Home to over 80 food trucks, approximately 25 mini-farmers’ markets, seven large farmers’ markets and 200 community food-producing gardens, the City of Minneapolis continues to lead the country in fostering urban agriculture and local food businesses.
“Community gardens make people work side by side,” says Jane Shey, coordinator of Homegrown Minneapolis, a city-led urban agriculture initiative that launched in 2009.
“It’s a community building exercise and I don’t think we can underestimate the value of that.”
Seedstock’s “Grow Riverside” Sustainable Agriculture Conference Enhances Event with Nationally Known ExpertsFebruary 26, 2014 | seedstock
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Spearheading the movement to assist cities develop more urban sustainable farming within their environs, the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference continues to expand its stellar program lineup with notable authorities in resource management, agricultural growth strategies and public policy. The March 19-20 event presented by Seedstock in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside will be held at the Riverside Convention Center.
Appearing as opening night keynote is Richard Conlin, who created Seattle’s local food initiative while serving as a City Councilmember. Conlin will talk about how to develop and establish urban sustainable agricultural policies – from land-use to funding efforts.
“Local food policy is a key element in creating environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and improved public health,” Conlin said. “I hope my experience can help provide guidance on how to put this into practice.”
In the fall of 2009, on the 30th anniversary of Los Angeles County’s first farmers’ market, then mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa announced a task force of community stakeholders to draft a healthy sustainable food agenda for the county.
Out of that task force came the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, which held its first official meeting in 2011.
The mission of the organization is to make Southern California a Good Food region for everyone—where food is healthy, affordable, fair and sustainable. LAFPC has five full-time staff members, one part-time staff member and two interns. They provide resources for small business owners, residents and policy makers throughout Los Angeles County, and are funded by private philanthropic groups, nonprofit in-kind matching funds and the countless volunteer hours of their many supporters.
Although Cleveland, Ohio is known as a rust belt city, it’s also located in the prime agricultural lands of eastern Ohio.
Now, through policy initiatives and partnerships, Cleveland is tapping into its geographical bounty.
During the Great Recession, foreclosures impacted already struggling neighborhoods in the city, and food deserts increased after grocery stores left these areas.
But on the flip side, more land became available for green space.
An Urban Agriculture and Green Space Zoning Ordinance had been adopted by the city in 2005, but at first, the city was primarily focused on parks and recreation facilities. The agriculture aspect of the ordinance began to gain traction in 2007 as the city began to allow farming uses through zoning. In 2009, zoning rules were further modified to allow most city residents to keep chickens, ducks and rabbits, as well as beehives. Now, people in the city may also raise goats, pigs and sheep.
Ten Acre Organics began as the abstract vision of a few friends in Austin, Texas.
“We wanted to use social capitalism to make a positive impact,” says Michael Hanan, co-founder. “We started looking at where the greatest opportunities to do that were. We saw that growing and sharing the healthiest food possible was really one of the biggest challenges and biggest opportunities facing our generation.”
Hanan and fellow classmate Lloyd Minick began the farm in earnest in 2012. Currently, the farm is housed on a tenth of an acre residential plot in Austin. Although it is tiny, the startup hopes its method of integrated, closed loop farming that combines field plants, aquaponics, live animals and a small CSA can act as a model for productive urban farming around the nation.
“We don’t farm, we don’t run CSAs, and we don’t manage community gardens,” says Green Chips executive director Rick VanDiepen. “But we offer data that supports and encourages all of these activities.”
The four-year-old organization grew from informal brainstorming sessions between Las Vegas casino sustainability executives. The group eventually sought out specific projects to devote their collective energy to, and Green Chips was born. The organization views itself as a public-private partnership with funding from public and private entities, such as the City of Las Vegas, local casinos and utilities. Its board includes representatives from public television, the visitor’s authority and local nonprofits.
Jack Waite, founder of Agua Dulce Farm in Austin, Texas, is truly is a jack-of-all-trades.
By combining his varied background in accounting, engineering, botany and nonprofit management, he has realized his dream of running an aquaponics farm. In recent weeks, this interesting startup reached full operational capacity. Along the way, the farm’s journey has been tested with challenges and sprinkled with luck.
After looking everywhere inside Austin’s city limits for a potential facility, Waite was fortunate enough to find a friend who had a friend who had an unused three-acre farm in the city limits. The owner wanted to contribute to the sustainable ag movement but wasn’t able to do it personally. Waite entered into a very reasonable 30-year lease and began turning the land into a viable aquaponics farm.
Press Release – Seedstock today announced Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41) as the opening day luncheon speaker for the “Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond!” conference. The March 19-20 event, to be held at the Riverside Convention Center, will assist cities in examining and developing solutions to reconnect with their agricultural roots as well as evaluate potential economic and public health benefits of sustainable urban agriculture.
Representative Takano presently serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs and the Science, Space and Technology committees. Prior to being elected to Congress, Takano spent 23 years as a high school teacher in the Inland Empire and more than 20 years on the Riverside Community College Board of Trustees. The Congressman, an advocate of “slow food” – an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 – will share his perspective on this fast food alternative and the quest to preserve traditional and regional cuisine through the farming of plants and seeds characteristic of the local ecosystem.
“The progressive sustainable urban farming innovations to be presented at this event will prove an invaluable asset to Riverside and its environs,” said Congressman Takano. “I am greatly impressed with the forward-thinking leaders of this historically rich agricultural region and look forward to witnessing the future success of the collaborations that are certain to be generated as a result of the Grow Riverside conference.”