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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Detroit Collaborative CSA Models Cooperation and Sustainability

April 14, 2014 |
Meg Marotte farm partner at Singing Tree Garden. Image courtesy of Singing Tree Garden.

Meg Marotte, farm partner at Singing Tree Garden. Image courtesy of Singing Tree Garden.

Local urban farmers in Detroit have recognized that the whole is often greater than its parts—and so they’ve combined forces to strengthen the local food scene and their own bottom lines.

Six Detroit farm businesses have combined to create City Commons, a cooperative in which members support the six farms with a purchase of seasonal shares of fresh produce and other farm products. Members receive a weekly box of fresh-from-the-farm, organically grown food that has been raised entirely within Detroit’s city limits. The coop model is advantageous for customers who like a wide variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s also advantageous for independent farmers who are trying to make a living exclusively by farming—especially those who share a passion for fresh, local food for an urban population.

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Worker-owned Coop Grows Food and Farmers in Cincinnati

April 9, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Bobby Gayol.

Photo courtesy of Bobby Gayol.

As a nation enamored with the marvels of capitalism, it is little wonder that worker-owned cooperatives (businesses owned and controlled by their workers) have not managed to capture much attention in the United States. There are, in fact, 300 worker cooperatives in the United States, but most of them remain relatively unknown or misunderstood by the general public.

Our Harvest Cooperative is a union worker-owned cooperative started in 2012 by the Cincinnati Union Coop Initiative. The Cincinnati Union Coop Initiative, which emerged in 2009, is a collaboration between Spain’s Mondragon Worker-Owned Cooperatives and the United Steelworkers—two organizations that came together with the goal of duplicating the success of Mondragon in the United States. Mondragon, founded in 1956, is now the seventh-largest corporation in Spain and remains a model for successful worker-owned cooperatives throughout the world. Read More

Getting to Higher Ground with Rooftop Farming

April 2, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Arthur Pollock

Photo courtesy of Arthur Pollock

Higher Ground Farm founder John Stoddard is all about moving on up—especially when it comes to urban agriculture.

In 2012, Stoddard wrote a guest post for Seedstock highlighting the potential of rooftop farming. At the time, he and his business partner, Courtney Hennessey, were searching for a roof space to farm. They’ve since started farming on the roof of the Boston Design Center, a 55,000 square foot space in South Boston, and completed their first farming season in 2013. Read More

UC Riverside Takes Active Role in Promoting Community and Local Food Systems at ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference

March 26, 2014 |

UC Riverside CNASUC Riverside, a sponsor of last week’s ‘Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond’ Conference, played a large role in shaping the conference proceedings and contributing concrete ideas and steps to help the City of Riverside develop local agriculture strategies and solutions to reconnect with its agricultural roots and foster a robust and sustainable local food future.

Fortino Morales III, Director of the UC Riverside Community Garden (R’Garden), a 3-acre community garden on UCR’s campus, participated on the ‘Local Ag Growth Strategies’ panel on day one of the conference. The panel looked at the infrastructure needed to grow new farmers from educational programs and farmer training to incentives for entrepreneurs and more. Read More

Over 400 Attendees Gather at Sold Out Grow Riverside Conference to Drive Local Food System Development in City

March 25, 2014 |

If ever there was doubt about the interest, desire and motivation among the citizens of the City of Riverside to develop local agriculture strategies and solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that growers, advocates, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future, it was allayed at the SOLD OUT ‘Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!’ Conference Conference that took place at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20.

A diverse array of over 420 attendees from growers, ag entrepreneurs, local food advocates and distributors to City of Riverside officials, university students and professors from across California, business executives and California FFA members from Horte Vista High School were on hand to hear from some of the most innovative thinkers, experts and practitioners in the local and urban agriculture sphere. Read More

From ‘Music City’ to ‘Food City’: Nashville Grows Urban Farming Community

March 20, 2014 |
Urban Green Labs strives to encourage sustainability through local food cultivation. Photo courtesy of Urban Green Labs.

Urban Green Labs strives to encourage sustainability through local food cultivation. Photo courtesy of Urban Green Labs.

Nashville’s urban agriculture scene continues to grow.

in 2009, Nashville’s zoning ordinance was amended to allow both commercial and noncommercial community gardens as a permitted use or special exception use in certain residential districts.

And in early 2014, the Metropolitan Council, which governs the city of Nashville and Davidson County, approved an ordinance to expand the ability of county residents to keep backyard hens. The measure removed a previously attached sunset provision and expanded the legislation to be effective countywide and to include all districts.

“The 630,000 residents of Metro Nashville now have the opportunity to keep hens and enjoy fresh, local eggs,” says Jennifer Tlumak, executive director of Urban Green Lab,  a Nashville nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and well being of the city through sustainability.   Read More

Agriculture, Technology Converge at Indoor Agriculture Conference, May 14-15

January 29, 2014 |

indooragconPress Release – LAS VEGAS (Jan. 29, 2014) — Technological advancement in agriculture is re-defining how, where and when food is grown. Harnessing innovation within aeroponics, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), automated nutrient systems, new tracking technology and carefully engineered indoor environments, agriculture can now be grown year-round with no soil and limited water in the harshest climates on earth. This technological revolution in agriculture is explored at the second annual Indoor Agriculture Conference May 14 – 15 at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve Desert Living Center, where global industry experts convene to discuss advancements in this rapidly evolving industry.

Co-hosted by Newbean Capital and the Black Emerald Group, and sponsored by Hort Americas, the conference highlights the accelerating greenhouse, container and vertical farming trend that is sweeping urban centers and inclement environments around the world. Read More

Pioneering Brooklyn Farm Expands, Continues to Lead the Way in Urban Agriculture

January 16, 2014 |
Gotham Greens worker harvests greens from the company’s Brooklyn greenhouse. Photo Credit: Gotham Greens/Mark Weinberg

Gotham Greens worker harvests lettuces from the company’s Brooklyn greenhouse.
Photo Credit: Gotham Greens/Mark Weinberg

Since 2008, Brooklyn’s Gotham Greens has been working hard to make a difference in the lives of New Yorkers.

As an urban farming pioneer, the for-profit company has established two large commercial farms in the city to meet the demand for fresh, wholesome, local produce. In the process, it has served as a pioneer in the rapidly evolving world of urban agriculture.

“Inspired by innovation and technology, we are driven by a sense of duty to address ecological issues facing our agricultural system,” explains Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens. “The objective is to provide city residents with fresh, local produce, year-round.”

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