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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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urban agriculture policy

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

Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference on Nov. 11 – 12 to Examine Future of Local Food Systems

June 30, 2014 |

Seedstock+ConferenceNews Release – Los Angeles, CA – The 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities” – will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food system.

Slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11 – 12, 2014, the conference will explore how city and county policy can encourage investment in, and support of, local and urban agriculture. Also presented will be the business models and technological solutions – from irrigation to supply chain innovations – necessary to augment the growth of local food systems. Read More

City Councilor Advances Urban Farming Agenda in Colorado Springs

June 2, 2014 |
County councilor Jill Gaebler. Photo courtesy of Jill Gaebler.

County councilor Jill Gaebler. Photo courtesy of Jill Gaebler.

When Colorado Springs passed an ordinance allowing residents to own small dairy goats within city limits, City Councilor Jill Gaebler knew it was an important step toward a more sustainable food system in the city. Although Gaebler realizes it was a small win, she also believes it helped put urban agriculture on the agenda of a city that is still very much a food desert.

According to Gaebler, Colorado Springs is behind the rest of Colorado when it comes to promoting urban agriculture. The city only currently produces about four percent of its own food, does not have a public market in its downtown, and still has various legal barriers that limit small-scale food producers. Read More

10 American Cities Lead the Way With Urban Agriculture Ordinances

May 27, 2014 |
Residents of Boston's Dudley neighborhood participate in a raised bed community garden build day at the DNI Community Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Dudley Neighborhood Inc.

Residents of Boston’s Dudley neighborhood participate in a raised bed community garden build day at the DNI Community Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Dudley Neighborhood Inc.

Small growers and urban farms are springing up across the nation, but many cities lack the infrastructure, zoning laws and foresight to truly leverage this transition.

Over the past several years, however, city governments, often working with local stakeholder groups and food policy councils, are changing that. Urban agriculture ordinances help light the way for would-be urban farmers, providing guidance and a sense of legitimacy.

Here is Seedstock’s list of ten cities leading the way with innovative urban agriculture ordinances that provide a blueprint for a new economic future grounded in sustainable food production in urban centers. Read More

Michigan Diversifies Economy With Food Innovation Districts

May 1, 2014 |
Farmer’s market setup in Battle Creek, MI Photos courtesy of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments

Farmer’s market setup in Battle Creek, MI
Photos courtesy of Northwest Michigan Council of Governments

Michigan has undergone an economic transformation in the last few years, diversifying from its historic role as an industrial center and emerging as a leader in the sustainable agriculture and local food sector.

One way the state is diversifying is through Food Innovation Districts,  one of the tools proposed in Michigan’s Good Food Charter. The Charter, compiled between 2009 and 2010, was created in the wake of the economic downturn and provides goals for Michigan to help establish viable regional economies and communities.

Read More

Q&A: Dr. Peggy A. Mauk of UC Riverside Discusses Efforts to Strengthen Local Food System

April 28, 2014 |
Dr. Peggy A. Mauk. Director of Agricultural Operations and Subtropical Horticulture Specialist, UC Riverside Photo courtesy of Dr, Mauk

Dr. Peggy A. Mauk. Director of Agricultural Operations and Subtropical Horticulture Specialist, UC Riverside
Photo courtesy of Dr, Mauk

Mention the southern Californian City of Riverside and people often think of oranges. This is hardly surprising, since it’s the birthplace of the state’s citrus industry and home to an internationally respected citrus research center run by the University of California, Riverside.

An effort is now underway, though, that could change perceptions about food production in this citrus hub. UC Riverside and city government are collaborating on a new initiative to get farmers and residents to think outside the area’s traditional export-oriented citrus growing model by promoting development of Riverside’s local food system.

Seedstock spoke to Dr. Peggy Mauk, Director of Agricultural Operations at UC Riverside, to learn more about this work. Read More

Detroit Public Schools to Convert 27-acre Shuttered High School Campus into Urban Farm

April 24, 2014 |
Urban Farm.at Detroit's former Kettering High School. Image courtesy of Betti Wiggins

School gardens at Detroit public schools provide nutrition for students. Image courtesy of Betti Wiggins

The tale of the crash of the Detroit auto industry and subsequent decimation of the local job market, mass exodus of residents, eventual city bankruptcy has become a great American tragedy. But amongst the ruins of a once thriving metropolis, residents are sowing seeds of hope in the schools and the community.

Since 2010, Detroit Public School officials have been forced to shutter more than 70 schools due to budget cuts and dwindling enrollment. Some have been sold in the struggle to balance the collapsing city budget. But one former school is getting a new life as an urban farm with the help of the Michigan State University Extension and one very dedicated “lunch lady.” Read More