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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Urban Farming

New York City’s Edenworks Advances Urban Aquaponics with Custom Ecosystems

March 29, 2015 |
Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

Edenworks Farmstacks are customized for the crop they support. (photo courtesy of Jason Green/Edenworks)

New York City resident Jason Green wanted good local produce available in his city on a year-round basis. Concluding that other New Yorkers wanted the same thing, he addressed this insufficiency with aquaponics.

Desiring a more intimate relationship with food, Green was already gardening in his apartment window box. But in order to grow local produce year-round in New York City, he knew that a new sort of infrastructure was needed.

So Green, along with co-founders Ben Silverman and Matt La Rosa, founded Edenworks, which utilizes vertically-terraced, closed loop, modular aquaponic ecosystems. Read More

A Sustainable Food One-stop Shop: New Orleans Business Combines Urban Farm and Grocery Store

March 25, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hollygrove Market & Farm.

Hollygrove Market & Farm (HM&F) has shortened the food distribution chain to zero by combining an urban farm with a grocery store.

For many area residents in New Orleans’ 17th Ward, HM&F is their only source of affordable, local fresh food. HM&F goes out of its way to provide healthy food choices by letting customers choose from purchasing  single items or CSA-style food boxes.

HM&F began as part of the Carrollton-Hollygrove Community Development Corporation. In the past they have enjoyed support from area organizations including the New Orleans Food & Farm Network and the Master Gardeners of New Orleans. Read More

Iowa State University’s Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit Helps Communities ‘Start the Conversation’ on Local Food Systems

March 10, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

Photo courtesy of University of Iowa’s Community Design Lab

A new Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit produced by the Iowa State University’s  Community Design Lab offers communities the planning tools necessary to prioritize and ignite urban farming projects. Created with the support of a grant from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, the Toolkit includes process, practice and case studies to help jump-start local urban agriculture programs.

Courtney Long is a fellow for the Community Design Lab and facilitator of the urbanism toolkit program. Read More

Toronto Aquaponics Startup Works Toward a ‘New Normal’ in Local Food Production

March 2, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

Photo courtesy of Aqua Greens.

Pablo Alvarez and Craig Petten are Toronto natives with a combined 40 years of experience in the food industry. By starting  a new aquaponic farm in their home city, the co-founders hope to both increase Toronto’s food stability and increase people’s connection with their food.

Alvarez and Petten first discovered aquaponics during their time at Humber College, where they majored in Sustainable Energy and Building Technology. After 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Toronto, the pair founded Aqua Greens. As Petten explains, their work in hospitality allowed them to see first hand the lack of connection between food and its source. Read More

Southern California Farmer Strives to Build Community and Food Sovereignty

February 23, 2015 |
Hop Hopkins is co-founder of Panther Ridge Farm, located near Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. (photo courtesy of Hop Hopkins)

Hop Hopkins is co-founder of Panther Ridge Farm, located near Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. (photo courtesy of Hop Hopkins)

Panther Ridge Farm is a four-year-old, first-generation family farm in the foothills of Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. Founded by farmer and community organizer Hop Hopkins and his wife, Adalila Zelada-Garcia, the farm is focused on sustainable organic (non-certified) agriculture.

A variety of items are grown and raised at Panther Ridge Farm, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, heritage fowl and bees. A prime aim at the farm is to help increase food sovereignty, especially for poor people and those impacted by degradation of the land.

A second objective is education, which is fulfilled through the farm’s Outdoor School, where children and families learn about agriculture and the wilderness through hands-on, experiential programs. Participants learn how the natural world connects and sustains all living things, and the link between nature and agriculture is emphasized. Read More

Long Beach Co-op Looks to Build Sustainable Physical and Mental Landscapes

February 5, 2015 |
Image courtesy of Foodscape

Image courtesy of Foodscape

Ryan Serrano was 22 and freshly graduated from California State University, Long Beach, when he founded Foodscape in 2011.

The journey took a winding road toward its present incarnation. At first, Serrano immersed himself in social issues in college, and saw how food access can be a symptom of social dysfunction as well as a catalyst for social change. The key, he believes, is sustained and easy access to healthy, sustainable and affordable food.

Read More

Irvine, California’s “Great Park” Delivers on the Potential of Municipal Urban Agriculture

February 2, 2015 |
Image courtesy of the City of Irvine, California

Image courtesy of the City of Irvine, California

Known as the “First Great Metropolitan Park of the 21st Century,” the City of Irvine’s 1,300-acre “Great Park,” is living up to its ambitious goals.

Created on the grounds of the former El Toro Naval Base, the park’s focus on promoting a relationship between local residents, sustainable food systems and community green space provides an example of how far a city can go to foster sustainable agriculture. Read More

West Palm Beach’s First Urban Farm Serves Local Food Deserts

January 5, 2015 |
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Stewart W. Bosley Jr. Image courtesy of Urban Growers Farm

In West Palm Beach, 18.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, compared with 14 percent for Palm Beach county and 14.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole. The city is also home to a large proportion of the county’s 27 federally designated food deserts. Residents live in a stark contrast to the area’s natural abundance of fresh produce, with limited retail and transportation options to grocery stores.

However, this is all about to change. Read More