Sustainable Ag Supply Chain
In 2006, Shelly Herman and Irvin Cernauskas set out on a mission to make local and organic food available year-round in two major Midwestern markets: Chicago and Milwaukee. Cernauskas, who had been actively involved the environmental nonprofit community and in creating markets for local farmers, already had the connections needed to help create a stronger relationship between local farmers and urban consumers.
“The farmers were talking about how they want to spend more time farming and less time trucking their food all over the place,” said Herman. “At the same time we realized that people in the city or suburbs need a way to get fresh, healthy food in a year-round way.” To fill this growing need, Herman and Cernauskas started Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks, a local and organic food delivery service.
The demand for local food continues to grow, often faster than small growers and infrastructure can keep up. That’s why the work of the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) is vital in connecting small farmers to big business in Northwest Washington State.
Founded in 2006, NABC is the brainchild of a group of farmers and politicians who noticed a gap in the small business assistance market. Independent growers running small farms are first and foremost farmers. Brand development, marketing, establishing a customer base and utilizing accounting technology are often unfamiliar and time consuming aspects of the small farm business. NABC provides assistance in these and other areas helping to keep small farms viable.
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.
It is no longer just nonperishable items consisting of canned vegetables, pasta, or packaged meals filling the shelves of food banks in the city of Seattle, WA. Instead, canned food is being supplemented with produce grown on local urban farms and neighborhood P-patches. The shift in the food system toward growing local, sustainable produce is carrying over into the emergency food world and “providing healthy food for our neighbors” is now just as important as providing supplemental food assistance, says Sam Osborne, executive director of the Rainier Valley Food Bank.
This food bank is one of 27 within the city of Seattle and is the third or fourth busiest, according to Osborne. Three paid employees, two Americorps members and 20-35 volunteers served over 124,000 clients last year with an average of 10,000-11,000 clients visiting the food bank each month. Osborne describes their clients as representing a “microcosm of the planet” because the Rainier Valley neighborhood is recognized as the most diverse zip code in the nation.
Meet the future of retail grocery shopping: SPUD, which stands for Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery. The company provides you with a means to buy organic, locally sourced, guaranteed-tasty, weekly groceries, without adding a microgram to your carbon footprint.
It’s like your local Farmers Market pulls up stakes and sets up camp on your front lawn, except that you only have to glance at your computer to make your selections, and everything might cost a little bit less. No drive to a crowded market, no aimless search for that elusive parking spot,
When Marty and Kris Travis first founded Stewards of the Land, a cooperative of local family farmers in Illinois, they were fledgling farmers themselves.
“This was before any local food thing hit in this part of the state,” Marty Travis said. “Still, we felt like we wanted to do something to provide great, healthy food to the local community.”
At the time, Travis and his wife lived on Spence Farm, his family farmstead, with their son, Will. Though the 160-acre farm had been in his family for 175 years, his parents never worked the land. Tenant farmers managed the land throughout his childhood.
Online Exchange Enables Local Food Buyers and Suppliers of all Shapes and Sizes to Unite and TransactSeptember 17, 2012 | Missy Smith
The Internet has opened the door to many business relationships and transactions that otherwise would not have occurred. To encourage such transactions among the various participants in the local food sector, Local Food Systems, Inc. (LFS) of Philadelphia recently unveiled The LFS Exchange, a trading platform with process automation that allows buyers and suppliers of different shapes and sizes, from small to industrial scale, to do business within one online platform.
The company’s Exchange product, the LFS Exchange, enables buyers and suppliers who might not have process automation, inventory control tools, or products to connect, for example, to a high-volume buyer’s backend system, to seamlessly engage in business transactions.
In recent years, Florida has seen a rapidly growing desire for fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Consumers are looking for a variety of specialty crops, yet small farms along the Gulf Coast have had a difficult time meeting the increasing demand.
So, Panhandle Fresh Marketing Association (PFMA) decided to step in to help farmers thrive and contribute to a growing produce market.
In a modern world of grocery and big box stores, farmers have even more of a need to stick together. Forming personal and professional relationships is one of the most important aspects of running a successful farming business. For those just starting out, it is invaluable to be able to depend on experienced farmers who not only know the ins and outs of the industry, but also possess valuable knowledge surrounding farming practices.
Startup Uses Crowd-sourced Data to Map Food Supply Chain in Effort to Help Consumers Find Sustainable FoodJune 19, 2012 | Melinda Clark
What do you get when you cross Yelp, Wikipedia and Twitter, GIS and sustainable agriculture? The answer is Food Sprout.
Food Sprout is an ambitious attempt by Linda Chang and Andrew Naber to map the world’s food supply chain. It aims to be a Wikipedia-like platform that brings transparency to the food chain by tracing the movement of our food. On it, consumers, farmers, restaurants, distributors, and anyone else who has a hand in bringing food from seed to stomach can track, share and receive information about their food’s origins.
New Hampshire Egg Farmers Support Network of Family Farms to Tune of 500,000 Sustainably Laid Eggs A DayMay 24, 2012 | Noelle Swan
Jesse LaFlamme’s family has been farming eggs in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for four generations. Once large-scale egg-farmers with chickens stacked in battery cages, today the family has become the largest producer of organic and cage-free eggs in New England.
The decision to convert to organic production and cage-free barns first arose as a business strategy.
News Release – WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 – Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan released a new report on the distribution practices of eight producer networks and their partners distributing locally or regionally-grown food to retail and foodservice customers. The report, entitled Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution, shows how these networks tap into the growing commercial demand for local and regional food products while creating additional economic opportunities and expanding healthy food access.
“The Obama Administration is committed to putting Americans back to work and to revitalizing our rural agricultural communities, and one way to do that is through the expanding local foods movement which provides new economic opportunities for farmers and producers across the country,” said Merrigan.
Illinois farmers will now have access to a new guidebook and Web site designed to boost local food hub activity in the state, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced.
Warren Ribley, the department’s director, announced the new tools at the annual Illinois Specialty Growers Association conference in Springfield, where he highlighted the state’s efforts to increase local foods markets.
“More people today want to know where their food comes from. Making food grown and produced in Illinois more accessible helps Illinois residents eat locally and helps boost our economy,” Ribley said. “The tools we’re introducing today are a step toward building an expanded, locally produced food supply that benefits more people in Illinois.”