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Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference’s Urban Farm Field Trip to Tour Diverse Local Food Operations in Los Angeles

August 21, 2014 |

reintegrate agriculture urban logoAttendees of Seedstock’s 3rd Annual Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference 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 shipping container farm in the L.A. Art District.

The field trip, an excursion into the wide-ranging diversity of sustainable urban agriculture, will kick off Seedstock’s “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” two-day event on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

In the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles, a former 56,000-square-foot industrial building is undergoing major renovations to ultimately house L.A. Prep, an accelerator for small food producers who have outgrown their startup spaces. The project, which broke ground this summer, will have its first tenants taking occupancy in early 2015. Read More

New and Noteworthy Speakers Added to Slate for Urban Ag-Focused ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference on March 19 – 20

January 29, 2014 |

grow riverside 175Notable experts in urban agriculture, new farm financing, local food systems development, vegetable crop cultivation, food hubs and digital technology have been added to what’s shaping up to be a blockbuster slate of speakers for the Urban Ag-focused Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! Conference (http://growriverside.com), which will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20, 2014 in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside.

The conference will focus on the development of urban agriculture and local food system strategies and solutions that cities, Riverside in this particular case, can use to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that investors, citizens, growers, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future. Read More

Beyond Freight: Startup Transforms Shipping Container into Turnkey Solution for Hydroponic Farming

December 6, 2013 |
LocalSprout’s Freight Farm located in downtown San Antonio. Photo Credit: Mitch Hagney

LocalSprout’s Freight Farm located in downtown San Antonio. Photo Credit: Mitch Hagney

Mitch Hagney is Chief Executive Officer of LocalSprout, a hydroponic farm based in San Antonio, Texas. 

When a hydroponic farm grows a head of lettuce, the story doesn’t start with a seed.

Every part of the environment has to be provided for the seeds before they germinate, including everything that nature usually gives away for free.

To make a plant’s conditions ideal, the farmer must also be a plumber, an electrician, an engineer, and a chemist. Even those growers with lots of experience often lack the construction expertise that building a hydroponic farm requires, so they turn to those whose sole business is building.

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Attendees of Two-day Seedstock Conference at UCLA Affirm Promise of Sustainable Agriculture Future

November 7, 2013 |
Attendees touring Houweling's Tomatoes on day one of the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference.

Attendees touring Houweling’s Tomatoes on day one of the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference.

From new farmers, aquaponicists and sustainable agriculture entrepreneurs to urban farming pioneers, microloan providers and crowdfunding evangelists, yesterday’s 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation conference at UCLA Anderson School of Management provided clear evidence pointing to the desire, will and motivation to develop economically viable and sustainable farming solutions to insure that the food system of the future not only survives, but thrives.

The two-day event, which drew an audience of nearly 250 from as far afield as New Zealand, Mexico and Korea, kicked off on November 5 with a sustainable farm field trip to Houweling’s Tomatoes in Camarillo where attendees were treated to an in-depth tour of the company’s sustainable 125-acre hydroponic greenhouse. Following the tour of Houweling’s, attendees headed over to McGrath Family Farms for a farm-to-table lunch provided by Chef/farmer Adam Navidi of Green2GO Restaurant Market. Following the lunch, farmer Phil McGrath gave the attendees a tour of his 5th generation organic farm and explained how he has used sustainable growing practices and direct marketing to remain economically viable. One of McGrath’s keys to farming successfully: “Grow a huge diversity of things and grow in season.” Read More

Greenmarket Grooms the Next Generation of Farmers through its New Farmer Development Project

September 30, 2013 |
Photo Credit: GrowNYC

Photo Credit: GrowNYC

Most modern-day Americans never consider a career in farming. They may see it as impractical, nostalgic, or even unnecessary in a world full of mass-produced, easily-accessible, and seemingly endless food options. But with the downfall of the family farm and the declining integrity of American agriculture as a whole, the need for the next generation of farmers has never been greater than in recent decades.

In 2000, New York’s Greenmarket co-founder Bob Lewis not only recognized this need, but saw a potential solution: New York’s vibrant immigrant population. Despite the lack of farming fervor in the U.S., the agricultural lifestyle still thrives in many countries. As a result, immigrants often come to the U.S. with a wealth of farming know-how and experience, but with no productive outlet for their skills. Read More

The Santa Monica Farmers Market – Where Every Farmer Has a Story to Tell and Bounty to Share

September 19, 2013 |
Panoramic shot of the storied Santa Monica Farmers Market. Photo Credit: Santa Monica Farmers Market

Panoramic shot of the storied Santa Monica Farmers Market. Photo Credit: Santa Monica Farmers Market

The Santa Monica Farmers Market is celebrated throughout metro Los Angeles as perhaps the best, most family-friendly and most diverse of markets in the county. Launched in July, 1981, the beachside town’s farmers market began with a mere 23 vendors. Since then, it has grown to include some 85 farmers from as far north as the Oregon border all the way down to Tijuana, and has expanded to run four days a week in three different locations across the city.

Laura Avery has been running the market almost since its inception and said she has been feeding her own family, her children and her grandchildren on the bounty found in the colorful market stalls.

“We started this market through a program then administered through the California Food and Agriculture Department, and they went out and recruited farmers for us,” Avery said. “It’s thanks to Jerry Brown, who was governor then and who passed the Retail Marketing Act that allowed us to operate, even though all the big retailers and shippers were totally against it.” Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference Serves Up Abundant Slate of Expert Speakers and Panelists

September 18, 2013 |

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 17 — Even the most discriminating connoisseurs craving sustainable farming knowledge are certain to be more than satisfied with the informative bill of fare offered at the 2nd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – Farming: Fundamentals and the Future.

The Seedstock annual conference is a comprehensive, expert-filled program filled with up-to-the-minute information about how to be successful in starting or expanding a sustainable and/or urban farming operation. As featured on CNBC, the Seedstock annual conference is one of the few events in the country that bring together farmers, entrepreneurs, financiers, suppliers, distributors, restaurant owners and others in the sustainable agriculture industry. Read More

Chicago Couple Opts for Peasant Life; Moves to Country to Fulfill Dream of Organic Farming

August 21, 2013 |
Julia and Todd McDonald of Peasants' Plot. Photo Credit: Peasant's Plot

Julia and Todd McDonald of Peasants’ Plot. Photo Credit: Peasant’s Plot

Among city-dwellers, there are those that dream of a different life. This dream often brings them out of the city, back to the land, and, in some cases, leads them to a life of organic farming. When Todd and Julia McDonald met they shared such a dream. Living in Chicago, Todd and Julia often entertained the idea of becoming organic farmers.

“I distinctly remember one of our first conversations in which we both disclosed our ideas for our futures, what we wanted to be ‘when we grew up.’  [Todd] said ‘I don’t have any great ambition. I just want to be an organic farmer,’” said Julia McDonald. Read More