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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Khristopher Flack

5 Historic Farmers’ Markets Worth Visiting this Summer

June 7, 2016 |
Boston's historic Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Boston’s historic Haymarket. Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A few years ago Seedstock brought you a list of America’s oldest farmers’ markets. This year we’re celebrating the opening of farmers’ market season around the country by giving you five more farmers’ markets with storied pasts that are worth visiting this summer.

Boston, MA: Haymarket/The Boston Public Market

Boston’s Haymarket Square has been a hub of commercial activity since the 1600s, and for the past 150 years, the area near the square has also been host to a weekly produce market that promises the city’s best prices on an international selection of fruits and vegetables. What began as a gathering of hay farmers selling horse feed and mattress stuffing is now a bustling epicenter of straight-off-the-truck produce often sold right out of the box. While the Haymarket produce market isn’t the best place to go to check items off your all-organic shopping list, it is a refreshingly classic, no-frills outdoor market in the heart of America’s oldest city, and an important living monument that endures in an area of Boston that’s been demolished and rebuilt multiple times during the city’s history. Read More

Grassroots Grows Up: Knoxville’s Old City Gardens Looks to Build New Urban Farming Model

May 5, 2016 |
OldCityGardensinProgress-(1)

Crews prepare the Old City Gardens site, expected to open later this month. Credit: Brenna Wright/Abbey Fields Farm

A new Knoxville community garden project is looking to build a new model for urban farm viability by leaning on a triad of private investment, farmers, city government.

Old City Gardens began at the impetus of local business person and state economic development commissioner Randy Boyd, who was eager to see some of the lots he owns in Old City contribute to the area’s green development. He was particularly inspired by Boston’s Fenway Victory Gardens and wanted to find a way to catalyze a similar farm or garden project in Knoxville that could supply local restaurants with fresh produce.

While shopping the idea to a local restaurateur, Boyd was directed to Brenna Wright, owner of Abbey Fields Farm, which has cultivated an urban farm a mile and a half from the Old City site for the past two seasons. Read More

10 Cities Pushing the Bounds of Community Gardening

April 18, 2016 |
Fenway Victory Gardens photo: By M2545 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fenway Victory Gardens Photo: By M2545 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“Community garden” can mean a lot of things–from a neighborhood vegetable plot to a cooperative farming business. As the phrase evolves, Seedstock takes a look at ten cities which, through scale, creativity or a combination of both, are stretching the limits of what community-scale agriculture can accomplish.

Fairbanks, Alaska

You might think of central Alaska as a frigid and snowy place, and it can be. But for about 90 days in the middle of the year, the sun gets up around 4 a.m. and stays up until about midnight, making for a compact, but intense growing season. The Fairbanks Community Garden takes advantage of this, as well as the enthusiasm of Arctic gardeners who want to get outside and put some food by for the winter while they have the chance. With the help of some plastic mulch and other ground covers to warm up cold soils, Alaskan gardeners in this city demonstrate the influence determination can have on our ability to produce our own food. Read More

Anaerobic Alchemy: Cities and Farms Look to Turn Waste into Energy

April 12, 2016 |
BokashiBin

Bokashi Bin source: By Pfctdayelise (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The relationship between manure and agriculture goes back almost as long as agriculture itself. Now it turns out that with a process known as anaerobic digestion, manure and other biodegradable materials may help farms and local governments recycle organic waste into several farm products, including electricity.

Anaerobic digestion is similar to the more familiar composting process, with one key difference. Composting depends on the presence of oxygen to create an environment for beneficial microorganisms that help break down organic matter like manure or food scraps. 

Anaerobic digestion is different; by definition, it needs oxygen to be absent. It also works at lower temperatures, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Read More

Growing Pains: 5 Challenges Facing Urban Agriculture (And How to Overcome Them)

April 5, 2016 |
Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MIUFI

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that implements urban agriculture as a tool for addressing structural food inequality through education and community building. Photo Credit: MIUFI

Urban populations are growing rapidly, and so is the popularity of urban agriculture with city dwellers, chefs, and policymakers. As more people place larger demands on what was originally a grassroots movement, we look at some of the hurdles and how some companies and individuals are addressing them. Read More