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.
Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Conference Enhances Offering; Adds Keynote and Rooftop Garden TourOctober 8, 2014 | seedstock
Committed 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.
Farmscape Gardens is California’s largest urban farming company, bringing edible gardens to residential and commercial customers alike. The sustainability focused company has reach over 300 clients since its inception in 2009. A recent expansion into the Bay area reflects the growth of the local food market and the success of the Farmscape business model.
“We have a lot of two-income households with kids for whom it’s really important to have access to fresh food in their lifestyle and access to a dynamic landscape, because vegetable gardens change every day, but they don’t have the time to do that. We step in and fill that void,” says Dan Allen CEO of Farmscape Gardens.
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.”
Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference’s Urban Farm Field Trip to Tour Diverse Local Food Operations in Los AngelesAugust 21, 2014 | Robert Puro
Attendees 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.
While Detroit’s urban farming movement has been generating excitement for more than a decade, the city’s bicycling scene has been turning heads lately as well. Over the past few years, new bike lanes have sprung up on Motown’s streets and cyclists have shown up in the thousands for mass rides like Slow Roll and Tour de Troit. At the intersection of these two worlds is Rising Pheasant Farms, a small family operation on the city’s east side.
Covering about three quarters of an acre, Rising Pheasant Farms encompasses a crop field, family garden, greenhouse and small fruit grove adjacent to the home of Carolyn Leadley, Jack VanDyke and their children, Rowan and Finn. With the help of two part-time workers, the couple harvests an assortment of vegetables including chard, kale, peppers and tomatoes, as well as microgreens and a smattering of berries and asparaguses.
The impact of the school-to prison pipeline is stark: zero-tolerance policies in struggling, school districts result in many students, mainly low-income, African American males being incarcerated at high rates, according to this infographic from the American Civil Liberties Union .
The U.S. incarceration rate is the highest of any country in the world, and this rate is particularly high for urban cities throughout the country. Once incarcerated, individuals re-entering the world and workforce struggle to find employment, because of their criminal record. This added barrier can lead many who have a history of incarceration to turn back to alternative economies that often end them back up in America’s prison system.
Seedstock Names Former CA Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, as Sustainable Ag Conference KeynoteJuly 23, 2014 | Robert Puro
(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.”