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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local food systems

10 Reasons Vermont Deserves to Lead the Strolling of the Heifers’ 2015 Locavore Index

May 17, 2015 |
Burlington City Hall Farmer’s Market by Church Street Marketplace

Burlington City Hall Farmer’s Market by Church Street Marketplace

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

It’s hardly surprising with all the great things going on there, that Vermont comes in first place in the 2015 Strolling of the Heifers Locavore Index. When community gardens were still just a seed catalog and a dream for many around the nation, Vermont was building on firmly established sustainable ground. 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

USDA Report Shows Increase in Activity of Local and Regional Food Systems

May 10, 2015 |

post_usdalogoThe United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service recently published a report on the breadth of local and regional food systems, as well as current trends.

In 2012, 163,675 farmers sold a total of about $6.1 billion worth of locally marketed food, states the report. Also according to the report, 7.8 percent of U.S. farms sell local foods, which represents 1.5 percent of the total value of agricultural production in the U.S.

Read More

Under Mayor’s Lead, Maine Town Takes Action Toward Food System Improvement

May 10, 2015 |
Locally-grown carrots from a farmers’ market in Portland, Maine.   Source: City of Portland, Maine

Locally-grown carrots from a farmers’ market in Portland, Maine.
Source: City of Portland, Maine

by Julianne Tveten

If there’s one unifying theme in the city of Portland, Maine, it’s food.

The city has one of the highest restaurant-per-capita rates in the United States. Situated on the Atlantic Coast, it harbors an intimate familiarity with edible seaweed, fish, and crustaceans. And, perhaps most important, it’s home to a growing local food movement, involving everyone from co-op founders to City Hall.

Situated on the Atlantic Coast, it harbors an intimate familiarity with edible seaweed, fish, and crustaceans. And, perhaps most important, it’s home to a growing local food movement, involving everyone from co-op founders to City Hall. Read More

Group Tracks Impact of Food Hubs and Social Networks in Iowa Food System

April 26, 2015 |
Health Harvest of North Iowa covers a nine county region and is focused on local food production. Image courtesy of Healthy Harvest.

Health Harvest of North Iowa covers a nine county region and is focused on local food production. Image courtesy of Healthy Harvest.

How do you measure the strength of a local food system?

Healthy Harvest of North Iowa is a network of community stakeholders, growers and consumers covering nine counties in northern Iowa with a focus on promoting sustainability in the food system.

The nonprofit recently contributed in a statewide impact survey conducted by the Regional Food Systems Working Group of Iowa. The survey measured the current state of local food in Iowa as well as possible solutions to improve its reach.

“It takes that personal relationship and that’s really what the whole report is based on. In terms of us trying to leverage more resources to help promote local food work this information is very important,” says Jan Libbey, administrator for Healthy Harvest of North Iowa. “So we have tools that we can go to our decision making bodies and our funders in our region and say get on board, this is important stuff. And it is making a difference to our area,” says Libbey. Read More

Michigan Food Innovation Hub Fosters Collaboration between Local Food Producers

April 22, 2015 |
Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Local food producers in Northwest Michigan are entering an era of collaboration thanks to the emergence of the Grand Traverse Food Innovation Hub. The food hub is an important step toward a more connected and cooperative local food community in the region and is in the early stages of bringing diverse local food companies together to share a workspace and possibly more, if everything goes according to plan. Read More

Barn2Door Looks to Apply Farmstr Lessons, Connect Farmers and Buyers Nationwide

March 31, 2015 |
Screenshot, barn2door home page.

Screenshot, barn2door home page.

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. 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