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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Sustainable Agriculture Information

Competition from the North Pushes Resourceful Rhode Island Hydroponic Farmer to Downsize and Diversify

February 8, 2013 |

A show of the diverse products offered by Absalona Greenhouse, a hydroponic farm based in Chepachet, Rhode Island. Photo Credit: Mark Phillips.

A job done right looks easy. Likewise Swiss chard that has celebrated five birthdays and boasts a girth of six inches looks normal at Mark Phillips’ Absalona Greenhouse Farm in Chepachet, Rhode Island. Twenty years now in the business of hydroponic farming, Phillips has mastered the art of soil-free growing. Of his accumulated knowledge what he didn’t learn from his plants themselves he mostly learned from listening to his gut rather than to opinions of others.

“I fell into it. I didn’t think I was going to work for myself,” said Phillips who earned an environmental studies degree in college. Unbeknownst to him his career was set in motion the day he took a job at a greenhouse the summer after graduating. But he took to the work and in 1990 decided to go into business for himself. Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nears Discounted Registration Deadline

October 2, 2012 |

News Release – Los Angeles, CA, October 02, 2012 – Less than a week remains to obtain discounted registration for the SEEDSTOCK SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE INNOVATION CONFERENCE to be held, Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

The day’s program will focus on the economic opportunities as well as the environmental and societal benefits of embracing, developing, and investing in sustainable farms, practices, technologies, and start-up companies. Read More

Vermont ‘Farmer With a Conscience’ Transforms Orchard into Sustainable Farming Enterprise

August 20, 2012 |

Apples in bushel bins. Photo Credit: Champlain Orchards

When Bill Suhr started Champlain Orchards in 1998, he knew nothing about growing fruit. At 25-years-old, with a few years experience as an environmental consultant, he decided he wanted to farm the land. Unsure of what kind of farm he was looking for, he rented a room from a woman named in the Lake Champlain area and started touring properties. His landlord suggested that he might enjoy running an orchard, a prediction Suhr says turned out to be “spot on.” Read More

12-year UC Study Shows Conservation Tillage Saves Oil, Soil and Toil in Cotton

July 23, 2012 |

News Release – A 12-year study published in the July-September 2012 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal demonstrates that cotton grown in rotation with tomatoes — using lower-impact conservation tillage — can achieve yields similar to standard cultivation methods and at lower cost.

Conservation tillage seeks to reduce the number of times that tractors cross the field, in order to protect the soil from erosion and compaction, and save time, fuel and labor costs. Cotton crops are planted directly into stubble from the previous crop in the rotation. Read More

Field to Market Releases National Report on Agricultural Sustainability

July 15, 2012 |

Field to Market - The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable AgricultureNews Release – WASHINGTON, DC – A new report released by Field to Market, the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, demonstrates how six commodity crops (corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton, rice and potatoes) are being produced more efficiently in the US than they were thirty years ago, accompanied by important improvements in farm safety and economic sustainability for producers. At the same time, increased production to meet growing demand has also resulted in greater overall resource use by many crops. Read More