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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local food systems

Atlanta Startup Brings Hyperlocal Hydroponics Across the Globe

July 1, 2014 |
Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

“The reality is that there is just less water available for agriculture than there’s ever been. As you look to the future, the amount of food production that’s needed and the amount of water we’ll have to do it, is going to require that we grow the food with less water than we do today.”–Matt Liotta, PodPonics

Selling their tubs of mixed greens wholesale to major retailers such as Krogers, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, PodPonics has become a name to know in the world of commercial-scale hydroponic produce. Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference on Nov. 11 – 12 to Examine Future of Local Food Systems

June 30, 2014 |

Seedstock+ConferenceNews Release – Los Angeles, CA – The 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” – will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food system.

Slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11 – 12, 2014, the conference will explore how city and county policy can encourage investment in, and support of, local and urban agriculture. Also presented will be the business models and technological solutions – from irrigation to supply chain innovations – necessary to augment the growth of local food systems. Read More

Wyoming Nonprofit Provides ‘Food for Thought’ to Localize the Equality State

June 30, 2014 |
Still in its infancy, Seeds of Change community garden provides local fresh food for the food dessert of Mills, Wy. Photo by Trish Popovich.

Still in its infancy, Seeds of Change community garden provides local fresh food for the food dessert of Mills, Wy. Photo by Trish Popovich.

The ‘grow local buy local’ movement has finally arrived in Wyoming, but informing Wyomingites about food justice, food deserts and the importance of locally produced organic food sources can be a challenge. Luckily, Jamie Purcell, Executive Director of the startup Wyoming Food for Thought Project, a 501 (c)3 founded in 2012, is facing the challenge head on and so far, it’s working.

After discovering a lifelong dream of becoming an architect didn’t live up to the reality, Purcell spent time in several nonprofits beginning with a year in the AmeriCorps program, living in poverty while assisting in summer programs for low income children.

“When you don’t work in poverty programs, it’s easy to assume everyone lives like you do,” says Purcell. “But the truth is, for a lot of people in our community, they live in poverty.” Read More

Q & A with Local Food Movement Expert Rich Pirog of MSU’s Center for Regional Food Systems

June 26, 2014 |
Rich Pirog

Rich Pirog

Rich Pirog  is senior associate director at Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems. His work includes developing a statewide food hub network and providing oversight to new CRFS work groups and communities. Subjects covered in his recent writings include economic impact of local foods, food hubs, and building food value chains to address social, health and economic challenges in the food system.

Seedstock had the opportunity to speak with Pirog about MSU’s CRFS program and his latest publication, The Local Food Movement: Setting the Stage for Good Food. Read More

White House Rural Council Announces Support to Help Communities Boost Local Food Economies

June 9, 2014 |

post_usdalogoWashington, D.C., June 9, 2014 — Today, on behalf of the White House Rural Council, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Local Food, Local Places, a federal initiative that will provide direct technical support to rural communities to help them build strong local food systems as part of their community’s economic action plans. Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with local communities to develop comprehensive strategies that use local food systems to meet a variety of needs.

The announcement, made during the White House Rural Council’s first live-streamed meeting, included Vilsack, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Environmental Protection Agency Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chairman Earl Gohl; and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. Read More

USDA Announces Historic $78 Million Investment to Support Local Food Enterprises

May 8, 2014 |

post_usdalogoNews Release – WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making a historic $78 million investment in local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises.

“The 2014 Farm Bill has given USDA new tools, resources and authority to support the rural economy,” Vilsack said. “Consumer demand for locally-produced food is strong and growing, and farmers and ranchers are positioning their businesses to meet that demand. As this sector continues to mature, we see aggregation, processing, and distribution enterprises across the local food supply chain growing rapidly. These historic USDA investments in support of local food give farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provide consumers with more choices, and create jobs in both rural and urban communities.” Read More

Chicago Startup Offers Healthy, Organic Foods in Vending Machines

April 4, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Farmer's Fridge

Photo courtesy of Farmer’s Fridge

As a traveling salesman, Luke Saunders knew first hand just how hard it can be to find fresh food on the go.

“I was the person who would pick up prepared food for the road because I knew that when I got there, there wouldn’t be good options,” he says. “If I ever got to a place and I had forgotten to plan ahead, the options were limited for healthy food.”

His solution? Farmer’s Fridge: vending machines stocked with fresh, healthy salads and snacks. Read More

New Initiative Seeks to Advance Farm-to-Institution Procurement in Michigan

March 17, 2014 |

postIncreasingly, food service directors and purchasing officers in schools, hospitals, and other institutions are being tasked with the mission of finding local producers of the food items they buy on a regular basis.  They are doing this to support regional food systems, local economies, and the health of their constituents. Read More