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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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urban agriculture policy

Land Trust Secures Vacant Lots for Urban Agriculture, Recreation in LA’s Underserved Neighborhoods

December 18, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust

Photo courtesy of the LA Neighborhood Land Trust

Founded in 2002, the LA Neighborhood Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that identifies underutilized space in a 475-square miles area in and around Los Angeles, and transforms it into green space for urban agriculture and community recreation projects.

Real estate costs are high in Los Angeles, so the work of the Trust moves forward one small lot at a time.

“Our little land trust is good with conserving half-acre properties and creating green space in a community that has never existed before,” says Mark Glassock, director of special projects for the Trust. “In terms of our acreage, we are quite small, but in terms of our impact and our reach in terms of population, I believe we’re actually very, very large.” Read More

Q&A with Keith Tanner: The Debate Over Affordable Housing and Urban Farming in San Francisco

November 3, 2014 |
Keith Tanner Image courtesy of the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance

Keith Tanner
Image courtesy of the San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance

San Francisco broke new ground this past July by becoming the first California city to allow for tax incentives on land used for urban farming. The city’s Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Ordinance piggybacks on California State Assembly Bill 551, which permits state municipalities to create the zones. Under the ordinance, property owners must commit to using their land for agricultural purposes for five years or more. The city’s Planning Department determines a parcel’s eligibility, and the Assessor-Recorder is responsible for determining the change in property tax.

While the legislation has been embraced by many in the city’s urban farming community, it’s also ruffled some feathers among those concerned about affordable housing in the city. Read More

DC Urban Agriculture Bill Could Encourage Farming With Tax Breaks

October 15, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of DC Greens

Photo courtesy of DC Greens

The urban farming movement finally appears to be coming of age in the nation’s capital.

No longer just a novel idea, it’s now on the cusp of receiving institutional support from DC’s city leaders–that is if its backers can get votes to line up in their favor.

Earlier this year, District Council Members David Grosso and Mary Cheh introduced a piece of legislation called the DC Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 that would not only provide a framework for urban ag, but actively encourage it while fostering the consumption of local foods by underprivileged residents. Their bill seeks to achieve these goals through a three-fold strategy of identifying vacant city-owned properties that could be used for farming, incentivizing private landowners to lease out space to farmers through a tax abatement and offering a tax break for fresh produce donated to food pantries and shelters. Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference Enhances Offering; Adds Keynote and Rooftop Garden Tour

October 8, 2014 |

10460362_727611740607629_8779402262242269463_nCommitted to bringing the best in urban agriculture experience, information and resources to the Southland, organizers of Seedstock’s 3rd Annual Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference have continued to enrich the Nov. 11-12 symposium’s offerings, making “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” an event not to be missed.

On Day One, lucky urban farm field trip participants have been granted the addition of a special tour of the 200-square-foot rooftop garden atop Los Angeles’ famed Jonathan Club. The historic social organization partnered with Farmscape, the largest urban farming venture in California, to design, install, and maintain a system of raised bed planters for intensive food production. There, in Farmscape’s first rooftop installation in Los Angeles, fresh greens are grown for the Club’s onsite restaurant. Read More

Urban Farming Co Takes Aquaponic Farming to Europe’s Rooftops

September 18, 2014 |
Concept of future rooftop aquaponic farm in The Hague. Image courtesy of UrbanFarmers

Concept of future rooftop aquaponic farm in The Hague. Image courtesy of UrbanFarmers

UrbanFarmers is on a mission to bring commercial-grade urban farming to consumers hungry for fresh locally-grown produce, and it’s doing so from the rooftops.

Based in Zürich, Switzerland, the company offers a brand of rooftop-based and modular growing systems to client businesses. It does so using aquaponics, a technology that combines plants and aquatic life forms into a harmonious recirculating habitat.

“At present, UF operates the only commercial aquaponic food production system in the EU,” Urban Farmers’ Director of Business Development Tom Zöllner tells Seedstock. “Although there are numerous initiatives and projects in almost every city, almost all of them are socially driven community-based, small-scale projects. We are not aware of anyone else that has been able to implement a large-scale, high-tech aquaponic system that sells year round into a major retailer.” Read More

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

Seedstock Names Former CA Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, as Sustainable Ag Conference Keynote

July 23, 2014 |
AG Kawamura

A.G. Kawamura

(Los Angeles, CA, July 23, 2014) Seedstock today announced that former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010) Arthur Gen “A.G.” Kawamura, will deliver the keynote address at the 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”

The program, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11-12, 2014, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of robust local food systems.

“As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. Kawamura has had a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California,” said Seedstock co-founder Robert Puro. “With his extensive knowledge of California’s agricultural landscape, and the challenges and opportunities associated with the development of strong local food systems, he will bring a unique and enlightening perspective to our conference audience.” Read More

Baltimore’s Recreation and Parks Department Boosts Urban Farming With City Farms

July 14, 2014 |
Clifton Farms, Baltimore's Oldest City farm. Photo courtesy of Harold McCray

Clifton Farms, Baltimore’s Oldest City farm. Photo courtesy of Harold McCray

Urban gardening is a long-time tradition in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, according to the new City Farms Coordinator Harold McCray.

“Its original purpose was in response to urban hunger and malnutrition—that was its root,” McCray says.

The idea to include community gardens within Baltimore’s parks developed later, according to McCray. Former Mayor William Donald Schaefer suggested a garden network, beginning as a horticulture division of Recreation and Parks which became City Farms. In 1978, the first City Farms garden, located in Clifton Park, took root. Read More