The U.S. industrial farming system has largely left natural fertilizers behind in favor of chemical-based fertilizers in the search for more efficiency and higher yields. But there’s a downside to increased productivity – chemicals strip the soil of its nutrients and damage the natural biome. Farmers have known for millennia that manure, compost and other organic matter benefit the soil. But solid organics are heavy and difficult to spread over the millions of acres of farmland that need it.
We’ve recently invested in a company with an exciting product that gets around both of these problems. Read more about California Safe Soil’s new Harvest-to-Harvest liquid fertilizer made from food waste.
This month, Sustainable America will welcome the arrival of its new Omega Garden, an innovative rotary hydroponic system, which will serve as one of three indoor, urban agriculture demonstration units showcased in our new Stamford office. Its innovative design gets up to 3.5 times more in harvest per plant, without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. Now that’s impressive.
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.
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.
In recent years, an international movement to embrace “ugly” produce has taken root. The idea is simple – by using the edible, but slightly less beautiful fruits and vegetables that are typically discarded, we can decrease food waste and feed more people. Some of the U.K.’s biggest supermarkets have embraced this concept. Here in the states, while some charities and food banks have been doing this kind of work for years, many American businesses are just starting to consider the problem and potential of ugly produce.
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!
Earthships are structures made from old tires and bottles, produce all the energy they need to operate, recycle water for multiple uses and grow food on site. What could be more sustainable than that?
This week, scientists revealed the result of a two-year project that cost Google founder Sergey Brin $325,000 – a single hamburger. But this isn’t just any burger, this is the world’s first in-vitro burger. Grown in a lab, using stem cells from a cow shoulder muscle, this burger is being hailed as the future of food by many.
The trend of trayless dining took root several years ago based on the belief that the absence of trays leads diners to make more careful choices and waste less food. Now there is solid data to prove that trayless dining not only reduces food waste, but also saves money and conserves water and energy.
In the continued effort to find more efficient ways to feed a growing global population that is increasingly concentrated in urban areas, many individuals and businesses are turning to aquaponics as a super-efficient urban farming solution. And who doesn’t want to make our food system more efficient?