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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Urban Agriculture

Urban Ag Curriculum for High School Students is Growing Gardeners in Portland, Oregon

July 2, 2014 |
Students work the land in the Madison High School community garden. Image courtesy of Madison High School.

Students work the land in the Madison High School community garden. Image courtesy of Madison High School.

From seed propagation to food justice, Susan Weincke has all the bases covered in her urban agriculture curriculum. Teaching at North Madison High School in Portland, Weincke blends practical experience with plant science to bring sustainable agriculture to a new generation of urban dwellers.

After working on educational and commercial farms and owning her own landscaping business, Susan Weincke became the Garden Coordinator at Madison High School in 2010. Through the government’s Career and Technical Education program, Weincke became a co-teacher at the school, assisting in science education. Today, having completed her Master’s in Education, Weincke is the agriculture teacher for Madison, using a school garden and outdoor classroom to bring her lessons on sustainability to students in grades 9 through 12. 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

Raleigh’s First Urban Farm Built with Volunteers and Elbow Grease

June 27, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Raleigh City Farms

Photo courtesy of Raleigh City Farms

Raleigh City Farms, in Raleigh, North Carolina, was founded for a simple reason – the city didn’t have any urban farms.

In 2010, after the founders settled on a vision of what Raleigh City Farms would become, and the farm received its 501(c)3 status, and they began looking for land.

It took the original founders some time to find the farm’s land, and once they did, they had to get it rezoned for agricultural use. Finally, in 2012 they broke ground and by March 2012, volunteers came to the new farm’s site to start distributing compost.

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Living the Sustainable ‘Dream’ in Pittsburgh, P.A.

June 24, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Mindy Schwartz

Photo courtesy of Mindy Schwartz

Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery started operating in 2001 after founder Mindy Schwartz began acquiring and remediating vacant properties in Pittsburgh. Once the lots were fixed, she started gardening.

Hannah Reiff, Garden Dreams’ production manager, says that when the farm and nursery first began to operate, they didn’t sell much. In fact, Garden Dreams’ start was quite humble – the organization was just selling off some extra tomato seedlings. Now, though, the operation is impressive. Read More

Colorado-Based Agriculture Firm Fosters Sustainable Suburbia

June 6, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Matthew “Quint” Redmond.

Photo courtesy of Matthew “Quint” Redmond.

“Agriburbia” is a land-use concept that epitomizes the motto “home is where the farm is” by combining agricultural production and suburban development. The concept was devised by Matthew “Quint” Redmond who owns an agriculture consulting firm called AgriNetx LLC which aims to create agriburbia throughout the country and world.

In 1997, Quint and his wife Jenny used their education in Environmental Planning to start a design and engineering firm called TSR Group Inc. In 2003, they were hired to design a new subdivision and convinced the owner to let them incorporate food into the community’s design. This particular subdivision was never built because of the economic downturn, but Quint and Jenny Redmond continued to pursue their passion for suburban agriculture. 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

Frenchtown’s Facelift: Tallahassee Urban Youth Farm Flourishes

May 29, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of iGrow Farm

Photo courtesy of iGrow Farm

A center of American jazz and African American arts since the Civil War, Tallahassee, Florida’s Frenchtown suffered under the weight of the 1980s street drug culture, notorious for violent crimes and directionless youth.

Today, through the efforts of teachers, volunteers and passionate young people change is most certainly afoot. The Tallahassee Food Network’s urban youth iGrow-Whatever You Like program and its Dunn Street Youth Farm offers character development, healthy food options and sustainable agriculture education, a trifecta that’s transforming lives in this historic neighborhood. Read More

Seattle Urban Farm Design Firm Helps City Dwellers Grow Food

May 14, 2014 |
 Crops for Clunkers. Designed for a garden show, now in a children’s playground Photo credit: Hilary Dahl, all rights reserved to Seattle Urban Farm Company

Crops for Clunkers. Designed for a garden show, now in a children’s playground
Photo credit: Hilary Dahl, all rights reserved to Seattle Urban Farm Company

Innovators Colin McCrate and Brad Halm met in college after years of working in agriculture and began their Seattle-based sustainable startup back in 2007. Offering customers carefully designed edible landscapes for their city dwellings, Seattle Urban Farm Company filled a growing service sector need, carving out a niche industry that serves a sustainable lifestyle.

“I suppose landscaping seemed like the closest thing to farming that you can do in an urban setting—the ornamental aspect of it was engaging but growing crops is what I was passionate about so I combined the two,” says McCrate, who studied agriculture back in Ohio and came to Seattle just as sustainability began making strides into popular culture. Read More