Sustainable Ag News and Information
The campaign for mandatory GMO labeling laws has been going on for years. On July 29, President Obama signed a bill requiring labeling of foods that contain GMO.
As a result, over the next few years food producers will have to provide more information to consumers about the genetically engineered contents of their products. The Mandatory Labeling Bill places the onus on the USDA to develop not only the criteria for labeling, but also what the labels will look like.
Opponents of mandatory labeling argue that labeling genetically engineered foods will imply that those products are unsafe, which they say would be misleading since the FDA and other organizations have determined that genetically engineered foods are safe for human consumption. Those in favor of mandatory labeling, on the other hand, say that consumers have a right to know and to choose whether or not the food that they consume contains genetically modified ingredients.
In the mid 90s, people in Ventura, California were growing concerned about a growing trend of large tracts of farmland and open space being rezoned for development by the City Council. In response, locals formed Save Open Space & Agricultural Resources (SOAR), a grassroots organization that drafted a ballot initiative requiring voters’ approval on the rezoning of open space, agricultural land, and rural land. After the measure passed by a slim margin, neighboring towns and cities approved similar provisions, and Ventura became the only county in the country with voter-based protections for ag land.
Two decades later, support for the landmark initiative is still contentious. With the original SOAR restrictions getting ready to expire in 2020, Ventura residents, farmers, and officials are putting together competing ballot initiatives for this November’s election cycle to decide the future direction of the program.
New research and technological developments are allowing farmers to discover some very precise ways to grow food in the most efficient way possible.
We’ve rounded up 5 precision ideas that have emerged in a big way in the past several years, and are poised to change food production as we know it.
Seedstock 3rd Annual Sustainable Ag Innovation Conference Packs Punch with Stellar Slate of Expert SpeakersSeptember 16, 2014 | Robert Puro
Local food policy, urban agriculture strategy, and business model innovation are just a sample of the informative fare to be served up at the 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”
The comprehensive, expert-rich program, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11-12, at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food infrastructure. Participants from local food policy experts and urban agriculture entrepreneurs to investors and thought leaders in the sustainable agriculture industry will explore new approaches to strengthen the marketplace for local food and foster the revitalization of urban areas by embracing innovation in sustainable agriculture.
Only 2 More Days to Obtain Discounted Early Bird Tix for Upcoming Seedstock Sustainable Ag ConferenceSeptember 8, 2014 | Robert Puro
The event, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11-12, at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food infrastructure.
Day 1 of the conference will be comprised of an urban farming field trip on which attendees will get a sneak peak at Los Angeles’ first multi-faceted food production business incubator for local entrepreneurs along with a tour of a blossoming 1.5-acre high school campus urban farming operation in Pasadena and a visit to a hydroponic shipping container farm in the L.A. Art District.
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.”
Seedstock’s “Grow Riverside” Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nears Discounted Registration DeadlineJanuary 9, 2014 | Robert Puro
RIVERSIDE, CA– Little more than a week remains to obtain discounted registration for the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” Conference (http://growriverside.com). The event, to be held Wednesday and Thursday, March 19-20, at the Riverside Convention Center, will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots and unite citizens, growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders around the economic opportunities that can result from employing sustainable agriculture.
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.”