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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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urban agriculture policy

Land Values Lynchpin to Large-scale Adoption of Urban Ag

February 28, 2012 |

The following is a guest post from Dan Allen, the CFO of Farmscape Gardens, a Los Angeles-based organic garden installation and maintenance company that since its founding has become the largest urban farming venture in Southern California.

In a guest post for Seedstock on Friday, Roxanne Christenson argues that urban agriculture must professionalize if it is to keep growing, creating jobs, and providing quality food for urban residents. Her observation is a good one, as even a casual survey of urban farming ventures reveals that non-profits outnumber for-profits by a wide margin. And I agree with her conclusion regarding the potential benefits of urban agriculture training programs:

“The time is ripe for the professionalization of urban agriculture. It will then not only deliver the social and environmental benefits touted by the advocates, but it will also be an industry that generates significant economic benefits as well.”

However, I take issue with Roxanne’s prescription for how we get there. She argues that the missing link is business training, along with financial and management strategies to pair with agricultural expertise. Read More

Sustainable Ag Startup Sees Aeroponic Technology as Key to Re-integrating Agriculture into Urban Environs

February 14, 2012 |

Eating locally within a hundred mile radius is certainly an impressive feat. But imagine the convenience of picking fresh produce from a farm that’s only a hundred feet away, or even ten, while still living in a crowded city.

The Waters Wheel, a Los Angeles-based company, aims to do just that by bringing the farm to your doorstep or rooftop by using aeroponic tower farms – recirculating systems that use clean recycled water in place of soil to grow food. Read More

In Creating Fleet of Sustainable, Urban Farmers, Milwaukee-based Growing Power Seeks to End World Hunger

February 13, 2012 |

Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power, Inc., has a straightforward goal – to end world hunger.

“It’s a lofty goal, but that’s how things should be,” said Allen, a sharecropper’s son who was a professional basketball player when he rediscovered his love for agriculture. “The only way to end world hunger is the local food system that we used to have. … Everybody would buy local food if it was available. We don’t have the infrastructure right now, so one of the things I wanted to do is prove that this could be done and this could be cash-flowed.” Read More

Against Tide of Antiquated City Ag Laws, Sustainable Urban Flower Farm Flourishes In Los Angeles

February 10, 2012 |

Valentine’s Day finds most romantics dashing to the neighborhood florist for a fresh bouquet of flowers for their sweetheart. But roses that have been doused with toxic pesticides and shipped half way across the globe, hardly inspire romance, especially for the environmentally conscious consumer. Thankfully, Tara Kolla of Silver Lake Farms in Los Angeles, dedicates herself to growing and selling locally-grown, organic flowers for those who like to keep it green even when they’re wearing red.

Kolla’s commitment to growing flowers sustainably, and the obstacles she has faced in doing so, has even helped change gardening laws in Los Angeles to allow more people to grow and sell fruits and flowers. Read More

Roof Agriculture – An Old Concept Comes to Boston in a New Form

January 31, 2012 |

This is a guest post from John Stoddard, a Founding Farmer of Higher Ground Farm in Boston. Higher Ground is currently seeking a 25,000+ square foot roof space for a farm.

Can you hear mooing coming from the Common? Listen closely: it’s distant. Like 200 years in the past distant, but it’s there – part of the spirit of Boston. It’s easy to forget in our modern local foods movement that urban agriculture is not a new idea.  Yes, dairy cows and sheep once grazed the Boston Common, and the victory gardens of the first and second World Wars were successful in producing millions of pounds of food. Read More