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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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sustainable agriculture education

Rooftop Garden at McCormick Place Supplies Fresh Produce and Jobs to Chicago

October 31, 2013 |
Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden

As the largest “farm-to-fork” rooftop garden in the region, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden has garnered quite a following in Chicago and across the Midwest since it was planted in late June. The gardening project was started to bring attention to local sustainable agriculture and to create jobs for people in the community.

SAVOR…Chicago, McCormick Place’s food service provider and funder, uses the fresh produce grown at McCormick Place for its restaurant and catering operations.

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Portland, OR-based Urban Farm Seeks to Spread Sustainable Ag through Education and Healthy Food

July 3, 2013 |
Members of Zenger Farm Shares Community Supported Agriculture program pick up their produce at the farm, courtesy Zenger Farm.

Members of Zenger Farm Shares Community Supported Agriculture program pick up their produce at the farm, courtesy Zenger Farm.

Portland, Oregon’s Zenger Farm is striving to be a national model for urban, sustainable agriculture education while meeting the needs of people in its backyard: the low-income neighborhoods of Lents and Powelhurst-Gilbert.

The urban farm works to provide sustainable food and agriculture education, food access, and support for emerging food businesses in the area.

Though the farm is not currently certified, plans are underway to pursue organic certification within the next year, according to Sara Cogan, Farm Manager for Zenger Farms. Sustainable agriculture methods used on the farm includes drip irrigation, strict avoidance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and creation of habitat to support diverse populations of beneficial insects. Read More

Desert Research Institute’s GreenPower Program Engages Students with Hydroponics in a Box

June 11, 2013 |

desert research instituteHydroponics, and other sustainable gardening and growing practices, are gradually becoming more widely used in Nevada not only as a result of the arid climate and challenging soil conditions in the area, but also to increase local food production. And the Desert Research Institute (DRI), which is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education and conducts various research projects concerning environmental science every year, wants to ensure that young people on board with the developing industry there.

In fact, there are many hydro-centric businesses emerging in the area, said Amelia Gulling of DRI, who is the administrator for the institute’s GreenPower Program. “And there are going to be some international businesses hopefully coming specifically to Las Vegas to do larger scale hydro-farming,” Gulling said. Read More

Armed with a Trowel, VSAT Program Aids Veterans in Launching Sustainable Startups

May 30, 2013 |

“We believe the next wars are going to be over food and water. So who better to train than our military in water conservation and food production?” – Karen Archipley

Archis+Acres+LogoReturning military often find themselves struggling to return to normality after serving overseas. Colin Archipley, co-owner of Archi’s Acres in Escondido, CA knows exactly how they feel. He served three tours of duty during the Iraq War that began in 2003. Between his second and third deployment, Colin, along with his wife Karen, bought an inefficiently run avocado farm. Besides starting their own very successful living basil hydroponics farm on the site, the empathetic couple created an incubator for transitioning veterans. What they created became known as the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training or VSAT program, a way to help veterans train for self-employment in the peaceful profession of hydroponic farming. Read More

Urban Homesteaders with a Mission: Yisrael Family Farm

May 28, 2013 |

yisrael family farmAs a culture we have become so disconnected from our food. The sustainable agriculture movement is making strides to rectify the matter, but there is so much work still to be done. For those living in the inner cities, access to organic local food is even more difficult with few neighborhood outlets for healthy produce. That’s why the work of urban farmer, Chanowk Yisrael and the Yisrael Family Farm is one step closer to local access of fresh fruits, vegetables and honey for the folks of the Oak Park community in Sacramento.

The Yisrael family farm began in 2007 when Yisrael started to look at the economic fear that was mounting across the globe. “I’m sitting in my cubicle… and at that point there was a lot of fear mongering going on. You know: ‘everything is going to crash,’ ‘it’s the Great Depression Part 2,’ ‘we only have 60 days left,’ ‘run for the hills,’ that type of stuff,” remembers Yisrael. Read More

Urban Ag Organization Hopes to Get All Residents on Board to Keep Growing Detroit

May 8, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Keep Growing Detroit

Photo Credit: Keep Growing Detroit

Keep Growing Detroit, a nonprofit community gardening and urban agriculture support organization, has a mission to achieve nothing short of sovereignty for Detroiters.

Food sovereignty, that is.

The organization’s vision is one of a Detroit where Detroiters grow the majority of fruits and vegetables they consume. The group also serves Hamtramck and Highland Parks, autonomous cities surrounded on all sides by the City of Detroit. Read More

‘Next Urban Chef’ Program Stresses Importance of Local Food to Detroit Youth, Teams Students with Chefs

April 24, 2013 |

next urban chef“The food system is literally killing people in communities like Detroit,” says Alison Heeres, 27, coordinator of a program designed to educate and engage youth in the local food movement in the City of Detroit.

Heeres, who works with the University of Michigan Health System teaching nutrition and wellness in schools, has witnessed firsthand the impact of lack of access to and knowledge about fresh, local food in urban communities. So when she was asked to coordinate a program to engage Detroit youth in a high profile project designed to get them thinking about food and nutrition in a new way, she took the opportunity.

The program, Next Urban Chef, is modeled after the wildly popular Next Iron Chef television series, and focuses on youth education and leadership development around local food. Read More

Nevada High Altitude Farm Stretches Bounds of Sustainable Ag Innovation, Educates Others in Effort to Expand Market

April 18, 2013 |
hungry mother organics

Photo Credit: Hungry Mother Organics.

Thanks to its harsh climate and high altitude, Northern Nevada requires that farmers develop innovate agricultural methods and practice to sustainably grow produce. Seedstock recently spoke with Jacob O’Farrell, Special Projects Coordinator at Hungry Mother Organics about the challenges of farming in the Sierra Nevada foothills and how the state can improve its movement toward sustainable agriculture.

How did Hungry Mother Organics begin?

We started out as a family farm over 20 years ago in Virginia and relocated to Nevada ten years ago. Thereafter we worked with an inmate rehabilitation program and used prison labor to set up hoop houses at the Northern Nevada Correctional Facility. We continued expanding and eventually launched a retail location where we offer organic produce, heirloom seeds, Read More