A road trip to Oregon farmland crystalized a new business idea for partners Craig Wichner and Jason Bradford. “It was very clear farmland was a great asset and that it was basically being underutilized,” says Wichner, “that growing monocrops was operationally efficient, but it was the worst way to get returns from farmland itself.” With investment and the use of sustainable agriculture templates, they developed Farmland LP, a system of livestock, vegetable and grain rotations that could both reclaim land for organic farming and turn a profit.
One of the critical hurdles that farmers in urban areas face is access to affordable land for growing food. The concept of a multi-locational or decentralized farm is an elegant solution to growing food in diverse urban and suburban settings. It seems that more and more farms are using the multi-locational model. We found quite a few successful operations in Canada in particular.
For people who work late hours and have families to manage or long commutes, finding the time to shop at farmer’s markets or pick up a CSA box is often not feasible. So a lot of people who otherwise would love to have easy access to local fresh food get left out of the equation. A growing number of organizations are trying to bridge this gap by bringing CSAs directly to workplaces, which is a boon to all involved: workers, employers, and local farmers.
The second-annual Locavore Index, which ranks states in terms of access to locally produced food, was released recently by Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local food advocacy group. The rankings compare the number of farmers markets, CSAs and food hubs on a per capita basis. Like last year, Vermont came out on top by a landslide, which shows that it is possible for a state to build a thriving local food system. Also, like last year, we used the data to make an infographic. How does your state stack up?
Oprah is known for starting contagious trends, and some hope that her decision to grow food on 16 acres of her Maui estate will spark a trend in local food production nationwide.
Ron Finley wants everyone to understand “growing your own food is like printing your own money.” The group he founded is LA Green Grounds. Their mission: “Growing, working, teaching: changing turf into edible gardens in South Los Angeles.”
Gleaning is the practice of gathering food that is left behind after harvest, usually to feed those in need. Modern-day permutations of this ancient practice are bringing food to the hungry and reducing food waste in America.
A diverse food system is a more secure food system. With extreme weather and other pressures on our food supply, age-old practices like seed sharing are becoming more important for the future.