Home to the University of Kansas and the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas is in the midst of developing a thriving local food and urban agriculture movement.
In 2010, the county formed a Food Policy Council to identify opportunities, challenges and benefits for a sustainable local food system.
Eileen Horn, sustainability coordinator for Douglas County and the City of Lawrence, serves on the Council with 24 others, including farmers, representatives from food retail establishments, Kansas State University Extension, Lawrence Public Schools, the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market and the Douglas County Health Department.
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.
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.”
Getting through the first season as a new farmer can be daunting, but Perpetual Harvest owner Frazer Love faced the challenge with a commitment to organic growing.
As Love explains: “When we contribute positively to our community, our community sustains us as a naturally created cycle.”
Love took a chance when he left his job in October 2012 to become a micro farmer. A micro farm, according to Love, is an urban plot of land no bigger than 4 acres dedicated to producing fruits, vegetables, and, at times, poultry.
To start his farm, Love built twelve 16-square-foot raised beds on his home property in Athens, GA, and installed a custom irrigation system featuring a feeding barrel for compost tea and ball valves on each bed to control water flow.
New and Noteworthy Speakers Added to Slate for Urban Ag-Focused ‘Grow Riverside’ Conference on March 19 – 20January 29, 2014 | Robert Puro
Notable experts in urban agriculture, new farm financing, local food systems development, vegetable crop cultivation, food hubs and digital technology have been added to what’s shaping up to be a blockbuster slate of speakers for the Urban Ag-focused Grow Riverside: Citrus and Beyond! Conference (http://growriverside.com), which will be held at the Riverside Convention Center on March 19 – 20, 2014 in partnership with the City and Community of Riverside.
The conference will focus on the development of urban agriculture and local food system strategies and solutions that cities, Riverside in this particular case, can use to reconnect with their agricultural roots and create economic opportunities that investors, citizens, growers, government officials and other major stakeholders can leverage to foster a robust and sustainable local food future.
Aaron Quesnel has lofty goals for his Vancouver company Sky Harvest, but to reach them he needs to start at ground level.
The ultimate goal for Sky Harvest is a 12,000 square foot rooftop greenhouse that will grow a variety of produce. For now, though, the startup is working staying close to the ground, laying a foundation and making a name for itself.
“Seeing how your food is produced is pretty important,” says Quesnel. “Sky Harvest wants to do that on a large scale, on a rooftop greenhouse with lots of interest and attention.”