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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Pedal-power and Precision Revolutionize Food Rescue in Boulder

July 19, 2016 |
Boulder Food Rescue makes pickups from grocery stores and restaurants seven days per week and in all weather conditions in order to keep food from falling through the cracks. Photo credit: One Thousand Designs

Boulder Food Rescue makes pickups from grocery stores and restaurants seven days per week and in all weather conditions in order to keep food from falling through the cracks. Photo credit: Ethan Welty

When 1 in 7 people are going hungry in a country that throws out half the food it produces, there isn’t a supply problem; there’s a distribution problem. This was part of the hypothesis tested in a 2011 study conducted by former University of Colorado students Caleb Phillips and Becky Higbee. By looking at data collected through a local food rescue organization, the study found that large volumes of food were going to waste in northern Colorado because there wasn’t a well-coordinated effort capable of catching that food before it became completely unusable. The research team showed that, with funding and adequate labor, organized food rescue and redistribution efforts were not only possible at small and large scales, they could also capture enough potentially wasted food in Boulder and Broomfield Counties to feed everyone in that area.

On the wings of this information, Phillips and Higbee joined with friends Nora Lecesse, Helen Katich, and Hana Dansky to form Boulder Food Rescue. The project began with the same systems-minded approach as the study. The BFR crew met with  local grocery store officials, whose stores were trashing unsold food, and asked why they wouldn’t choose to donate it instead. Some blamed the rules of local food banks, which prohibited donations of produce outside of its original packaging. Many more grocery managers lamented that food gone past a supermarket’s saleable standards is too perishable to survive the extended journey from store to food bank to plate.  As the study had already shown, timing was key. Read More

Women in Food: ‘Kid Chef’ Cookbook Author Offers Food and Life Lessons for Chefs of All Ages

July 6, 2016 |
Photographer, food stylist, cook, and author Melina Hammer is on a mission to change the way people treat and think about food in her debut cookbook "Kid Chef“Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen." Photo courtesy of Melina Hammer.

Photographer, food stylist, cook, and author Melina Hammer is on a mission to change the way people treat and think about food in her debut cookbook “Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen.” Photo courtesy of Melina Hammer.

Photographer, food stylist, cook, and author Melina Hammer is on a mission to change the way people treat and think about food. In her debut cookbook, “Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Culinary Skills for the New Cook in the Kitchen,” aimed at aspiring eight to 13 year old chefs, Hammer offers more than 70 recipes, drool-worthy photographs, and helpful tips. Seedstock recently caught up with Hammer during a visit to her hometown of Detroit to discuss her inspirations, her strategies for changing the food system through teaching, and the challenge of eating healthily in an area with limited access to fresh food.

Seedstock: What is your goal with this cookbook?

Melina Hammer: The current landscape of seduction in food advertising makes it more important than ever to clarify what good eating really is. Creating a book with the skills to empower kids seemed like the perfect place to begin. My goal is to provide the tools and confidence for kids to take the reigns in the kitchen. I want to empower kids – and adults! – to make good food: from developing a discerning eye in sourcing quality ingredients, to refining and mastering various culinary skills. Read More

Road Sign Touting ‘Hydroponic Tomatoes’ Spurs South Carolinian’s Foray into Indoor Growing

July 4, 2016 |
A beginning and end of season view of Hurricane Creek Farms' hydroponic tomatoe greenhouse. Photos courtesy of Jesse Adkins and Hurricane Creek Farms.

A before and end of season view of Hurricane Creek Farms hydroponic tomato greenhouse. Photo courtesy of Jesse Adkins and Hurricane Creek Farms.

Jesse Adkins was working a landscape design and installation job in Pelzer, South Carolina when he saw a sign by the side of the road that read, “Hydroponic Tomatoes.” His curiosity piqued, Adkins sought out the grower, Paul Lee. Lee entertained questions about his operation and hydroponic growing that provided Adkins, a 35 year landscape design and nursery industry veteran, with the impetus to take on a new career challenge.

“It seemed to be a profitable way to grow and offered a way to use marginal land to grow a large amount of clean, healthy produce on a small footprint,” Adkins says.

Under Lee’s tutelage and after taking a short course in hydroponic growing from Mississippi State University, his confidence grew. When Lee retired, Adkins took the plunge and bought his greenhouse and growing equipment. He also procured a USDA loan to buy a second, larger greenhouse to accompany the one built by Lee, and by 2006 his fledgling hydroponic venture Hurricane Creek Farms was up and running. Read More

Tufts University, Online Graduate Certificate Program in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

June 22, 2016 |
“The experiences that the students brought to the course was really wonderful," said Tim Griffin, Associate Professor. "They were all interested in a more sustainable food system, but had many perspectives on how that can happen.”

“The experiences that the students brought to the course was really wonderful,” said Tim Griffin, Associate Professor. “They were all interested in a more sustainable food system, but had many perspectives on how that can happen.”

Sponsored Story – The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University is accepting applications to the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems online graduate certificate program.

Students in this 3-course program earn graduate credit while gaining a 360-degree perspective on the food system – from farms to supply chains to the consumer.  Courses include:

  • Sustainability on the Farm (fall semester)
  • Supply Chains and Food Markets (spring semester)
  • Sustainability and the Food Consumer (spring semester)

This program, in its third year, is ideal for professionals engaged in a variety of food-related businesses and organizations, as well as others interested in implementing sustainable practices for their organizations, partners, and communities. Read More

St. Louis Org. Embraces Urban Agriculture to Empower Individuals and Strengthen Community

June 16, 2016 |
Gateway Greening St. Louis Urban Agriculture Organization

Gateway Greening’s mission is to educate and empower individuals to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture. Photo credit: Gateway Greening with permission from Jenna Davis.

Gateway Greening has been taking a holistic approach to urban agriculture, gardening, and education in St. Louis for more than three decades.

“Our mission is to educate and empower individuals to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture,” Gateway Greening’s Communications Manager Jenna Davis says.

While the group started out as a gardening club focused on ornamental, native, and perennial plants, Davis says it has since blossomed into a three-pronged catalyst for grassroots community building. Read More

Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

May 27, 2016 |

seedstockGrowing up: Vertical farms evolve to end hunger [Take Part]

Excerpt: Innovation is making pricey and complicated indoor agriculture a more viable means of growing organic crops. Read More

Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

May 20, 2016 |

seedstockMapping out farmers market success [USDA]

Excerpt: Anticipation is building for the opening of seasonal farmers markets in communities across the country—especially in Takoma Park, MD, at the Crossroads Farmers Market.                    Read More

Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

May 13, 2016 |

seedstockUrban farms bring us together, but can they feed enough of us? [Civil Eats]

Excerpt: When fresh food sprouts on urban rooftops, floating barges, and in once-abandoned buildings and schoolyards, people take notice. “Spaces that have gardens have a different atmosphere than vacant lots,” notes Anne Palmer, program director for Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Read More