, Brattleboro, Vermont-based Post Oil Solutions has focused on the issues surrounding climate change. Along the way, the community development group incubated two companies: Food Connects and Windham Farm and Food. In February of 2015, the two startups merged.

“Food justice and food systems are naturally related issues, so we began doing some programming around community food security,” says Helen Rortvedt, communications director of Food Connects. “A local food hub was created and housed under Post Oil Solutions for a couple of years then set free to become its own limited liability corporation.  That organization is Windham Farm and Food, LLC.” Read More

Missouri Council Finds Strengths, Weaknesses in Ozarks Local Food System

March 17, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council.

Photo courtesy of Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council.

What makes a local food system?

That’s what the Ozarks Regional Food Policy Council set out to discover through their food system assessment for the 20 counties surrounding Springfield, Missouri.

Their findings show the strengths and weaknesses of the local food economy. The process also, brought together stakeholders from across the state to move the local food system forward.  They determined a need to build more food hub facilities, while giving small growers the business resources to move their company forward. Read More