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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Dry Farmed Crops from Little Organic Farm in Petaluma, CA Earn Plaudits from Top Chefs

July 26, 2013 |

little organic farmDavid Little of The Little Organic Farm in Petaluma, Calif. first began farming to help some childhood friends nearly 20 years ago. He had been working as a contractor and hated it so when his buddies inherited a couple ranches he jumped at the chance to head for the country and try something new. He stayed on for about a year before striking out on his own with a few acres of potatoes. Today, Little farms over 60 acres of land in plots scattered around Marin and Petaluma. Read More

More Than Just a Pig Farm, Jake’s Country Meats Bridges Gap Between Food Production and Consumption

July 18, 2013 |

Jake’s Country Meats is more than just a pig farm—it is a family legacy. After six generations of raising pigs in the Michigan countryside, the Robinson family has developed a special connection to the land and remains dedicated to their mission of bridging the gap between food production and consumption.

According to the Robinson’s youngest daughter Renee, her father, Nate Robinson, has pig farming “in his blood” and he does a top-notch job of raising his Heritage breed pigs on pasture.

Renee, who came back to work on the farm after earning a degree in Marketing from Western Michigan University, takes part in all aspects of the family business. Read More

In Aquaponics, Texas Cattle Ranchers Find Solution to Drought and Time

June 13, 2013 |
The tilapia greenhouse with separate containers for different fish maturity levels. Photo Credit: Scott Aquaponics

The tilapia greenhouse with separate containers for different fish maturity levels. Photo Credit: Scott Aquaponics

Cattle farming is just about as far apart from aquaponics as you can get, but for one family in Devine, TX, the switch from one to the other was the logical choice.

“We wanted to utilize our small acreage for something that my husband and I could both work on.  We wanted a business that we could capitalize on without having to go too far from our home, and we wanted to make it sustainable.”

Peggy and Richard Scott had been classic Texas cattle ranchers for over a decade, but more frequent droughts and a desire for change pushed them in a new direction. Read More

From Performance Art to Local Food Systems Technology

May 24, 2013 |

Local Orbit, an Ann Arbor, MI-based tech startup that facilitates the distribution of local, sustainably farmed food, is the brainchild of Erika Block, a trained playwright, theater director and technology consultant whose interest in food systems traces it roots to a performance art piece that never was called A History of Eating.

“While doing research for the project I started to learn about food systems,” says Block.  “I said ‘hey, there’s some fundamental infrastructure problems and through the work I’d done (on other art projects) I’d become pretty engaged with mapping and social technologies and ways that you can connect people to collaborate in terms of storytelling online.” Read More

High Altitude Organic Farm Thrives on Product Diversity, RSA and Business Model Innovation

March 26, 2013 |

Sierra Valley Farms owner, Gary Romano. Photo credit: Sierra Valley Farms.

Sierra Valley Farms has found that by being open to new ideas, keeping farming practices simple and diversifying its products, farming sustainably can be successful and rewarding, according to owner Gary Romano.

“I’m a third generation farmer,” Romano says. “My family were flower growers in the Bay Area. My mom’s side of the family were cattle ranchers in the Sierra. When I was a kid growing up, I was raised on the flower farm. We did it the old-fashioned way—allowing cover crops to grow, hand weeding—the natural way. I took that model to use here and it works.”

In 1990, Romano bought the last 65 acres of his family’s ranch, located in the high Sierra of Plumas County, California and decided to turn it into a farm. It was a three-year process for Sierra Valley Farms to become Certified Organic, the only organic farm within 100 miles, according to Romano. Read More