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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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A Nonprofit Farms Rooftops of Nation’s Capital with Triple Bottom Line in Mind

May 3, 2018 |

Located in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Rooftop Roots is a social enterprise taking the restrictive needs of a city littered with zoning laws and height restrictions as a challenge worth going vertical for. Designing, installing and maintaining custom gardens on rooftops, and creating community gardens across the city, Rooftop Roots is helping to build the conversation on how the nation’s capital utilizes its green spaces.

“We’re a nonprofit landscaping company but instead of mowing lawns we build gardens and maintain gardens for residential, commercial and community partners,” says Thomas Schneider, Executive Director of nonprofit Rooftop Roots.

After discovering their dream of office buildings with built up gardens on top was practically impossible to achieve with D.C.’s height restrictions, Rooftop Roots had to rethink its business plan. “We won’t only put gardens on roofs but we’ll put gardens in every nook and cranny and urban landscape we possibly can,” says Schneider. Read More

‘Insurgent Architecture’ Students Built a Mobile Greenhouse to Overcome Urban Farming Challenges

May 1, 2018 |

It is believed to be a world first: a fully functioning greenhouse on wheels that plugs in much like an RV and that could offer up solutions to some of urban farming’s biggest challenges. The mobile greenhouse prototype, which goes by the name GrOwING GREEN, was born of a collaboration between architecture students at Ball State University and Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology (CUE). It has already been recognized by the American Institute of Architects with a state award for excellence in architecture.

Timothy Gray, a professor of Architecture at Ball State, whose fourth year students designed and constructed the mobile greenhouse, points out that the mobility aspect opens up a world of possibilities, including the idea of bringing the farm to the people. As stated on their website, the prototype, “lends itself to the shifting and temporal nature of the urban farm.” Read More

Growing Pains: 5 Challenges Facing Urban Agriculture (And How to Overcome Them)

April 30, 2018 |
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MIUFI

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MIUFI

Urban populations are growing rapidly, and so is the popularity of urban agriculture with city dwellers, chefs, and policymakers. As more people place larger demands on what was originally a grassroots movement, we look at some of the hurdles and how some companies and individuals are addressing them. Read More

Earth BioGenome Project Could Hold Solutions for Agriculture’s Future

April 26, 2018 |

News Release – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering in the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP), biology’s version of the moonshot, an effort that will yield millions of powerful new solutions to agriculture’s challenges.

EBP is an international cooperative initiative to sequence during the next 10 years the DNA of more than 1.5 million species—those more complex than bacteria—representing the world’s biodiversity. The initiative was highlighted in a recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article. Read More

Plants are Great at Storing CO2. These Scientists Aim to Make Them Even Better.

April 25, 2018 |

This article was originally published on ensia.com.

Researchers around the world are working to improve plants’ ability to combat climate change.

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Many strategies aimed at mitigating global warming involve huge shifts in human behavior: stop burning coal for electricity, stop driving gas-powered cars, stop destroying rainforests. These are all necessary — and all involve complex political, cultural and socio-economic hurdles for humans. But what if we could also change the behavior of a far more pliant group of organisms, those that consumethe carbon dioxide we emit? It’s a demand-side approach to reducing the threat of climate change, and lately it’s been gaining some extra research steam: capturing and storing that excess carbon by boosting the capacity of nature’s own carbon-storing technology, plants.
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