Tag Archives: sustainable agriculture

3 New Urban Farm Projects To Watch

Photo courtesy Growing Local NOLA

The urban farming movement is going strong, with organizers worldwide working to bring food production into urban areas. Urban food production improves city dwellers’ access to fresh food, promotes food justice, and reduces transportation costs. Check out three up-and-coming urban farming projects tailor-made to suit the needs of their communities.

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New Meaning for “Airplane Food”

Farmers market at JetBlue Terminal at JFK airport

A pop-up farmers market at the JetBlue terminal at New York's JFK airport. Photo: JetBlue

While rushing to board your next flight, you might not expect farmers’ markets and urban farms among the airport’s fast food joints, mani-pedi stations, and newsstands. At four U.S. airports, however, travelers are encountering exactly that. Check out how the local food movement has arrived at airline terminals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

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What Is Agroforestry?

Cows grazing in a silvopasture

"Silvopasture," a type of agroforestry, is the integration of trees with animal grazes. Photo: USDA

If you’ve ever sipped a cup of shade-grown coffee, you’ve savored the fruits of agroforestry, the subject of a new USDA report about an age-old practice now used by growers in developing nations to boost production and profits while conserving resources and promoting biodiversity. Using shade trees, an agroforestry practice called “forest farming,” reduces stress on coffee crops, retains moisture, and shelters pest-eating, pollinating critters, all of which means a better product and healthier operation.

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Ag Innovations: Robotic Bug Trackers

Spensa Technologies' Z-Trap in the field

Photo: Johnny Park

Here’s a head-scratching statistic: In 2010, crop growers in the United States lost $20 billion a year due to insect damage despite spending $4.5 billion on pesticide applications. It turns out that agricultural pest management is a surprisingly inefficient system that involves sticky traps, updating spreadsheets, and a lot of legwork.

An Indiana-based startup, has come up with a way to save growers legwork, hassle, and money—and reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on crops—by automating the insect-tracking process. We spoke with Kim Nicholson, Spensa Technologies’ vice president of business development, to learn more about the product and the company.

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Update: Deadline Extended for Cleantech Fellowship

Boston skyline

Photo Credit: Sunset Noir via Compfight cc

Northeast-based cleantech startups have a little more time to enter the fellowship program Sustainable America is producing with Greentown Labs. The competition is open to start-ups engaged in sustainable solutions focused on transportation or agriculture.

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Fresh, Local Produce, Even in Winter

Photo Credit: Jesse W. Dill via Compfight cc

As great as it is to eat local, in most of the U.S. there are certain months of the year when it is difficult, if not impossible, to eat local food fresh from the field. Thankfully, a new crop of food hub entrepreneurs are thinking beyond the growing season by freezing fresh summer produce to sell locally in the winter.

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Lemon Trees for All in San Francisco

A project called Just One Tree has a singular but ambitious goal: to make sure San Francisco can grow all the lemons it consumes. To do this, the community will need to produce 461 tons of lemons annually—that’s a lot of lemons! But Dr. Isabel Wade, founder and executive director of Just One Tree, thinks it’s possible. She’s put together a program to encourage residents to plant new lemon trees and register existing ones to meet the goal.

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What Is Hugelkultur?

Photo Credit: Plant Chicago via Compfight cc

Practiced for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur is the process of making raised garden beds filled with rotten wood. The result is a low-maintenance garden that doesn’t require irrigation or fertilization. Hugelkulture beds have naturally good drainage and produce incredibly rich, fertile soil that retains moisture. It’s also a great way to upcycle woody debris. Hugelkultur is often utilized in permaculture systems and even works in the desert!

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Will Insects Save Our Food Supply?

Insects contain more protein per pound than any meat and are easy to raise with little polluting side effects. Will we all eat insects in the future?

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Food Waste For Fresh Produce

Hello Compost bags

Hello Compost launches a program to help low-income New York City residents trade in their food waste for locally grown fresh produce.

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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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