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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Five Urban Farms Tackling the School-to-Prison Pipeline

July 31, 2014 |

The impact of the school-to prison pipeline is stark: zero-tolerance policies in struggling, school districts result in many students, mainly low-income, African American males being incarcerated at high rates, according to this infographic from the American Civil Liberties … Read More

Detroit After-School Program Teaches Youth Business Of Food

July 30, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Detroit Food Academy

Photo courtesy of Detroit Food Academy

Food entrepreneurship as an after-school activity? Over the last few years, Detroit Food Academy has been making exactly this a reality for young people in the Motor City.

With help from local educators, schools and food businesses, the nonprofit project teaches food preparation and leadership skills to Detroit high school students through after-school programming. Youth participants learn what it’s like run their own business and get a chance to whip up recipes and debut them at a pop-up-style event. Graduates of DFA’s fall-through-spring school program also have the opportunity to apply for summer internships. Read More

Seattle Farmer Creates Web-based Direct Sales Marketplace for Organic Produce

July 29, 2014 |
Janelle Maiocco, farmer, chef and food blogger, founded Seattle-based Farmstr in September 2013. (photo courtesy of Janelle Maiocco/Farmstr)

Janelle Maiocco, farmer, chef and food blogger, founded Seattle-based Farmstr in September 2013. (photo courtesy of Janelle Maiocco/Farmstr)

Seattle-based farmer, chef and blogger Janelle Maiocco founded Farmstr in September 2013 as an online marketplace centered on sustainability. Through its web site, customers can purchase food and produce directly from sustainable farmers, ranchers and fishers. The young startup announced a $1.3 million capital raise in May, 2014.

Through Farmstr, customers benefit because they can buy high-quality, locally-produced food for (often) less than its retail price. And producers benefit, as local farmers who largely operate on a small scale are able to sell their offerings in a timely manner.

Maiocco, a Seattle resident, has roots in dairy farming, and agriculture played a significant role in her growing-up years. A self-professed foodie, she is a trained chef and writes extensively about food and agriculture on her blog, “Talk of Tomatoes.”

Read More

Higher Growing: 12 University Programs in Sustainable Food and Farming

July 28, 2014 |
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Students at Williams College in Williamsport, Mass. tend the on-campus Parsons Garden in early spring. The garden is a source of produce that will be used for campus dining services. (photo by Brent Wasser)

While the study of agriculture was once mostly limited to land-grant universities, an increasing number of institutions of higher learning, both private and public, large and small are now addressing this subject with a sustainability bent.

Here’s a a sampling of colleges and universities with sustainable food and farming offerings: Read More

This Week in Sustainable Ag: Seedstock’s Weekly News Roundup

July 25, 2014 |

seedstockHere’s a roundup of what’s new and interesting this week in the world of sustainable agriculture:

California universities to start sustainable agriculture programs
Source: Reuters
The ten-campus University of California announced a new sustainable agriculture initiative to include local food purchasing, new courses on growing in drought conditions, and more scholarships for agriculture students. Read More

Inspired by the City of Tulips, New York Businessman Launches Mobile Growing System

July 24, 2014 |

Growtainer_Exterior_CGI_trans1It was on a business trip to Amsterdam that Glenn Behrman, a savvy New Yorker with business dealings across the globe, saw the future of agricultural production at the indoor farming research facility of PlantLab.

When he returned to the States, he and his partner and friend of 35 years Alan Helene got to work creating a mobile growing system called Growtainer that he believes could change the world of agriculture. Read More

Seedstock Names Former CA Secretary of Agriculture, A.G. Kawamura, as Sustainable Ag Conference Keynote

July 23, 2014 |
AG Kawamura

A.G. Kawamura

(Los Angeles, CA, July 23, 2014) Seedstock today announced that former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (2003-2010) Arthur Gen “A.G.” Kawamura, will deliver the keynote address at the 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”

The program, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 11-12, 2014, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of robust local food systems.

“As a progressive urban farmer, A.G. Kawamura has had a lifetime of experience working within the shrinking rural and urban boundaries of Southern California,” said Seedstock co-founder Robert Puro. “With his extensive knowledge of California’s agricultural landscape, and the challenges and opportunities associated with the development of strong local food systems, he will bring a unique and enlightening perspective to our conference audience.” Read More

Students Develop Commercial Hive Sensor, Allow Keepers to Bee Informed of Bee Health

July 23, 2014 |
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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Engelsma

When academic theory meets real world application, the possibilities are endless. Just ask Jonathan Engelsma, professor of computer science at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Engelsma, with fellow faculty John Ferris and Anne Marie Fauvel, aided students in the creation of a digital beehive scale and software application. The SolutionBee application, about to hit the apiary supply market, provides beekeepers with an opportunity to help scientists research the serious issue of bee health. Read More

Michigan Market Serves Neighborhood with Incubator Kitchen, Indoor Market and Online Food Hub

July 22, 2014 |
Photo Courtesy of Allen Market Place

Photo Courtesy of Allen Market Place

Local food growers, consumers and entrepreneurs in the Lansing, Michigan area have had good cause to celebrate as of late. Last September, Allen Neighborhood Center, a community development agency that doubles as Mid-Michigan’s nonprofit food hub, opened the doors of a warehouse they’d spent months renovating.

Located directly behind their community center on the city’s northeast side, that building, the Allen Market Place, now serves as an incubator kitchen and indoor market. It’s also linked to an online market called the Exchange, that connects regional farmers and food producers with commercial and institutional buyers in a 75-mile range of Lansing. Read More

Tennessee Church Finds Ministry in Hydroponic Farming

July 21, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Cedar Point Church in Maryville, Tennessee started growing its hydroponic garden for two reasons: to develop a program offering a sustainable and healthy food source to its church family, and to build a sense of partnership between church members and the community.

While the garden is still in its early stages (it was started about three months ago), Kurt Steinbach, the church’s lead pastor is enthusiastic about the growing produce. Currently, Harvest Farms Co-op, the name of the church’s hydroponic gardening operation, grows several varieties of tomato, bell pepper, hot banana peppers, Anaheim peppers, green leaf lettuce varieties, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. In late June, the co-op was preparing for its first harvest. Read More