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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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5 Organizations Dedicated to Addressing Food Equity

June 26, 2018 |
Reclaimed food. Source: FoodForward.

Reclaimed food. Source: FoodForward.

Food equity is emerging as one of the most important social justice issues influencing the modern food system. It’s jarring that people throughout the United States are still unable to easily access healthy local produce when processed chips and soda can be bought at every corner store.

So Seedstock wanted to take the opportunity to recognize five organizations that are doing everything possible to get healthy, local produce in the hands of everyone who wants to eat well—no matter their location in a city.

1. Massachusetts Avenue Project & Growing Green

The Massachusetts Avenue Project & Growing Green’s (MAP) beginnings date all the way back to 1992. Although the Buffalo, New York organization’s start was modest—it was first classified as a “block club”—it is now a thriving nonprofit dedicated to growing food that nourishes while beautifying and bringing the neighborhood it resides in together. Although the organization has evolved over the years, it still aims to build food equity, while also engaging young people. Read More

‘Resources are the Real Money’ at Last Organic Outpost Urban Farm

June 25, 2018 |
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The Last Organic Outpost is a nonprofit farm and social entrepreneurship incubator, based in Houston’s 5th Ward. Photo courtesy of Last Organic Outpost.

Joe Icet has a message for humanity: the world is in sad shape, and we’re here to lift it up through sustainable agriculture. His friends have even dubbed him a “land evangelist” because of his passion in talking to students and community members about the power of positive land stewardship.

“This is the ‘Disneyland of Sustainability’, haven’t you heard?” he asks as he guides visitors around a slightly hidden farming campus in Houston’s Fifth Ward residential neighborhood.

This retired union pipe fitter has made sustainable and organic farming his life’s mission. He founded The Last Organic Outpost, a nonprofit farm and social entrepreneurship incubator, in 2004. Since then, he has built up a thriving community education program and urban farm on less than two acres of land. Read More

10 American Cities Lead the Way With Urban Agriculture Ordinances

June 21, 2018 |
Residents of Boston's Dudley neighborhood participate in a raised bed community garden build day at the DNI Community Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Dudley Neighborhood Inc.

Residents of Boston’s Dudley neighborhood participate in a raised bed community garden build day at the DNI Community Land Trust. Photo courtesy of Dudley Neighborhood Inc.

Small growers and urban farms are springing up across the nation, but many cities lack the infrastructure, zoning laws and foresight to truly leverage this transition.

Over the past several years, however, city governments, often working with local stakeholder groups and food policy councils, are changing that. Urban agriculture ordinances help light the way for would-be urban farmers, providing guidance and a sense of legitimacy.

Here is Seedstock’s list of ten cities leading the way with innovative urban agriculture ordinances that provide a blueprint for a new economic future grounded in sustainable food production in urban centers. Read More

Building Soil from Scratch, Two Brothers Embark on Urban Farming Odyssey

June 19, 2018 |
Finca Tres Roble / Small Places urban farm in Houston is situated on a 1.25 acre lot on the city’s East Side. The for profit urban farming venture grows organic herbs, fruits and vegetables to be sold to individuals and restaurants directly from the farm and area farmers markets. Photo courtesy of Small Places LLC.

Finca Tres Roble / Small Places urban farm in Houston is situated on a 1.25 acre lot on the city’s East Side. The for profit urban farming venture grows organic herbs, fruits and vegetables to be sold to individuals and restaurants directly from the farm and area farmers markets. Photo courtesy of Small Places LLC.

The 2008 Farm Bill opened the door for new farmers and ranchers by allocating $75 million annually to launch the USDA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. New farmers jumped into the program to start small, limited resource farms and ranches, and Congress increased funding to $100 million annually in the 2014 Farm Bill.

The 2014 bill also established a USDA microloan program to lend up to $50,000 to small farmers who may not qualify for traditional commercial loans.

Brothers Thomas and Daniel Garcia-Prats know a little something about starting a new farm from scratch. They founded Finca Tres Robles/Small Places, LLC, a small urban farm in east Houston, in 2014. The farm sits on an acre of land surrounded by industrial buildings and low income residential housing. Read More

9 Female Urban Farmers Setting the Tone for Sustainable Cities

June 18, 2018 |

In cities across America, the female farmer is staking her claim. Whether she is an urban homesteader, farm manager, business founder, community garden leader or maker of a movement, the female city farmer is rising. Role models for what can be done, inspiration for what can be achieved and hope for what comes next, these female growers are planting seeds of change in the urban agriculture movement. Read More