local food systems
Home to the University of Kansas and the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas is in the midst of developing a thriving local food and urban agriculture movement.
In 2010, the county formed a Food Policy Council to identify opportunities, challenges and benefits for a sustainable local food system.
Eileen Horn, sustainability coordinator for Douglas County and the City of Lawrence, serves on the Council with 24 others, including farmers, representatives from food retail establishments, Kansas State University Extension, Lawrence Public Schools, the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market and the Douglas County Health Department.
Seedstock’s “Grow Riverside” Sustainable Agriculture Conference Enhances Event with Nationally Known ExpertsFebruary 26, 2014 | seedstock
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Spearheading the movement to assist cities develop more urban sustainable farming within their environs, the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference continues to expand its stellar program lineup with notable authorities in resource management, agricultural growth strategies and public policy. The March 19-20 event presented by Seedstock in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside will be held at the Riverside Convention Center.
Appearing as opening night keynote is Richard Conlin, who created Seattle’s local food initiative while serving as a City Councilmember. Conlin will talk about how to develop and establish urban sustainable agricultural policies – from land-use to funding efforts.
“Local food policy is a key element in creating environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and improved public health,” Conlin said. “I hope my experience can help provide guidance on how to put this into practice.”
Press Release – Seedstock today announced Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) as the opening day luncheon speaker for the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference. The March 19-20 event, to be held at the Riverside Convention Center, will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots as well as evaluate potential economic and public health benefits of sustainable urban agriculture.
Representative Takano presently serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs and the Science, Space and Technology committees. Prior to being elected to Congress, Takano spent 23 years as a high school teacher in the Inland Empire and more than 20 years on the Riverside Community College Board of Trustees. The Congressman, an advocate of “slow food” – an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 – will share his perspective on this fast food alternative and the quest to preserve traditional and regional cuisine through the farming of plants and seeds characteristic of the local ecosystem.
“The progressive sustainable urban farming innovations to be presented at this event will prove an invaluable asset to Riverside and its environs,” said Congressman Takano. “I am greatly impressed with the forward-thinking leaders of this historically rich agricultural region and look forward to witnessing the future success of the collaborations that are certain to be generated as a result of the Grow Riverside conference.”
New and Noteworthy Speakers Added to Slate for Urban Ag-Focused ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference on March 19 – 20January 29, 2014 | Robert Puro
Notable experts in urban agriculture, new farm financing, local food systems development, vegetable crop cultivation, food hubs and digital technology have been added to what’s shaping up to be a blockbuster slate of speakers for the Urban Ag-focused Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! Conference (http://growriverside.com), which will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20, 2014 in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside.
The conference will focus on the development of urban agriculture and local food system strategies and solutions that cities, Riverside in this particular case, can use to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that investors, citizens, growers, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future.
On the roof of a condo in downtown Nashville, Urban Hydro Project founder Jeffrey Orkin is redefining the meaning of space-efficient urban agriculture.
Orkin has turned a former rooftop utility room into a 135-square foot hydroponic grow room where he raises various types of lettuce, basil, arugula, dill, kale, cilantro, mustard greens, and more. In December 2012, Orkin launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds he needed to build the grow room. Those who donated to the campaign were promised certain amounts of lettuce, basil, and arugula in return, and Orkin has been busy over the past year distributing these greens to his supporters. Orkin has also been busy selling his produce to residents of the condo unit he grows in, other community members, and local restaurants in the Nashville area.
Dan Horan had a notion back in 1989 that started with a college essay and turned into a business plan: enlist the cooperative efforts of various small farms in the region to supply supermarkets with locally produced foods. The idea of bringing the farmers’ market to the local supermarket was planted, he says.
“Fast-forward to 2010,” says Horan. “I sold the company I was involved with and hired my first employee.”
The name for Horan’s new venture, Five Acre Farms, came from the principle of small, local agriculture serving its local communities, according to Horan.
“Our focus was on the mainstream customer,” says Horan, “improving their access to local food where most of the shopping is happening—in the supermarkets. Less than 10 percent of people can support the farmers’ market. We wanted to be in the mainstream shopping centers.”
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.”
What was once a vacant lot in the heart of San Francisco is now a 3/4-acre urban farm bridging the gap between production and consumption.
“I think making sustainable agriculture visible and accessible within city limits is an important tool for education and awareness about the larger movement of small scale farming,” says Little City Gardens co-founder and head farmer Caitlyn Galloway.
Galloway’s fellow co-founder Brooke Budner first decided to start an urban garden in 2007 after spotting an overgrown abandoned lot from her rooftop. By the time Galloway and Budner met in 2008, Budner had already created a thriving garden on the spot. The two women began gardening together and eventually developed the vision and business plan for Little City Gardens.