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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though farmers don’t blindly follow outmoded aphorisms of the trade, like measuring corn “knee-high by the Fourth of July”, many do still abide by old habits. Some apply manure annually in November regardless of weather or land conditions. Many do their best to adapt to the season’s rainfall, yet treat all their farmland the same way, regardless of how that land varies across acreage. And that hurts their bottom lines—and the environment. A new technology, however, has the potential to push farming forward by helping farmers grow more with less impact on the environment.
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.
After 12 years of profiting from the energy and agriculture markets, I resigned my position as a hedge fund portfolio manager last year. Now, as the founder of Sustainable America, I devote a material portion of my time and net worth to helping make our nation’s food and fuel systems more resilient. Here’s why
In many parts of the country, locally available fresh produce is strictly limited by the seasons. But despite the dearth of fresh produce in winter, you can still round out your diet with locally sourced foods like the 10 listed in our infographic below. You might have to do a little research to find them all in your area, but your effort will be deliciously rewarded.
With the global demand for calories expected to grow by almost 50% over the next 40 years, the question on many minds is how to produce enough food to feed the world population. Though crop yields in the United States have grown in the last decade, they must continue to grow — and some farms are starting to use precision agriculture to do just that.
Did you know there are 10 million acres of front and back yards in America—enough to produce 43.5 million tons of food—but only 35 percent of U.S. households grew food in 2012? Growing where you are gives people the power to eat healthier and revitalize their communities, but many gardeners lack the land they need, and those with the land don’t always know what to do with it.