The business case for local food
As social businesses, co-operative retailers such as John Lewis, East of England and Lincolnshire, as well as hundreds of community-owned stores, are at the forefront of providing local choices for their consumers. The need is evident with a recent survey showing 36% of shoppers have bought products from their local area or region in the past month. And 78% said they would buy more British food if it was available, according to research and training charity IGD. Co-Operative News post.
This startup buys old shipping containers and turns them into urban hydroponic farms
This 13-year-old shipping container in the middle of a field in Beijing’s Shunyi district might not be easy on the eyes, but it’s shaping up to be a godsend for the tongue. On the inside, it’s been completely renovated to house a fully automated hydroponic farm with 1,600 heads of lettuce, celery, and other leafy greens for human consumption. The facility was designed and built by the three founders of Alesca Life Technologies, a Beijing-based sustainable agriculture startup. The team spent an entire year designing the unit for maximum efficiency and output. They just conducted their first full harvest about three weeks ago. Tech in Asia story.
As organic’s authenticity halo fades, consumers turn to local food
With 73 percent of consumers now buying organics, the category remains strong, but its authenticity halo has lost some luster. Local now speaks to consumer desires for a food system with integrity. It’s evolving from a niche into a powerful category in its own right and is poised to surpass organic as a symbol of trust and transparency. Findings from The Hartman Group’s new report, “Organic & Natural 2014,” explain what organic means to today’s consumers and why local holds such appeal. Hartman Group post.
Here’s What It Looks Like When Tinder Meets the Local Food Movement
Tech veterans Duane Dahl and Cindy Henry first partnered to help daters find what they were looking for on Perfect Match. Now they want to connect farmers and consumers over, say, a ripe Brandywine tomato—equally swoon-worthy. Their website, Agrilicious, wants to connect users with their local ag economy, and they want to make it click-of-the-mouse easy. The goal for a site devoted to all things local food, Dahl explained, is to make mainstream a widespread yet fragmented conversation happening at kitchen tables, in corner breakfast joints, and at white tablecloth paeans to fine dining: Where did our food come from? Take Part story.
Good Eggs Raises $21 Million from Index Ventures to Deliver the Farmer’s Market to Your Door
Good Eggs is kind of like Instacart, but purely for locally sourced organic and sustainable meats, produce, and other goods. It offers up a marketplace to enable customers to buy from nearby farms and vendors, but then handles all the logistics associated with packaging up their orders and handling delivery. For its customers, Good Eggs offers farmer’s market-quality goods without the hassle of actually going to the farmer’s market. Tech Crunch story.
Mackie’s of Scotland: Tasting Innovation and Ice Cream
Mackie’s of Scotland is located in Aberdeenshire, where it maintains roughly 650 ha of arable land, 300 dairy cows, three wind turbines, solar panels and its very own processing capabilities. Established in1912, it is now a fourth generation family business managed by Mac Mackie along with his sisters Karin and Kirstin and 70 staff members. It’s evolved from milk retail to one of the best selling luxury ice cream manufacturers in the United Kingdom and has no diversified into ice cubes, chocolate, chips and energy production. Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword amongst consumers. It’s also incredibly important to the Mackie family, who supplies much of their own energy through natural, renewable resources. Real Agriculture story.
Former linebacker’s company to serve “sustainable” hot dogs, burgers at NFL stadium
This season, fans at the 64,000-capacity Edward Jones Dome, home to the St. Louis Rams, will consume the first ever “high-welfare, sustainable” hot dogs and burgers through a partnership with Shire Gate Farm, owned by former St. Louis Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon. Shire Gate Farm’s Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs and Grassfed Ground-Beef Burgers are produced using grassfed beef sourced from several local family farm suppliers, all certified by farm certifier Animal Welfare Approved. MeatingPlace story.
The Future of Food Depends on Grass
The future of food production must be based on grass and soils. Why? Because nothing has done more damage to the earth’s ecology – and I do mean nothing – than the invention of plow-based agriculture. As the great Wes Jackson wrote in his manifesto New Roots for Agriculture: “So destructive has the agricultural revolution been that, geologically speaking, it surely stands as the most significant and explosive event to appear on the face of the earth, changing the earth even faster than did the origin of life.” When natural lands are converted to croplands, they tend to become much more brittle, more erodible, and lose much of their carbon. Grass (about 40 percent of the earth’s land surface is grassland) offers the best opportunity to sequester carbon back into the soils. Food + Tech Connect post.
Farming Startup FarmLogs Triples Market Share In Last Six Months
In just two years since its founding, the company has seen incredible growth and now counts customers in all 50 states and over $11 billion worth of crops under its management. FarmLogs’ data-driven approach to farming leans on the mobile web to help crop farmers quickly and efficiently forecast profits, track expenses and more efficiently schedule operations. Best yet, the software utilizes GPS for additional data about any given location’s historical weather data. Farms can quickly jot down notes and input data using the software’s mobile app. It’s a radical revolution for the age-old industry. Tech Crunch story.
Sustainable Agriculture Education Association
The SAEA champions innovative educational approaches for sustainable agriculture through the development, application, and research of teaching and learning practices. The SAEA exists to serve and connect educators, teachers, students, staff, and administrators who focus on the teaching and learning of sustainable agriculture at the adult level. Our activities include hosting participatory conferences, collecting sustainable agriculture educational program listings, and developing a digital curriculum library. Website.
AND IF YOU HAVE TIME
What’s The Future Of The Food Industry?
The Internet has revolutionized countless industries, from finance to fashion. Now it’s starting to revolutionize the food industry. The biggest change has been the ability to order online. “In 2013,” Fortune reports, “venture capitalists poured $2.8 billion into food-related startups.” A large part of this change has been driven by millennials. An article earlier this year in Adweek described it in the following way: “It’s debatable whether millennials are special, but one thing is certain: Their relationship with food is. They want it to be authentic, they want to know how it was produced, and they want it to be a shared experience, preferably involving small plates eaten at communal tables.” Forbes guest post by Stephanie Denning.