Category Archives: Food & Farms

We’re Digging These Techie Garden Tools

FarmBot garden

FarmBot bring precision agriculture to the backyard garden.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or are just getting started, technology is trying to improve on age-old techniques of growing food. We like to think Sustainable America is part of this trend with Shared Earth, a website that helps match up would-be gardeners with people who have land to share. You can use it to find a plot to garden — or someone to garden on your land. Ready to plant? Check out these tech solutions to common gardening challenges.

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How to Start a Shared Garden

Urban garden in full bloom

A Cincinnati couple made an arrangement with a friend to garden in an abandoned lot at his artist studio. Photo courtesy Jen Wendeln.

Are you planning to have a garden this year? Maybe a better question is, are you able to have a garden this year? Interest in growing food has exploded in the last decade, but getting your own plot of tomatoes or cukes going may seem impossible if you lack enough outdoor space or don’t know how to garden. Learn how millions of people are solving this problem through garden sharing.

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‘Farm-to-Court’ Food at the NBA’s Greenest Arena

Chef Michael Tuohy at Golden 1 Center with meat

Executive Chef Michael Tuohy's goal is to source 90 percent of Golden 1 Center's food within 150 miles.

The Sacramento Kings’ new Golden 1 Center has just set the bar very high for sustainability in sports. One aspect of its many environmental features and programs is Chef Michael Tuohy’s mission to source 90 percent of the arena’s food from within 150 miles.

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Stony Creek Colors: A Seed-to-Jeans Story

Stony Creek Colors makes indigo dye for denim in the USA by sourcing natural indigo from farmers in the South

If something can be said to be more American than apple pie, it’s probably blue jeans. Unfortunately, the trademark denim blue color has become dependent upon toxic chemical processes. Natural indigo, the original plant source of that famous blue jean color, has been almost entirely forgotten in the textile supply chain. Stony Creek Colors, our latest investment, is working to bring back natural, American-made indigo dyes and give farmers needed opportunities to grow new, sustainable crops.

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How the Moringa Tree Could Improve Nutrition Worldwide

After moringa leaves are harvested, they are dried and ground.

Lisa Curtis first encountered moringa as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger when a local woman suggested she eat the tree’s leaves to combat fatigue caused by her vegetarian diet. Soon she felt better and became an advocate for the nutritional power of moringa, a drought-tolerant tree that has provided food around the world for thousands of years. Read how Curtis’ company Kuli Kuli, our latest investment, is creating an market for moringa to improve nutrition and livelihoods of women farmers in the developing world.

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White House Recognizes Sustainable Agriculture Changemakers

Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture at the White House

The White House recently honored 12 agricultural leaders as Champions of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture. They were recognized for leading efforts in sustainable agriculture that benefit soil, air, and water quality while helping to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions. Among them was our newest board member, Erin Fitzgerald Sexson. Sexson is senior vice president of global sustainability at Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

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3 New York Restaurants that Grow Their Own Food

Riverpark Farm urban garden

Riverpark restaurant in New York grows its produce in milk crates.

One of my favorite parts of my internship with Sustainable America this summer was that I was encouraged to explore new ideas I was interested in. While I was researching the green roofing trend, I stumbled upon a rooftop farm in New York City called Brooklyn Grange and signed up for a tour. Learning about the farm inspired me to visit some restaurants that are growing their own food in the city. Here are a few interesting eateries I found.

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High-Rise Urban Farming

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm

The view from Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm that covers a 65,000-square-foot building in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Farming may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New York City, but some of its residents have solved the challenge of restricted space by utilizing the city’s most underused space: rooftops. A recent visit to Brooklyn Grange demonstrated how creative farmers today can produce local food no matter where they live.

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Introducing the New Shared Earth

Shared Earth, connects people who have land with people who want to garden or farm

The interest in food gardening is growing like, well, a weed. Many people who want to garden don’t have enough space or time to devote to it. At the same time, we have enough front and back yard space in America—10 million acres–to grow 43.5 million tons of food. Why not match up people who want to garden with people with available land? Thanks to technology, now we can!

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What Everybody Ought to Know About Starting a Farmers Market

Starting a farmers market

All photos by Karyn Leito Photography

Two women started a farmers market in their neighborhood last year, and it’s a big hit with the community. Despite its success, this may be a make-or-break season for Black Rock Farmers Market. Find out why…

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.


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