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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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online sustainable agriculture

New ‘Virtual Grange’ Connects Young Farmers in a Digital World

November 14, 2013 |
Image Source: Virtual Grange

Image Source: Virtual Grange

Though you might find some millennials paying their dues in entry-level office jobs, increasing numbers of “agri-preneurs” in their twenties and thirties are opting for a more independent, agrarian lifestyle by establishing small, sustainably managed farms.

In many cases, these new farmers are the first in their families to choose farming as an occupation. Starting a farm is no guarantee that it will prosper, and many enterprises fail. Without a strong family background in farming or a community to rely on, young farmers’ chances of success are diminished.

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Startup Seeks to Build Better Farmers Market By Providing Year Round Online Access to Food

July 15, 2013 |

startup nation homepageWhat if you had access to a fresh farmers market seven days a week, knew exactly what they would be offering so that you can plan your meals, were able to contact your preferred vendors with a shopping list and could pay for everything in advance, with your fresh veggies being delivered directly to your door?

That’s exactly what Antony Lee, founder and CEO of Fresh Nation, has put together.

“The idea was to build a network of farmers markets across the country so that it’s a win for the vendors and a win for the customers,” Lee said. “We don’t necessarily need more farmers markets, we need better farmers markets.” Read More

Boulder-based Online Grocer Now Serving Nine States an Abundance of Organic

April 23, 2013 |
Chad Arnold, CEO of Door to Door Organics. Photo Credit: Door to Door Organics.

Chad Arnold, CEO of Door to Door Organics. Photo Credit: Door to Door Organics.

It’s 5 pm on Thursday, milk is running low, and the kids polished off the last of the peanut butter the night before. Working parents everywhere, stuck in traffic, are scrounging for a healthy dinner.

Enter Door to Door Organics, an online organic grocery retailer that delivers fresh, organic groceries at a competitive cost with traditional brick-and-mortar grocers.

The company, which was founded by David Gersenson in 2004 in his 300 square-foot Boulder, Colorado garage, now serves 9 states, operating out of five centralized hubs in Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Missouri.  Read More

After $50 Million Buyout, Entrepreneurs Return to Farm to Further Ideals of Sustainable Food Movement

April 17, 2013 |

Good_Eggs_Bag 250In today’s cyber-driven universe, technology wunderkinds don’t normally go from $50 million buyouts by Google back to the farm. But that’s exactly what Rob Spiro, co-founder of the farm-to-fridge grocery delivery start-up in San Francisco, Good Eggs, did.

Spiro and his colleagues from Silicon Valley founded the company a mere 18 months ago, with the idea that their experience in the tech world could be put to good use in furthering the ideals of a sustainable food movement. After selling their social search service, Aardvark, to Google in 2010, Spiro, et al thought to lasso the burgeoning grassroots drive for local, organic food direct-to-consumer in the Bay Area. Read More

To Help Small Farmers Meet City’s Demand, Online Startup Directly Connects Local Farms to Buyers

March 27, 2013 |

Farmers Web is an 18-month-old start-up that aims to link local farms with local buyers through a wholesale “management tool,” and vibrant online marketplace that allows you to “shop and sell local online, anytime.”

The brainchild of co-founder and CEO, Jennifer Goggin, Farmers Web was born in downtown Manhattan from decidedly non-bucolic roots.

“I went into finance after college (Columbia University – political science), but my heart just wasn’t in it,” Goggin said. “So we decided that promoting small agriculture was something we could grab hold of.” Read More

Farmer-driven Community Embraces Open Source Communication to Accelerate Innovation on the Farm

February 5, 2013 |

Flame weeder demonstration at Essex/Intervale Farm Hack. Photo Credit: Kristen Loria.

Employing web-based social networking technology to simulate old school neighbor-to-neighbor information share, Farm Hack is a farmer-driven, collaborative project that develops, builds, documents and shares tools for resilient, small-scale agriculture. The secret behind it all is its use of an open source web platform that allows users to edit all the pages on the site – it’s basically a wiki site for farm technology and innovation – resulting in a user-driven community that self-evolves according to the needs of its members.

“It’s not a new thing for farmers to repair their own equipment, adapt their equipment or design new tools – this is something that’s been happening for centuries on small family farms – but the idea of Farm Hack is to use new forms of communication technology and organization to accelerate that process,” explained Kristen Loria, Farm Hack Coordinator. Read More

Increasing CSA Member Retention Top Concern for Online CSA Farm Conference

February 4, 2013 |

News Release – PITTSBURGH, PA.  - Research indicates that many Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms are experiencing member retention rates between 50% and 60%, while other farms see retention rates as high as 90%. A low rate of retention makes it difficult for a CSA farm to thrive and grow and may endanger the whole CSA movement as people try CSA and decide the concept is not right for them. The CSA Expert Exchange online conference will broadly explore the reasons people join and leave CSAs and how to increase member satisfaction by drawing on the best practices utilized by CSA experts from across the country. Read More

Startup Seeks to Shape Future of Urban Agriculture with Fish, Automation and Well Designed Hardware

January 17, 2013 |

Photo Credit: Future Tech Farm.

Two young mechanical engineers, Brian Falther, 24, a 2010 graduate of Kettering University (Flint, Mich.) and Austin Lawrence, 21, a senior at Kettering University, have teamed up to bring small aquaponic grow systems into people’s homes, with each system being connected to an online farm community. Their concept is at once a virtual world with online interaction and connectivity and an authentic reality where real, clean, healthy food grows in a large collection of personal micro-aquaponic systems in homes throughout the world. They call their idea Future Tech Farm.

“The way we have been describing our home grow system is as a ‘node’ of the farm. The sum of all the nodes equals the farm. In essence, the Future Tech Farm is a singular decentralized and distributed farm—what we are calling a farming platform with a physical and virtual representation,” says Falther. Read More