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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

April 24, 2015 |

seedstock1 The Financial Reality of “Sustainable Farming” in Oregon (GoLocalPDX)

Excerpt: When it comes to finances, sustainable agriculture isn’t all that sustainable. Community-supported agriculture (CSA)—a model where customers buy a whole season of food from one farmer—does hedge some risk for farmers but you certainly won’t get rich doing it. Read More

Gardeners in DeKalb County, Illinois Set Their Sights on Food Hub

April 23, 2015 |
Greenhouse-grown plants are almost ready to be planted outside in DeKalb County, Illinois. Several people with DeKalb County Community Gardens are exploring the possibility of a new food hub in DeKalb County. (photo courtesy of Dan Kenney/DeKalb County Community Gardens)

Greenhouse-grown plants are almost ready to be planted outside in DeKalb County, Illinois. Several people with DeKalb County Community Gardens are exploring the possibility of a new food hub in DeKalb County. (photo courtesy of Dan Kenney/DeKalb County Community Gardens)

A possible new food hub is on the horizon in DeKalb, Illinois.

Dan Kenney of DeKalb County Community Gardens came up with the idea after seeing the success of community gardens in the county. The countywide community garden project kicked off in 2012, and now boasts 40 different locations.

“We try to promote local food and local farmers, and we heard that food hubs are a key component in local food,” Kenney says.

He believes that a food hub located in DeKalb County, located west of Chicago in the northern part of the state, would have a major advantage just due to its geographic location. Interstate 88 (which runs east and west) and Interstate 39 (north and south) traverse through the county, which is in relative close proximity to Chicago, the Illinois-Wisconsin state line and the Mississippi River. Kenney is also encouraged at the success of food hubs elsewhere in the state, including Peoria and Chicago. Read More

USDA Under Secretary, former CA Agriculture Director to Address Future of Local Food Conference

April 22, 2015 |
avalos kawamura

(from right to left) A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003 – 2010); and Edward Avalos, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA

(Riverside, CA) – Edward Avalos, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, and Arthur “A.G.” Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, have been added as featured speakers for the 2nd Annual GrowRIVERSIDE Conference: The Future of Local Food, conference organizers announced today.

The inclusion of these nationally known experts intensifies an already strong line-up of sustainable urban agriculture experts, city planners, farmers and others slated to speak at the June 11-13 event. Presented by Seedstock in partnership with the City of Riverside, the conference fosters the growth of a sustainable local food and agriculture system that directly benefits Riverside as well as provides blueprints that communities across the country can utilize, officials said. Avalos and Kawamura join Mark Winne, a nationally recognized expert in community food policy and systems, as conference featured speakers. Read More

Michigan Food Innovation Hub Fosters Collaboration between Local Food Producers

April 22, 2015 |
Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Photo credit: Rob Sirrine

Local food producers in Northwest Michigan are entering an era of collaboration thanks to the emergence of the Grand Traverse Food Innovation Hub. The food hub is an important step toward a more connected and cooperative local food community in the region and is in the early stages of bringing diverse local food companies together to share a workspace and possibly more, if everything goes according to plan. Read More

NYU Urban Farm Lab Teaches Important Lesson in Urban Ag

April 21, 2015 |
NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU Urban Farm Lab

NYU’s Urban Farm Lab is not your typical classroom, but for students at NYU’s Food Studies program, it’s where they learn one very important lesson: how to grow food in the big city.

The Urban Farm Lab was the inspiration of NYU graduate student Daniel Bowman Simon who thought there should be an urban garden on campus. Unfortunately, the administration didn’t agree— at least not at first. But after five years of campaigning, Bowman Simon and members of NYU’s Food Studies Department got the administration on board, and the NYU Urban Farm Lab was born. Read More

Instead of a Golf Course, a Farm is the Centerpiece of a New North Carolina Subdivision

April 20, 2015 |
Rick Bagel, developer of Wetrock Farm in Durham, North Carolina, stands in the middle of preserve forest in his new development. (photo courtesy of Rick Bagel/Wetrock Resources, LLC)

Rick Bagel, developer of Wetrock Farm in Durham, North Carolina, stands in the middle of preserve forest in his new development. (photo courtesy of Rick Bagel/Wetrock Resources, LLC)

Imagine a housing development built around green space. But instead of a golf course or park, a farm is at the community’s centerpiece. This concept is becoming reality in Durham, North Carolina.

The feature amenity of Wetrock Farm, with 141 home sites, will be a 15-acre sustainable farm managed by professionals. Organic fruits and vegetables will be grown at the farm, which will host a farm stand and space for educational and recreational programs. Residents will enjoy access to the locally-grown produce, and will be able to participate in the growing of food as much as they desire. Developer Rick Bagel also hopes to attain organic certification for the farm. Read More

Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

April 17, 2015 |

seedstock1 CSU report suggests Front Range could become ‘the Silicon Valley of agriculture’ (CSINDY.com)

Excerpt: Boulder and Denver have become hubs for tech start-ups, and the northern Colorado region is dotted with widely respected scientific research institutions.

2 Local foods: Red hot, but undefined (Politico)

Excerpt: The Agriculture Department really wants American consumers to buy local foods. Whatever that means. Read More

Bugs for Dinner: Big Cricket Farms Find Niche in Edible Insect Farming

April 16, 2015 |
Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Kevin Bachhuber. Courtesy of Big Cricket Farms

Rich in protein and requiring relatively few resources to raise, the United Nations says insects should be on our plates.

Though bugs make up part of a healthy, diverse diet in many non-Western cultures, Americans and Europeans generally consider eating insects to be disgusting, even ‘primitive.’ But a growing movement by edible insect enthusiasts like Kevin Bachhuber is looking to change this perception.

Eating certain types of insects is common is Thailand, where Bachhuber picked up a taste for them in 2006 while traveling. Fried crickets are a common bar food, and though “it feels a little Fear-Factor-y at first,” he says a couple beers help wash them down the first time. From then on, he says, “They’re really good!” Read More

Riverside Food Systems Alliance Aims to Get Results from Local Food and Agriculture Policy

April 15, 2015 |
ers of the Riverside Food Systems Alliance meet regularly. On April 16, the Alliance will present an action plan regarding the promotion of local food and agriculture to the Riverside City Council for formal adoption. (photo courtesy of Diana Ruiz)

Members of the Riverside Food Systems Alliance meet regularly. On April 16, the Alliance will present an action plan regarding the promotion of local food and agriculture to the Riverside City Council for formal adoption. (photo courtesy of Diana Ruiz)

When consultant Richard Conlin attended the inaugural GrowRIVERSIDE conference in 2014, he talked to people about the many ideas involving Riverside’s Greenbelt that never materialized. Conlin, who has a history of helping members of a community and stakeholders hammer out policies, offered to help make some of these ideas a reality. They accepted his proposal, which resulted in the Riverside Food Systems Alliance (RFSA).

The RFSA started meeting last September, and on April 16, it will present its action plan to the Riverside City Council for formal adoption. Read More

Q&A: City Councilmember Andy Melendrez on the Importance of Sustainable Food and Agriculture to Riverside, CA

April 13, 2015 |
Riverside City Council Member Andy Melendrez is a support of Grow Riverside and of sustainable food and agriculture in the city. (photo courtesy of Clarissa Cervantes/Riverside City Council)

Riverside City Council Member Andy Melendrez is a support of Grow Riverside and of sustainable food and agriculture in the city. (photo courtesy of Clarissa Cervantes/Riverside City Council)

Riverside City Council Member Andy Melendrez is a supporter of Grow Riverside and local foods, and is enthusiastic about educating Riverside residents on the importance of local and sustainable food and agriculture.

In an effort to provide more education to the public about the importance of sustainable agriculture in Riverside and the surrounding communities, Melendrez started a lecture series on healthy sustainable living. The first lecture, on genetically modified organisms, took place on Nov. 6, 2014.

Seedstock caught up with Melendrez to ask him his thoughts about food and agriculture in Riverside, his hopes for the Grow Riverside conference, and more.

Seedstock: Why did you decide to launch a lecture series? How is that going, and what are your future plans for these lectures? Read More