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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Study: For Food-Waste Recycling, Policy is Key

August 18, 2017 |

Successful programs aren’t limited to well-off towns with strong environmental movements.

This story originally appeared on MIT News

Food scraps. Okay, those aren’t the first words that come to mind when you think about the environment. But 22 percent of the … Read More

Atop a Parking Garage in a Staten Island Residential Development, an Urban Farm Builds Community and Thrives

August 14, 2017 |

Empress Green Inc. co-founders Zaro Bates and Asher Landes at their farm stand. Photo courtesy of Empress Green Inc.

Sometimes, the best laid plans do not always work out, and for Zaro Bates, co-founder and proprietor of Empress Green Inc., this small deviation from her plan would come to encapsulate her life in every facet.

Empress Green Inc. is an urban farming business specializing in organic food production, education, and consulting. Bates and her husband, Asher Landes, started the company in 2016, shortly after moving into the residential development Urby, a 500+ apartment complex that sits on the north shore of Staten Island, New York. The couple built and now maintain a 4,500-square-foot urban farm on top of one of the complex’s parking garages between two of the main buildings.

“During a 3-year development consultancy, we evolved several green roof and urban farm concepts that would be attractive shared amenities for the residents,” Bates says. “We decided on an intensive green roof urban market garden with a Farmer-in-Residence to manage the farm and run workshops and events for the community.” Read More

USDA Awards Nation’s Largest Grant to Expand California Healthy Eating Program to More Farmers’ Markets

August 8, 2017 |

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) and its partners a $3.9 million Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant – the largest in the country. FINI grants are designed to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka SNAP, formerly food stamps).

“We are thrilled to be selected for a federal FINI award,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “The program is a triple win for California – it supports the health of our low-income shoppers, our farmers, and the local economy.” Read More

USDA and SCORE Launch Innovative Mentorship Effort to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

August 8, 2017 |

News Release – DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with officials from SCORE, the nation’s largest volunteer network of expert business mentors, to support new and beginning farmers. Today’s agreement provides new help resources for beginning ranchers, veterans, women, socially disadvantaged Americans and others, providing new tools to help them both grow and thrive in agri-business.

“Shepherding one generation to the next is our responsibility. We want to help new farmers, veterans, and people transitioning from other industries to agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue. “They need land, equipment, and access to capital, but they also need advice and guidance. That’s what SCORE is all about.” Read More