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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local food systems

Local Food Startup Freezes Its Way Onto Grocers’ Shelves

January 20, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Husk

Photo courtesy of Husk

Nick Carter, Adam Moody and Chris Baggott came together a couple of years ago to invest in a processing facility in Greenfield, Indiana. Their goal: to launch a value-added sustainable company to place local foods in grocery stores.

Husk grows market share in the local frozen food market through a combination of entrepreneurial know-how and the power of social media. At the close of their second growing season, the company has established market share for local farmers in a grocery store world dominated by multinational wholesalers.

Nick Carter, president of Husk, has a family background in farming and discovered a niche market for meat rabbits in his native Indiana. His company Meat the Rabbit allowed him to use his farming background while learning the ins-and-out of the wholesale sustainable agriculture market. Co-founders Moody and Baggott, with successful technology startup and food processing backgrounds, were ideal bedfellows when Carter decided to branch out from game meats into the world of locally grown, flash-frozen foods. Read More

Grow Riverside Conference to Examine Economic, Community Benefits of Local Sustainable Agriculture in Urban Areas

January 14, 2015 |

citrus boxRiverside, CA — January 14, 2015 — Seedstock, in partnership with the City of Riverside, today announced it once again will present the “Grow Riverside” conference slated for June 11-13, 2015.

This year’s conference at the Riverside Convention Center sets its focus on “The Future of Local Food” with the goal of sharing vital lessons and information with many municipalities.

Using Riverside’s significant accomplishments over the past 12 months as a model, the conference will examine the City’s initial steps to build and strengthen its local food system as well as explore solutions to help other cities and local governments establish and bolster their own similar initiatives. Read More

Q&A: Robert Egger on Food Security and the Aging Population

December 14, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Robert Egger.

Photo courtesy of Robert Egger.

Robert Egger is the Founder and President of L.A. Kitchen, a culinary arts job training program for people coming out of foster care and incarceration. He also launched D.C. Central Kitchen, a similar effort, in 1989. L.A. Kitchen is currently in pilot phase and will launch in a new space in 2015. Read more about L.A. Kitchen in Seedstock here.

At the Seedstock Reintegrating Agriculture conference in November, Egger delivered a keynote in which he talked about waste, both in terms of food and human potential, and opportunity, in existing community resources and in the impending wave of older people who will be hungry in coming years. Read More

Nonprofit Spinoff Looks to ‘Bring Detroit Back’ Via Food Entrepreneurship

December 9, 2014 |
Photograph Courtesy of Hopeful Harvest

Photograph Courtesy of Hopeful Harvest

As the sustainable agriculture movement has flourished in the United States, so has the need to support the local food movement in concrete and productive ways. Hopeful Harvest Foods, an offshoot of the influential Forgotten Harvest of metro Detroit, is coming up with practical solutions to do just that.

Chris Nemeth, senior director of social enterprise for Forgotten Harvest and his partner Michael Szymanski, have developed several strategies to solidify the small food business infrastructure in Detroit while creating a template the rest of the country can follow. Read More

Nonprofit Helps Appalachia Farmers Sustainably Adapt to Changing Markets

November 24, 2014 |
Asheville Farmers' Market. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Asheville Farmers’ Market. Photo courtesy of Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

How do you create a thriving, sustainable local food system?

According to Charlie Jackson, the executive director of the Asheville, NC based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project “you’ve got to jump in and start doing it.”

This is precisely what Jackson and a group of fellow volunteers did in 1999, when they began to develop community programs aimed at protecting the farming economies of their western North Carolina communities. Their efforts were so successful that now, 15 years later, ASAP has developed into an model for communities across the United States looking to invigorate their farming economies and improve public health and vitality.  Read More

Food Co-op Leads the Way To a More Sustainable Riverside

November 19, 2014 |
Riverside Food Co-op’s Crop Box is featured at this Co-op exhibit. The Crop Box, offered monthly to Co-op members, includes numerous in-season fruits, vegetables and greens. (photo courtesy of Diana Hyatt/Riverside Food Co-op)

Riverside Food Co-op’s Crop Box is featured at this Co-op exhibit. The Crop Box, offered monthly to Co-op members, includes numerous in-season fruits, vegetables and greens. (photo courtesy of Diana Hyatt/Riverside Food Co-op)

The Riverside Food Co-op is not only increasing access to locally-produced foods in Riverside, California, but the organization is also bringing other entities together toward this cause.

Riverside was hit hard by the Great Recession, and according to Nick Melquiades, a member of the Co-op’s CORE (Community of Outstanding and Resourceful Entrepreneurs) Team, the Riverside Food Co-op was borne from those difficult times.

“The Co-op formed in response to the recession in Riverside, including real estate foreclosures and a bad economic climate,” Melquiades says. “We needed something more independent.” Read More

9 Technology Tools for Localizing the Food System

October 28, 2014 |
The Farmigo team. Farmigo, based in Brooklyn, New York, uses technology to make locally-produced foods more accessible. (photo courtesy of Farmigo)

The Farmigo team. Farmigo, based in Brooklyn, New York, uses technology to make locally-produced foods more accessible. (photo courtesy of Farmigo)

It might seem that to purchase locally-produced foods, one must take a two-lane county road to the nearest farm stand or visit the local farmers’ market. Even though it may seem that the big-box grocery store is an embedded part of modern life, modern technology increasingly is empowering the buying and selling of local foods on an larger-than-ever scale. From radio frequency identification tags to online food hubs to mobile phone apps, technology is taking agriculture “back” to the future.

The following are nine cutting-edge examples. Read More

Women in Food: From Theatre to Tech, Erika Block Helps Build a New Food Economy

October 9, 2014 |
Ericka Block, founder of Local Orbit. Photo Credit: Local Orbit

Erika Block, founder of Local Orbit.
Photo Credit: Local Orbit

This piece is the part of a Seedstock series profiling women who are leading change in sustainable agriculture and local food. Read more profiles here.

You might call Erika Block something of a web weaver for the local foods economy.  As CEO of Local Orbit, a company dedicated to providing sales and business management software and services to entrepreneurs, farmers, food hubs and others involved with local foods, she’s intricately familiar with the logistics that make the movement possible.  With clients in 16 states and Canada, her 8-person team provides local food producers and aggregators with cloud-based tech tools and coaching so they can sell their products more efficiently to restaurants, grocers, and institutional buyers.

Read More