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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

July 2, 2015 |

seedstock1 How Good Is Your Food? These Two Brothers Are Reshaping Sustainable Food, Starting In Aisle One| Forbes

Excerpt: Picture yourself in the grocery store, wheeling a cart along a linoleum grid divided by walls of mainstream food products.

2 Some rays of hope at Sustainable Foods Institute | Napa Valley Register

Excerpt: You could expect the worst at the Sustainable Foods Institute, the media-oriented counterpart to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s consumer Cooking for Solutions program: drought, climate change, pollution, endangered species, antibiotic-resistance. Read More

Few Illinois Farmers’ Markets Equipped to Accept EBT, Study Finds

July 2, 2015 |

 

by Julianne Tveten

 Information is entered into an EBT payment processor after the card is swiped.  Credit: Illinois Farmers Market Association

Information is entered into an EBT payment processor after the card is swiped.
Credit: Illinois Farmers Market Association

On the USDA website, a search tool allows users to search for locations that accept payments via electronic benefits transfer (EBT)–more colloquially known as food stamps. Type in any area in the U.S. — whether Salem, Fargo, or New York City–and you’re likely to find at least ten drugstores, supermarkets, delis, or convenience stores nearby that accept payment through EBT.

One type of food resource, however, is largely missing from the results: farmers’ markets.

According to the USDA, an estimated 70 to 75 percent of farmers’ markets throughout the country weren’t accepting EBT as of 2014. It’s a notable gap–and one that a team of researchers in Illinois seeks to bring to light. Read More

D.C.’s First Commercial Rooftop Farm Opens

June 30, 2015 |

by Rose Egelhoff

Up Top Acres’ farm at Oyamel. Photo courtesy of Up Top Acres.

Up Top Acres’ farm at Oyamel. Photo courtesy of Up Top Acres.

Something’s growing atop D.C. restaurant Oyamel. Seedlings poke young leaves out of four inches of soil. The new green roof, which opened in May, is part of Up Top Acres, a network of rooftop farms.

Up Top Acres, founded by Kathleen O’Keefe, Kristof Grina and Jeffrey Prost-Greene, installs and farms green roofs around the city. They hope to partner with D.C. restaurants to offer fresh, local produce. At the same time, their green roofs provide energy savings and stormwater retention for the buildings where they are located, and the farms can be community centers for education and events. Read More

Countryside Initiative Invites Homesteaders to Work the Land at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

June 29, 2015 |
Photo courtesy of the Countryside Conservancy

Photo courtesy of the Countryside Conservancy

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in Peninsula, Ohio, has nine homesteaders who reside on the Park’s land.

The CVNP has housed a non-profit farm conservancy since 1999, and recently, the conservancy opened up its program to new farmers once again.

The Initiative is inviting aspiring homesteaders and farmers from across the United States to apply to reside on the land’s two new vacant plots.

“The Countryside Initiative was first conceptualized by former CVNP superintendent, Jon Debo,” Tracy Emrick, partnership manager of the Countryside Conservancy, says.

Read More

Weiser Farms Dinner Raises Funds for New SoCal Grain Hub

June 28, 2015 |
Photo by Rose Egelhoff

Photo by Rose Egelhoff

by Rose Egelhoff

The spread is irresistible. A bevy of Los Angeles star chefs has been cooking all day, using grains and produce fresh from Weiser Family Farms. A Santa Barbara winemaker portions pours small glasses of a bright, sweet white wine to accompany appetizers. Sixty-two guests mill around the barn and a long, white-clothed table, framed by rows of apple trees, has been set for dinner. Read More

Sustainable Ag + Food News: Seedstock’s Weekly Roundup

June 25, 2015 |

seedstock1 Land agreement aims to increase sustainable agriculture in Loess Hills

Excerpt: Fifty-three acres of farmland and oak tree savannah in the Loess Hills will be farmed sustainably as part of an agreement between an area landowner and a budding nonprofit organization. Read More

Proposed Ordinance in Pittsburgh Looks to Get Urban Agriculture Out of the Coop

June 25, 2015 |
The City of Pittsburgh will look at a proposed ordinance that would streamline the permitting process of raising chickens, goats and ducks in the city limits. (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Pittsburgh will look at a proposed ordinance that would streamline the permitting process of raising chickens, goats and ducks in the city limits. (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Even though raising chickens is legal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, city residents who want to own these birds have had to deal with cumbersome regulations. But thanks to a new proposed ordinance, this may change.

The previous law, passed in 2011, required Pittsburghers to fork over $340 and undergo a hearing process lasting for several months. Hence, only 13 people in the city have successfully applied for a chicken-raising permit.

Yet many chickens call Pittsburgh home but fly under the radar, according to Shelly Danko+Day, an open space specialist with the City of Pittsburgh. Read More

Award-Winning Film Reveals Incredible Amount of Transport Food Waste on U.S.-Mexico Border

June 24, 2015 |
Sustainable planting, much of which involves heirloom and heritage varieties, takes place in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Man in the Maze, a film that highlighted food waste in southern Arizona, also tells the story of the people who are rescuing and reclaiming a strong food and farming culture in this region. (photo courtesy of Phil Buccellato/Greener Media)

Sustainable planting, much of which involves heirloom and heritage varieties, takes place in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Man in the Maze, a film that highlighted food waste in southern Arizona, also tells the story of the people who are rescuing and reclaiming a strong food and farming culture in this region. (photo courtesy of Phil Buccellato/Greener Media)

A vast tide of fruits and vegetables continually flows up from origins in Mexico to the United States through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. And an astounding percentage of this produce ends up in landfills before even hitting the market.

Thanks to an award-winning film, Man in the Maze, the immense and costly problem of food waste in southern Arizona is being brought to light.

Man in the Maze, produced by Greener Media, a New York City-based enterprise committed to social change, tells the story of food waste and how it impacts the borderlands region in southern Arizona. Read More

Food and Agriculture Play Significant Role in City of Los Angeles Sustainability pLAn

June 22, 2015 |
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has spearheaded a new sustainability plan for his city. (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has spearheaded a new sustainability plan for his city. (photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Los Angeles, known for its extensive freeway system and broad boulevards, fast food, car culture, lawn-filled suburbs and smog, is getting serious about sustainability—and the effort includes local and sustainable food and agriculture.

When Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti took office, he created a Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and appointed Matt Petersen as the city’s first chief sustainability officer. Now, Los Angeles has a comprehensive sustainability pLAn. Many factors, including water conservation, livable neighborhoods and waste management, naturally intersect with food and agriculture objectives. Read More

Women in Food & Ag: Rancher Christina Traeger’s Deep Respect for the Land

June 21, 2015 |

Christina Traeger is accustomed to hard work. After all, she runs a cattle ranch.

Traeger has to be tough to survive

Christina Traeger. Photo courtesy of Christina Traeger

Christina Traeger. Photo courtesy of Christina Traeger

on her own and make certain her farm animals are happy and healthy. While she has faced a lot of hardships over the years, she’s quite content with her decision to become — and stay — a female rancher in Minnesota.

Traeger grew up on a dairy farm about a half-mile down the road from Rolling Hills Traeger Ranch in Avon, Minnesota. Rolling Hills was first owned and operated by her great uncle, but after he was injured in an accident, she bought the ranch and started looking for a breed of cattle to tend. Read More