The word ‘sustainable’ tends to get thrown around in the marketplace, which can be confusing to consumers who want to make conscientious food choices. That’s not the case when it comes to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Through their farmers market, education and outreach programs, and framework of sustainable best practices, they’re helping set the standards for what the word can and should mean.
CUESA’s mission is to cultivate a sustainable food system by educating urban consumers and creating connections between them and local producers. Since 1999, CUESA has managed the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, a successful thrice-weekly market that requires its vendors to meet strict guidelines.
Farmers in Iowa who are considering adding new crops to their offerings now have an online tool at their disposal to help them estimate market demand. Using an array of government statistics, the Iowa Fruit and Vegetable Market Planner estimates the demand for 80 crops in state and in bordering states. The Market Planner, which became available for use last fall, is the result of a collaboration between the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the Institute for Transportation at ISU.
Dan Gibbs, CEO of San Diego, CA-based vertical organic farming startup Home Town Farms, doesn’t believe he’s introducing a new company, but an entire industry that will benefit consumers, the environment and the future of sustainable agriculture.
“Urban farming isn’t new, vertical farming isn’t new, but vertical urban farming is new,” said Gibbs.
Seedstock Digest: A Farm in a Backpack, Software to Empower Sustainable Farmers, Affordable Drip Systems for Smallholders and more!July 2, 2011 | seedstock
Start your weekend off right and grab a coffee, donut, or maybe some eggs and settle in for a healthy helping of Seedstock. Today’s digest features a farm that fits in a backpack, local food systems software that gives sustainable farmers greater access to the larger food supply chain, an affordable drip irrigation system for smallholder farmers, and a unique 30 acre greenhouse operation that profits from and promotes organic growing.
To continue to grow and expand the local food marketplace will require innovative web-based solutions that provide consumers with greater access to producers and vice versa. One company at the forefront in this area is Santa Cruz, CA-based LocalHarvest, which since its formation in 1998 has focused on the development of a range of online products to strengthen consumers’ personal relationships not only with the food that they consume, but also with the sustainable farmers who produce it.