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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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sustainable agriculture initiative

Org Seeks to Expand Urban Edge Agriculture by Setting Up AgParks and Training New Sustainable Farmers

December 26, 2012 |

One of the things preventing new and established farmers from growing food is the difficulty accessing farmland. Land is pricey, and farmland in particular is dwindling. Another obstacle farmers face is the lack of inexpensive education and training.

Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) of Berkeley, Calif., is very much aware of these needs, and has implemented projects to help support new and seasoned farmers access land and education. SAGE, founded in 2001, also aims to improve food access for local communities, conserve natural resources and contribute to economic growth. Read More

Presidential Report Calls for New “Innovation Ecosystem” for Agricultural Research

December 18, 2012 |

News Release – The Federal Government should launch a coordinated effort to boost American agricultural science by increasing public investments in that economically important domain and rebalancing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research portfolio, according to a new report by an independent, presidentially appointed advisory group. The report also calls for the creation of a network of public-private agricultural “innovation institutes,” to leverage the strengths of government scientists and commercial interests. Read More

Vegetables in the Sky; Startup to Bring Year-Round Hydroponic Production to Urban Rooftops

December 10, 2012 |

Although the Swartz family has been farming for three generations, Joe Swartz’s Sky Vegetables in Amherst is very different from the typical farm of his father and grandfather.

When his grandparents, John and Anastasia Swartz immigrated to the United States from Poland, they settled on a 40-acre homestead where they raised dairy cows, tobacco, onions, vegetables, and five children. Their sons, Walter and John Swartz took over the farm and expanded production to 300 acres of rented land in Amherst and surrounding towns. Read More

LSU Scientists Examine Potential Value of Switchgrass to Louisiana

October 31, 2012 |

Michael Blazier, LSU AgCenter forestry researcher, holds a sample of switchgrass taken from a field near Archibald, La., in Richland Parish. Blazier is looking at the yield potential of switchgrass on marginal crop lands for use as a biofuel. Photo by Craig Gautreaux.

News Release – ARCHIBALD, La. – Michael Blazier is familiar with growing trees. As an LSU AgCenter forestry researcher, he has been involved in many timber-related projects that have helped determine the most efficient methods for producing quality lumber. Now, he is working on growing switchgrass, a fast-growing native plant that shows promise as a biofuel feedstock.

“Switchgrass is native to nearly the entirety of North America. In Louisiana, it is native to the Cajun prairie ecosystem,” Blazier said. Read More

Illinois-based Stewards of the Land Cooperative Generates Solid Returns for Local Farmers

October 30, 2012 |

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. Read More