The future of local food will not be restricted to produce grown in fields. Arable land grows scarcer and consequently more expensive by the year. Thus, many new farmers and entrepreneurs are opting to explore and pursue growing produce in controlled environments. Utilizing hydroponic technologies that typically require only 10% of the water necessary to grow similar crops outdoors, these indoor farmers can often produce more than 20 times the traditional field-crop yield in the same amount of space.
Indoor farms can also be placed anywhere – including in the middle of a city, in vacant warehouses and on land that is often much cheaper than arable land. That indoor farms can be placed in cities also enables them to provide more local food access to buyers – from restaurants and institutions to wholesalers and supermarkets.
Excerpt: As international trade picks up and local food stocks decline, food security may be at higher risk of impending crises.
Across Southern California, a new breed of small farmer is emerging to not only take advantage of the growing demand for local food, but also to connect urban communities to their food. These farmers are nimble, resourceful and pushing the limits often working on backyard plots within or on the outskirts of cities that are less than 1-acre in size. Yet they are creating economically viable business models by growing salable produce on every inch of their land.
To learn more about how farmers are successfully growing on small lots and how this type of small plot agriculture might benefit your city and community, or even find a place in your own backyard, you won’t want to miss the GrowRIVERSIDE Conference breakout session entitled “Developing Urban Farms that Benefit City, Economy and Community” featuring:
Droughts, above average temperatures in winter and unexpected frosts. The climate is in an unprecedented state of flux and unpredictable weather is having an outsized impact on farmers and their ability to produce food efficiently. Riverside farmers as well as farmers across the country and world face similar challenges related to climate change and must look to adopt new practices and technologies to farm smarter.
To learn more about how farmers and agriculture communities can develop long-term strategy and production improvements that can help to mitigate the risks of changing climate conditions, A.G. Kawamura, a local farmer and former secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, will give a talk entitled “Climate Smart Agriculture for Small and Urban Farmers” at the upcoming GrowRIVERSIDE: The Future of Local Food Conference on June 11 – 12 (with community day on June 13) at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, CA.
by Traci Knight
Despite the lack of a robust agricultural program at Oakland University, located in Rochester Hills, Mich., a growing movement to fuse ecology and sustainability into the curriculum of this science and arts driven academic institution is emerging.
Both undergraduate and graduate students can gain 12 to 13 credits working on OU’s student organic farm and up to 20 total credits with cross-disciplinary electives that focus on the history of agriculture and food system development.
1 Historical crops in Arizona may be future of agriculture (AZCentral.com)
Excerpt: Historical crops farmed on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona may be part of the key to the future of sustainable agriculture.
2 Is sustainable agriculture reachable? (Des …
The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service recently published a report on the breadth of local and regional food systems, as well as current trends.
In 2012, 163,675 farmers sold a total of about $6.1 billion worth of locally marketed food, states the report. Also according to the report, 7.8 percent of U.S. farms sell local foods, which represents 1.5 percent of the total value of agricultural production in the U.S.
1 How tech can stop the looming food crisis (Fortune)
Excerpt: Start by developing technologies that reduce all the wasted food out there.
2 Scorched (Pacific Standard)
Excerpt: For Central American migrants, the promise of work …