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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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local food systems

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

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