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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Trish Popovitch

Armed with a Trowel, VSAT Program Aids Veterans in Launching Sustainable Startups

May 30, 2013 |

“We believe the next wars are going to be over food and water. So who better to train than our military in water conservation and food production?” – Karen Archipley

Archis+Acres+LogoReturning military often find themselves struggling to return to normality after serving overseas. Colin Archipley, co-owner of Archi’s Acres in Escondido, CA knows exactly how they feel. He served three tours of duty during the Iraq War that began in 2003. Between his second and third deployment, Colin, along with his wife Karen, bought an inefficiently run avocado farm. Besides starting their own very successful living basil hydroponics farm on the site, the empathetic couple created an incubator for transitioning veterans. What they created became known as the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training or VSAT program, a way to help veterans train for self-employment in the peaceful profession of hydroponic farming. Read More

Archi’s Acres and the World of Living Basil

May 30, 2013 |

“We wanted something that was sustainable, but was a really good deal for the customer. We call it bioponic. That means we use all organic practices. We have a definite crop production and we are always sold out.” – Karen Archipley

Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi's Acres. Photo Credit: Archi's Acres.

Karen and Colin Archipley of Archi’s Acres. Photo Credit: Archi’s Acres.

While deployed in Iraq, Colin Archipley used his down time to work on the avocado farm he and his wife Karen bought back in 2006. “His whole mission was to save our farm,” remembers Karen. The farm was purchased between Colin’s second and third assignment in Iraq. When he wasn’t out battling the tension in Haditha, Colin was on the phone figuring out how to make his farm successful. The desire to make a positive lasting difference in the world was hampered by outrageous San Diego water rates. They had to find a way to reduce their $845 water bill and make their farm efficient and sustainable. A switch to bio hydroponic agriculture, a change of main product and the luck of partnering with some big names in the world of organic food and Archi’s Acres was well on its way. Read More

Urban Homesteaders with a Mission: Yisrael Family Farm

May 28, 2013 |

yisrael family farmAs a culture we have become so disconnected from our food. The sustainable agriculture movement is making strides to rectify the matter, but there is so much work still to be done. For those living in the inner cities, access to organic local food is even more difficult with few neighborhood outlets for healthy produce. That’s why the work of urban farmer, Chanowk Yisrael and the Yisrael Family Farm is one step closer to local access of fresh fruits, vegetables and honey for the folks of the Oak Park community in Sacramento.

The Yisrael family farm began in 2007 when Yisrael started to look at the economic fear that was mounting across the globe. “I’m sitting in my cubicle… and at that point there was a lot of fear mongering going on. You know: ‘everything is going to crash,’ ‘it’s the Great Depression Part 2,’ ‘we only have 60 days left,’ ‘run for the hills,’ that type of stuff,” remembers Yisrael. Read More

Stanford’s FEED Collaborative: Academics and the Food System Collide

May 23, 2013 |
Matt Rother, co-founder of FEED Collaborative. Photo Credit: Feed Collaborative.

Matt Rother, co-founder of FEED Collaborative. Photo Credit: Feed Collaborative.

Currently, the world’s food system is in a state of flux. Small growers across the globe attempt to impact their local communities by producing organic food that challenges traditional food production. The students of Stanford University’s FEED (Food Education Entrepreneurship Design) Collaborative intend to impact the food system in another way: human centered design.

Matthew Rothe of Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design explains the FEED Collaborative’s approach to fixing the global food system. “We believe that human centered design is a powerful process for uncovering the unmet needs of people and for unlocking the creative problem solving potential of its practitioners. Coupled with the domain knowledge of our collaborators and opportunities for social entrepreneurship, we believe human centered design is the most compelling opportunity we have for driving the level of innovation needed to transform our food system.” Read More

Thinking Past Yourself: Farm Succession Planning

May 20, 2013 |

suzies farm landscape“Farming requires you to work and think in long time lines. You start looking at farm management as a generational timeline. So if it would take me 20 to 30 years to really understand all the wisdom that my father had and then also to realize that in order for our daughter to understand the dynamics and really learn the lay of the land will take her 20 years to 30 years.” –David Mas Masumoto Masumoto Family Farm

As more and more folks turn to small farms as a lifestyle choice they often don’t think about the bigger picture. It’s a wonderful notion to help preserve America’s farmland now, but what about the future? Who will take over the farm when you pass away or retire? Farm succession planning is a really important part of modern farming and something every grower needs to think about and deal with no matter their acreage or what crops they grow. America’s farms must become multi-generational to survive. Are you prepared? Read More