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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Urban Farming

Young Leaders in Ag: Tyson Gersh Blends Ag Innovation With Passion For Social Justice

September 2, 2014 |
Tyson Gersh. Photo by David Sands.

Tyson Gersh. Photo by David Sands.

Tyson Gersh works out of a rustic office in a rehabbed building overlooking a majestic urban garden in Detroit’s North End neighborhood. Lined with flowers, the farm bursts with an abundance of organically grown herbs and vegetables. A nonprofit called the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative oversees the field. Gersh, a 25-year-old-college student, is its president.

He established the all-volunteer organization in 2012 with fellow U-M student Darin Mcleskey to provide fresh healthy food to low-income families and to support the local community. Beyond growing food, its mission involves fixing up nearby buildings, converting some into ag-related structures like a retention pond and others into assets like a community center and veterans’ housing. Volunteers are also working on tech, developing data metrics they believe will help other urban ag projects grow. Read More

Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference’s Urban Farm Field Trip to Tour Diverse Local Food Operations in Los Angeles

August 21, 2014 |

reintegrate agriculture urban logoAttendees 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. Read More

Detroit Produce Peddlers: Delivering Fresh Food on Two Wheels

August 14, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Rising Pheasant Farms

Photo courtesy of Rising Pheasant Farms

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. Read More

Five Urban Farms Tackling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

July 31, 2014 |
Photo source: RecoveryPark

Photo source: RecoveryPark

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. Read More

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

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