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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Abbie Stutzer

Belief in Future of Small-Scale Urban Farming Prompts Company to Offer Free Garden Planning App

March 12, 2013 |

Farmscape, a company that installs and maintains urban gardens throughout Los Angeles, CA, decided to take two spectacular things – fresh produce and a dinosaur – and create an app out of them. The app, Agrisaurus, is designed to take the guesswork out of small-scale gardening and farming, and help farmers plan and plot produce sites.

On March 12, Agrisaurus became available for anyone to download. I recently got in touch with Rachel Bailin of Farmscape and Agrisaurus, and found out why Farmscape’s founders thought the app would help gardeners, and how the app works. Read More

From Suburb to Sustainable: Urbavore Urban Farm Brings Fresh Produce to KC

March 7, 2013 |

Brooke Salvaggio and Daniel Heryer, the founders of Kansas City, Mo-based Urbavore Urban Farm. Photo Credit: Urbavore Urban Farm.

Brooke Salvaggio, founder and owner along with husband, Daniel Heryer, of Kansas City, Mo-based Urbavore Urban Farm, started farming in Kansas City when she was 24 years old. She grew up in suburbia, surrounded by fertilized lawns, SUVs and plastic bags. “I was a bit jaded as a teenager,” Salvaggio said.

When she turned 18 years old, Salvaggio started traveling. “I was looking for answers and thought I might find them in older parts of the world,” she said. “I experienced simple living off the land and I was hooked.”

Just a couple of bad seeds

When Salvaggio returned to Kansas City, she started to grow gourmet, market crops on a 1/4-acre and founded BADSEED, a “green” event-space in downtown KC. She sold the produce she grew at farmers’ markets. In 2009, Heryer, co-owner, joined Salvaggio and began working at the farm. Read More

Water Conservation, Passion for Great Food and Sustainability Fuel Family’s Foray into Hydroponics

February 27, 2013 |

Amelia and Ben Von Kennel, owners of Amelia’s Farm in front of their 6,000 square-foot, commercial, hydroponic greenhouse. Photo Credit: Amelia’s Farm.

A simple passion for great tasting food and sustainability fueled the founding of Amelia’s Farm, a hydroponic farm based in Bells, Texas. Amelia Von Kennel, co-founder and executive vice president, and Ben Von Kennel, co-founder and chief executive officer, established the Farm in October 2011. The couple sold their house in Dallas, Texas, and moved their family ranch to Bells, Texas. Since the move, the Von Kennel’s focus has concerned strengthening the Amelia’s Farm brand, and building a 6,000 square-foot, commercial, hydroponic greenhouse. The Farm grows pesticide-free, non-GMO produce all year round.

I recently had a conversation with Amelia Von Kennel. She discussed how the couple started farming, why she and Ben value healthy food and how the Farm stays sustainable. Read More

High School Teacher Brings Aquaponics and Sustainable Agriculture to the Classroom

January 28, 2013 |

Kevin Savage, High School Science Instructor at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Photo Credit: Kevin Savage.

Try to imagine how a normal, modern-day, high school science classroom looks. If your mind fills with images of beakers, microscopes and memories of dreaded, early-morning labs, then the classrooms of Kevin Savage, a high school environmental science teacher at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Cincinnati, OH, may surprise you. While teaching at the private school, Savage filled his classes with unique tools including aquariums, fish and plants that he uses to teach his students.

Savage, who originally worked in environmental consulting, began teaching chemistry at the school three years ago. Savage now teaches an environmental science AP class and a senior elective that focus on sustainable and urban agriculture, and aquaponics. Read More

Kansas City Urban Ag Org. Supports City Farmers While Growing Healthy Communities

January 22, 2013 |

Since 2005, Cultivate Kansas City (Kansas City, Kan.), formally known as the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, has helped farmers manage urban farms. The organization started small and has steadily grown over the past eight years. Cultivate KC now manages two farms, and helps support multiple urban farmers and gardeners.

I recently spoke with Ami Freeberg, community outreach coordinator at Cultivate Kansas City, about the organization. Freeberg discussed how Cultivate KC has evolved and how the organization continues to help urban farmers thrive. Read More