Local Food News — World

Fresh perspectives on produce packaging

The majority of consumers who buy local food, according to Mintel’s report Locavore: Attitudes toward Locally-sourced Foods, do so for product freshness and support of the local economy. Only one third of respondents think buying local offers a better food value. This is of particular interest in a post-recession economy, and suggests that local shoppers are willing to sacrifice cost savings to achieve the other two ends. Packaging Digest story.

 

An Interview with MISFIT Juicery

We sat down with Ann Yang and Phil Wong of Washington D.C.’s MISFIT Juicery to talk about passion, purpose, and process. Ann and her business partner Phil  shared their aspiration for changing the food system and their practice of repurposing ugly, wasted, surplus produce into healthy, natural, locally sourced cold-pressed juices. SeeSearch interview. Website.

 

$1100 / 1br – Apartment on close-in urban farm

The space: Basement apartment in private home. Separate entrance. New professional construction. 600 sq. ft., 1 bedroom (actual bedroom with a door–this is not a studio in disguise). 1 bathroom (w/ shower, no tub). Full kitchen (sorry, no dishwasher). New, bright windows (including legal egress window in bedroom). Free washer and dryer in separate mudroom shared with homeowners. Large fenced double-lot (urban farm) shared with homeowners. Apartment maximum occupancy is 2 people. Craiglist post.

 

From Jail to Farm to Table

With the exception of Carlisle, everyone who farms here has spent time behind bars. Ten people are each being paid twenty dollars an hour for their part-time work, and they’re also buying into the business with sweat equity. The produce is sold to a variety of local restaurants and to the local school district. Elaine Brown, the project’s founder, has far greater ambitions, though. The farm is the first piece of what she hopes will eventually be a thriving network of businesses that are coöperatively owned and run by formerly incarcerated and, as the project’s Web site puts it, “effectively unemployable” individuals. Her long-term plan includes a grocery store, restaurant, fitness center, and tech-design firm, all nestled under five stories of affordable housing. Some coöperatives across the country hire former inmates, but this vision is unique. The New Yorker story.

 

The Swedish Meal Kit Startup That Inspired Blue Apron, Plated And HelloFresh Speaks Out

The meal kit is a relatively simple business idea: take a box and fill it with fresh food at the portions needed for a dinner, then ship it. And while all three startups launched U.S. operations around the same time in the summer of 2012 (HelloFresh opened up shop in a handful of European countries, where it does the bulk of its business, in the months before), they all credited the inspiration for the idea to a trailblazer little-known in America, the Swedish startup Linas Matkasse. HelloFresh parent company Rocket Internet in Berlin, and later Blue Apron and Plated’s founding teams, all saw Linas Matkasse reach $45 million in annual revenue serving Sweden’s less than 10 million people. “The market was ripe,” says Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg. Forbes story and interview.

 

‘Refoodgee’ App Connects Berlin Locals With Refugees Through Food

A group of German tech entrepreneurs wants to help refugees in their country by providing them with an enriching way to receive meals and make connections to their new communities. Five members of Berlin-based startup Memorado created “Refoodgee,” an app that helps pair newly arrived refugees with the city’s locals based on food preferences and shared languages.

The Memorado team built the app during #HackWeek15, a hackathon hosted by the startup that ran from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 in Werbellinsee, Germany. The conference was focused on creating apps to help refugees entering the country with aspects of their daily lives, and “Refoodgee” was one of the products that came out of the event. Huffington Post story.

 

Do you know about bioregional eating?

There’s a growing trend in sustainable food that sort of fine tunes locavorism. Sourcing from within bioregions is the one of the big food trends for 2016, according to Forbes, and although eating bioregionally has a lot in common with locavorism, it’s not the same. What are bioregions and how can paying attention to them help us eat and live more sustainably? Here’s a primer. Mother Nature Network blog.

 

2016 Food Trends: Being Brand Agnostic, New Proteins, Delivery Shifts and 5 more

“Local” has been one of the biggest trends in the supermarket aisles for almost ten years. It is an unsustainable trend as weather conditions and climate change force changes to the sourcing of foods. Think bioregions. Nature defines the regions for what crops and livestock grow and thrive best in which climates, and we will see changes accordingly. Think about this: California farmers moving to Georgia because of the cost of water, and more wines coming from South Carolina. Produce growers moving to Peru. Forbes story.

 

In answer to criticism of the ‘Locavore’ movement

In the last 20 years, the amount of locally grown foods consumed in the American diet has tripled, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it now comprises 2 percent of the food consumed in the country. As with anything that’s popular, some have seen fit to attack this trend. Why do they do this? Do they find locavore talk of “terroir” pretentious and therefore annoying, or do they seriously believe, as some critics argue, that local food enthusiasts pose a threat to the planet? The Herald Journal post.

 

LEAF Sustainable Farming Review

The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is a management tool for farmers. The LEAF Sustainable Farming Review is a self-assessment on-line management tool to help farmers farm more sustainably. It enables them to monitor their performance, identify strengths and weaknesses and set targets for improvement across the whole farm. Linking Farming and Environment (UK) post.

 

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The Locavore: Attitudes toward Locally-sourced Foods – US – February 2014

As local claims become more widespread, product marketers will need to develop a means to authenticate provenance. Exploring a system of official certification and communicating a transparent path to market information to interested buyers will be necessary to stand apart from the competition. Mintel Academic listing (expensive).

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Local Food News — World

Locavore or vegetarian? What’s the best way to reduce climate impact of food?

Zooming in from the global picture on emissions to a single home reveals how important our personal food choices are for climate change. You can use carbon footprint calculators, such as the University of California CoolClimate Tool, to get an idea of how important food is in relation to choices we make about commuting, air travel, home energy use, and consumption of other goods and services. For the average U.S. household, food consumption will be responsible for about the same GHG emissions as home electricity consumption for the average US household. The Conversation post.

 

Unilever Finds That Shrinking Its Footprint Is a Giant Task

As chief executive of Unilever, Mr. Polman has made sustainable production — of Hellmann’s, Lipton tea, Dove soap, Axe body spray and all the other products Unilever makes — the company’s top priority. Detergents are being reformulated to use less water. Packaging is becoming more efficient. And Unilever is taking preliminary steps to make soybean oil, a main ingredient in mayonnaise, more eco-friendly. Unilever buys more soy in the United States than any other crop, and among Mr. Polman’s many goals is ensuring that all its soy oil — used in Hellmann’s mayonnaise and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spread — is sourced from sustainable farms by 2017. But when Unilever began looking into the matter in 2012, it hit a roadblock: No one was really certifying sustainable soybeans in the United States. New York Times story.

 

Food self-sufficiency law aims to increase all around harvest in Maine

A farmer and legislator in Winthrop is hoping that a new law he shepherded through the Legislature will help grow agricultural jobs, Maine farm sales and the practice of community gardening. The new food self-sufficiency law, taking effect Oct. 15, creates a number of new initiatives for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and sets a new goal for local food procurement. “It is the policy of the state to be food self-sufficient,” said Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, who wrote the law and is co-owner of the Annabessacook Farm and bed-and-breakfast. Bangor Daily News story.

 

From Factory Farmer to Something Much Smaller: The Lengthy Roots of Long Roots Farm

“A little over a year ago we posted an ad on Craigslist saying we wanted land to farm,” says Charles. “We answered the first response and, when we came out and looked at the place, we fell in love.” For him, nabbing this perfect plot of land marked the culmination of a life-long transition from full-blown factory-farmer to owning his own grass-roots operation. The twist? Charles Long was raised by the son of Jim Long, founder of Virginia’s first—and eventually most major—mass-commercialized turkey operation. Modern Farmer story.

 

How a Family Farm Opened a Restaurant and Created its Own Supply Chain

Enter Grazin’, a four-year-old diner in Hudson, New York, with a new outpost in Tribeca. Grazin’ is operated by Dan and Susan Gibson, the owners of the eponymous Grazin’ Angus Acres, a 500-acre farm around 120 miles outside of the city. The Gibsons started farming in 2002, and today they farm with their son Keith, who manages the farm, his wife Nicole, the Gibson’s daughter Christine, and her husband Chip, who oversees the two Grazin’ restaurants. On a recent visit to the farm, cattle ambled over grassy fields, their calves close by their sides. Fences stretched in all directions and snow sat underfoot, reminding us that although it was March, winter was still here. “They only have one bad day in their life,” Dan Gibson said with pride. Civil Eats story.

 

Oregon receives thousands in funding for farm to school projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced $4.8 million in grants for 74 farm to school projects across 39 states. The grants will serve more than 5,211 schools and 2.9 million students in 2016, according to the USDA. “Farm to school programs workfor schools, for producers, and for communities,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a news release. “By serving nutritious and locally grown foods, engaging students in hands-on lessons, and involving parents and community members, these programs provide children with a holistic experience that sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating.” KATU story.

 

A Raw Deal

“When an animal chews on grass, it makes milk which contains the essential esters and microbes which are the flavours,” says Studd, who has worked in the cheese industry for more than 30 years. “When you pasteurise it, you destroy them all by killing 99 per cent of whatever’s in the milk. Without using raw milk, you break the link. When you pasteurise the milk, it’s not a genuine reflection of where cheese comes from.” Broadsheet Australia story.

 

Why Artisanal Food Makers Find It Hard to Digest Growth

Life seems like a feast for artisanal-food makers lately. Over the past few years, shoppers have been flocking to locally made, sustainable products—and that has caught the eye of big players. Huge retail chains are stocking organic fare from small outfits, and venture capitalists have started plowing money into the industry. They’ve backed small food businesses of all stripes, from Hampton Creek, which makes plant-based alternatives to meat and eggs, to Munchery, which delivers chef-prepared meals to customers’ homes. Yet the sudden burst of customers and backers has brought food entrepreneurs a lot of headaches. Wall Street Journal story.

 

DoorDash Could Be the Next Unicorn—Or a Sign of Disaster

DoorDash is a food delivery service. It’s also the latest startup to be eying a valuation of more than $1 billion. DoorDash already raised $40 million in March; according to Bloomberg, it may soon reap another round of funding that would put the company in the same lofty territory as Uber, Airbnb, and more than 100 other so-called unicorns. Investors, meanwhile, say these delivery upstarts will help Americans eat healthier, faster, and more efficiently with the push of a button. They say technology makes it easier to deliver food cost-effectively while minimizing labor costs. Food will be disrupted, they say, like everything else. With that promise—and the hope that some of these startups can ultimately deliver—the money keeps pouring in. Wired story.

 

iOrderFresh plugs the gap in supply chain by getting products from farm to kitchen within 12 hours

Nitin Sawhney and Sandhya Sawhney saw an opportunity to plug the gaps in the supply chain by getting products from farm to kitchen within 12 hours, avoiding wastage and pilferage. This process would make decent margins while offering a fair price to the end consumer. Launched in December 2014, iOrderFresh, a fresh produce and grocery mobile retail platform, delivers doorstep food and grocery across Delhi and Gurgaon. The genesis of this business idea was simply the glaring supply chain gaps in the fresh food categories, especially fruits and vegetables. Your Story story.

 

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Edible, but Ugly

To combat food waste, Imperfect Produce, a San Francisco Bay Area start-up, sells fresh fruits and vegetables that never make it to grocery store shelves. New York Times Video.

 

Getting Ugly Produce Onto Tables So It Stays Out of Trash

“We find that it is really easy to convince people when they realize they can pay a fraction of the price to get the same kind of taste and health,” said Ron Clark, the chief supply officer for Imperfect Produce, a San Francisco Bay Area start-up that has been selling what it calls “cosmetically challenged” fruit and vegetables for the last six months. “Once one person is convinced, it doesn’t take much to get them to convert others.” Imperfect Produce delivers boxes of ugly fruit and vegetables to people’s doorsteps in the Bay Area. New York Times story.

Local Food News — World

Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

By signing the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, we, the mayors and representatives of local governments,  commit to the following: 1. We will work to develop sustainable food systems that are inclusive, resilient, safe and diverse, that provide healthy and affordable food to all people in a human rights-based framework, that minimise waste and conserve biodiversity while adapting to and mitigating impacts of climate change; Pact.

 

Royal orders to buy homegrown food and save the countryside

The Prince of Wales has urged shoppers to shun imported food in favour of purchasing British food whenever they can in order to support family farms and save the countryside. Heir to the throne Charles called on the public to harness their consumer power via an impassioned plea over “our living, breathing, working countryside”. The Prince, who met Yorkshire farmers at the Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate this summer, is frequently outspoken on countryside affairs and in his latest dispatches wrote: “On a sufficient scale the purchasing decisions of individuals can and do change markets. Yorkshire Post story.

 

UC Davis Grads Hope Henlight Shines Light On Needs For Small Farmers

U.C. Davis graduates are shining a light on hunger with a small solar invention they’re taking to a competition this week in Germany. So the group invented the Henlight, a tiny, solar-powered light for small farmers, and to use in their coops. “It is meant to stimulate the photoreceptive cells in the chickens brain,” said Emily. Light helps hens lay eggs. In the winter, our feathered friends lay fewer eggs, because there is less daylight. CBS Sacramento story. Website.

 

Milking it: event identifies an appetite for homegrown food

A one-day market and food event in Temple Bar next month celebrates Dublin food and the majesty of milk. The NCAD Garden soup will be part of the Dublin Made Me Market, a day-long free market put together with Dublin 2020. It will bring under one roof the people finding and making food in the city. There will be commercial producers alongside guerilla farmers who look at even the tiny forgotten spaces as opportunities to turn the city into an abundant place. Along with that allotment soup we’ll have freshly pressed apple juice from the Falling Fruit Project, Keoghs Crisps and Dublin-roasted coffee. Irish Times story.

 

A chef’s ‘long romance’ — with a garden

In many ways, Armstrong’s Alexandria garden is much like his father’s. He intended for it to be a small side-project, but it has since grown to a point where it helps sustain his restaurant. Its fruit trees, herb bushes and vegetable plants inspire dishes on the ever-changing menu. “It’s a small space, but similar to what my father was doing, we pack a huge amount into it,” says Armstrong, who spends about an hour a day in the restaurant’s fenced-in garden. “We change the menu here every day anyway, and a lot of it is just driven by what I get. The garden will be the deciding factor about how a dish works.” WTOP story.

 

RipeNearMe Is the Tinder of Foraging Apps

Created by husband and wife team, Alistair and Helena Martin of Adelaide, Australia, RipeNearMe provides a platform for people to buy and sell a variety of fruits and vegetables available in their areas as well as register their own produce and food. The co-founding couple formed the concept for RipeNearMe after noticing the majority of their neighbors’ citrus fruit trees were being left to the birds. Martin then realized the amount of money he and his wife were already spending at the supermarket on these fruits, and both knew something had to change. “We figured there must be a way to connect people to the fruit trees and produce that grows around them,” explained Alistair Martin. Thus, RipeNearMe was born. Paste Magazine story.

 

Waitrose offers ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables at discount rate

Waitrose, the upmarket chain owned by the John Lewis partnership, is launching a range of “ugly” looking seasonal fruit at discounted prices for use in cooking. The “class two” produce will be either visually flawed or oddly shaped, according to Waitrose, but otherwise perfect for eating. But because the plums, strawberries, raspberries and other items are not ideal in appearance, they will be marketed for use in cookery and jam-making at a reduced price, in packs costing 50p to £1 less per kilo than their perfect-looking equivalents. Independent story.

 

Appetite for Patriotism Is Transforming Moscow’s Restaurant Culture

Before the ruble started to collapse late last year, Natalya Tuktarova ran a European-style gastro pub in downtown Moscow. It specialized in tart flambés and Italian wines. Then came Western sanctions and Vladimir V. Putin’s retaliatory ban on food imports from Europe and the United States. A homegrown food trend is taking hold and helping restaurants that cater to a new appetite for patriotism. See how three businesses in Moscow started and thrived despite sanctions. New York Times story & video.

 

Putting Fresh Food On The Table At The Norman Farmer’s Market

“ I did grow all of it for a long time, but, I can’t now because I’m a little bit too old and I don’t have enough help to get it done because my children are disabled,” Elam said. “Right now I have four different farmers more or less that I buy from, truck patch farmers that I buy from. And that supplies my market with my uh, homegrown.” Growers face challenges in getting a consistent supply of produce to the markets. Elam had problems this year with watermelons and corn and especially tomatoes because of floods in the Dibble area where they source much of their produce. “ When it flooded down there and the dam broke, they lost some big fields,” Elam said. “That cut us back on our tomatoes that I was hoping to get and some of the corn, some of the watermelons.” KGOU story.

 

Thank you! Together we can make a difference in the fight for food education

I wanted to give you an update on the Food Revolution Day petition which more than 1.6 million of you signed – that’s truly incredible; thank you again. Every single country on the planet was represented which, believe me, is no mean feat. Just to refresh your memory, the petition calls for compulsory food education for every child at school. At a time when diet-related disease is a major killer globally, I believe that this is every child’s human right. Jamie Oliver re Change.org petition.

 

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How food shapes our cities

Every day, in a city the size of London, 30 million meals are served. But where does all the food come from? Architect Carolyn Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city, and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world. Carolyn Steel TED Talk.

Local Food News — World

UK government backs regional Food Enterprise Zones to boost supply chains

The 17 UK government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs) will be established in regions across England, with a share of £830,000 funding to help fast-track the expansion of food and farming businesses in the regions. The aim is for the hubs to create greater collaboration between rural businesses, kick-start local food economies and help people develop new skills. – Supply Management story.

 

Nurture local food, not exports

“The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) currently accounts for 40 per cent of the entire EU budget, yet much of the £50 billion spent annually produces no food as it goes to large landowners. I want to see much of the £15 billion available under CAP in England over the next seven years going to local producers who are setting up local food chains to ensure people eat fresher, locally produced, food, which is much better for them. Numerous projects such as Sustainable Food for Lancashire show this can be done.” Big Issue North story.

 

Back British Farming – Taste National Parks

National Parks England is backing British food and farming by calling attention to the quality foods produced by farmers in and around National Parks and highlighting the important contributions these special foods make to local economies. There is a real appetite for food tourism in England and entrepreneurial businesses are increasingly offering food tours and experiences, cookery courses and fine dining. Food tourism provides a real economic boost that is much-needed in these rural areas. National Farmers Union Online post.

 

UK government calls for more local labelling on food

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has called for food producers and shops to give more information on labels about where in Britain their food comes from. It said new research showed almost 79 per cent of people saw buying local food as a top priority. Environment secretary Liz Truss said local labelling such as showing what farm or county the food is from, would help consumers take pride in buying British produce and support the UK rural economy. Supply Management story.

 

The Local Label: A Modern Food Conundrum

In my research, I have come to realize that the “local” label may be a little more complex than I have always passively assumed it to be. It is important for us all to be aware of where our food comes from, how it is grown, and what the impacts – both environmental and human – of its production are. But using the word “local” alone unfortunately tells us very little about many of those important factors. Haverford Clerk (Haverford’s Independent Student Newspaper) post.

 

Southern Co-operatives relaunches Isle of Wight store with local food focus

A Southern Co-operative store in the Isle of Wight has opened with a focus on local produce. Kate Hibbert, The Southern Co-operative’s local sourcing manager, said: “The Isle of Wight is renowned for its quality and diversity of local produce and is where our popular Local Flavours range originated nine years ago; this range has now extended to Hampshire, Sussex and across southern England as demand has increased, promoting local distinctiveness and offering valuable support to local food producers and suppliers.” Co-operative News story.

 

Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Heaven

Gastronauts will be licking their lips over the impressive choice of food and drink on offer in the Yorkshire Dales National Park following the launch of two new projects. The Yorkshire Dales Food Network has been set up to to boost awareness of the huge variety of food producers in the Yorkshire Dales. It also aims to improve trade by connecting them up with retailers, restaurants, accommodation providers and consumers within the National Park. It is led by a team of people who specialise in marketing, food production and hospitality. A new website has been launched with the help of a £10,000 grant from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. Stackyard story.

 

‘Green’ curriculum inspires Fern Creek students

A rotting pumpkin on a seat in the rain in the garden at Fern Creek High School is an “art project,” 17-year-old student Quentin Stephenson told teacher Joe Franzen recently. “That represents school,” Stephenson said. But the environmental education, food literacy curriculum, cooking, carpentry and entrepreneurial projects undertaken by Franzen and fellow teacher Brent Peters has transformed the high school experience, the high school senior told an audience of 45 local teachers Saturday. The Courier-Journal story.

 

As Schools Buy More Local Food, Kids Throw Less Food In The Trash

According to this “census” of farm-to-school programs, at least 42,000 schools spent almost $ 600 million on local food during the 2013-2014 school year. That’s up almost 50 percent from the previous census, conducted two years earlier. The schools reported that when they served local food, their kids ate more healthful meals and threw less food in the trash. “There’s universal interest in this, and that’s why we’ve seen dramatic increases in sales, and why we think there’s still a lot of upside potential to this,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said in an interview. EasyBranches.us story.

 

Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation Present the Second Annual Good Food Org Guide

This definitive Guide highlights nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in each of the 50 States including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. At least 10 organizations were chosen from each of the 50 states so that wherever people live they can find the organizations nearest to them that are cultivating a better food system. Food Tank post. Guide.

 

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The Economics Behind Grandma’s Tuna Casseroles

I was born to be a food snob. I grew up on New York’s Upper West Side in the 1970s and 1980s, in the afterglow of the food revolution that moved the city, and then American food, away from bland mid-century concoctions toward something spicier and more diverse. And I was born to a woman who took all that very seriously. My mother arrived in New York with a solid grounding in the basics, and painstakingly taught herself to make fish sauces that took three days to prepare properly. She made her own croissants from scratch. We were the sort of people who did our grocery shopping like a trade caravan moving from oasis to oasis. Bloomberg View post.

Local Food News — World

The Forum on Canada’s Agri-Food Future 2015, November 3 & 4

The Forum on Canada’s Agri-Food Future (CAFF15), being held on November 3-4 in Ottawa, is about shaping Canada’s food destiny. It’s about a newly-imagined future that offers the best possible outcomes for Canadians and our agri-food industry. Website.

 

More than 100 cities signed the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

On 15 October  2015 117 cities signed the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, the first covenant among Mayors on Urban Food Policies. Mayors simultaneously signed the document on tablets, at Palazzo Reale, in the Hall of Cariatidi on 15 October. The Pact is one of Milan’s most important commitments in the year of the Universal Exposition under the theme “ Feeding the Planet, Energy for life”. Milan Food Policy post.

 

The Benefits of Localism

It turns out that even a very modest shift generates a huge number of jobs. For example, Leslie Schaller, Brad Masi, and I did a study of metro Cleveland five years ago looking at the impact of a 25% shift toward local food. We found that this shift would generate 27,000 new jobs, $250 million more of tax revenues, and nearly $1 billion more in wages. The job impact is so profound that it would reemploy 1 in 8 unemployed residents of the region. Food, of course, is just one sector. If you localize other sectors modestly, the job impact can be even more profound. Post Carbon Institute interview.

 

Teaching farming in the Bronx

If you had to choose the least likely location for the birthplace of a green education revolution, you might well pick the South Bronx in New York City. Despite creeping gentrification, this is an area that is still synonymous with urban blight. It is the most socially deprived district in the United States, with over 40% of residents living below the federal poverty line. It is officially the least healthy place to bring up children in New York State. And yet this is where high school teacher Stephen Ritz hatched a food-growing project with his students that has been adopted in schools across the US and way beyond, picking up numerous awards on its way. BBC story.

 

Inside the Flourishing World of College Farm Programs

Twelve thousand years ago, people worked the land to stay alive. Today, working the land has taken on a new purpose. All across the U.S., college students, faculty, and staff have begun to develop their own campus farms. And they’re not just growing vegetables; they’re expanding minds. The Hometown blog.

 

For U.S. Tribes, a Movement to Revive Native Foods and Lands

Two by two, the wild rice harvesters emerge from the grass-filled lake and drag their canoes to shore. The harvesters, Lake Superior Chippewa, are reaping their ancestral food in the traditional way — one poling the boat through the waist-high tangle, and the other bending the stems and gently brushing ripe seed loose with a pair of batons. It’s hard, dirty work on a steamy Minnesota late-summer day. They’re caked with chaff and sweat But the canoes are loaded with the sacred grain they call manoomin. It was a good harvest, they say. Environment 360 post.

 

Urban agriculture startup founded by JHU students aims to bring future of farming to Baltimore

Reidy had seen the so-called “vertical farming” systems succeed in places like Montreal and New York City. He wanted to join this new wave of food entrepreneurs “tapping into a global, growing movement that’s changing the way we’re designing our cities,” he says. Reidy set his sights on the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and the city of Baltimore. But before starting the program, he took a summer detour, moving to an organic farm commune in Vermont. “I thought, if I want to be a farmer of the future … I first have to be a farmer of 10,000 years ago,” Reidy says. HUB (Johns Hopkins University) post.

 

More Students Are Eating Locally Sourced Food

Students in public schools are eating healthier cafeteria meals made from an increasing array of locally sourced food, according to new federal data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA surveyed school districts to evaluate the impact of “Farm-to-School” initiatives in place at over 42,000 campuses. More than 10,000 districts provided input—a response rate of 60 percent on the survey. Among the findings: Nearly $600 million in locally produced food was purchased by schools in the 2013-14 academic year, a 55 percent increase over 2011-12 (when the first Farm-to-School census was conducted). More than half of the census respondents said they planned to increase their local food purchases in the coming year. The Atlantic story.

 

Organic food start-up Terra Firma to add 8,000 farmers to its network

Hyderabad-based Terra Firma Projects, a farm-to-table organic food products start-up, is in the process of adding 8,000 farmers to its existing network of 2,000 certified organic farmers by the end of 2016, according to its chief executive officer Likitha Bhanu. Business Standard story.

 

Can cities lead the way in maximizing nature’s value?

In recent decades, an increasing number of companies, governments and organizations have been thinking seriously about this complex issue of sustainability. They have developed increasingly innovative ways to quantify and assess the value of nature’s services — our natural capital — so that businesses and governments can incorporate nature in their development decisions. The Natural Capital Project, for example — since its founding in 2006 — has helped dozens of public agencies and companies assess the value they derive from lands, waters, oceans and other living ecosystems. Roosevelt described these assets as “permanent.” Our actions will determine that. GreenBiz story.

 

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Beyond Alternative Food Networks Italy’s Solidarity Purchase Groups

Food activism is core to the contemporary study of food – there are numerous foodscapes which exist within the umbrella definition of food activism from farmer’s markets, organic food movements to Fair Trade. This highly original book focuses on one key emerging foodscape dominating the Italian alternative food network (AFN) scene: GAS (gruppi di acquisto solidale or solidarity-based purchase groups) and explores the innovative social dynamics underlying these networks and the reasons behind their success. Bloomsbury Publishing review.

Local Food News — World

Why the Next President Will Need a National Food Policy

Last November, we published an op-ed article in the Washington Post calling on the president to establish a National Food Policy (NFP). Given that the production and consumption of food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity, our premise was that it deserved the same attention as such well-established federal policy areas as national security, the environment, education, or healthcare. Yet, despite its increasingly evident importance to the health of our people and our environment, the U.S. has no NFP — no plan or agreed-upon set of principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole. Medium post.

 

The big business behind the local food

Consumers’ appetite for local foods is exploding. Overall, local foods generated $11.7 billion in sales in 2014, and will climb to $20.2 billion by 2019, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm. Not only has there been huge growth in the number of farm-to-table restaurants and farmers’ markets, but grocery chains and big box retailers, including Wal-Mart, are elbowing their way in, aggressively expanding and marketing their locally grown offerings for sale. Fortune story.

 

California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses

A government official appears at a man’s door.  The man has been breaking the law: He has sold bread baked at home. This isn’t a page from Kafka—it happened to Mark Stambler in Los Angeles. For decades, Stambler has followed traditional methods to bake loaves of French bread.  The ingredients are simple: distilled water, sea salt, wild yeast and organic grains.  Stambler even mills the grain himself.  To make it easier to steam loaves, he built a wood-fired oven in his own backyard.  Stambler’s loaves came in first place at the Los Angeles County Fair and the California State Fair. Soon after that, Stambler got the idea to expand his hobby into a home business, which became Pagnol Boulanger.  Word of mouth spread.  In June 2011, The Los Angeles Times profiled Stambler and his bread in a full-page feature. Unlike his bread, that profile was bittersweet.  He was busted the very next day. Forbes story.

 

California Homemade Food Act

A city, county, or city and county shall not prohibit a cottage food operation, as defined in Section 113758 of the Health and Safety Code, in any residential dwellings, but shall do one of the following: (1) Classify a cottage food operation as a permitted use of residential property for zoning purposes. (2) Grant a nondiscretionary permit to use a residence as any cottage food operation that complies with local ordinances prescribing reasonable standards, restrictions, and requirements concerning spacing and concentration, traffic control, parking, and noise control relating to those homes. California Assembly Bill No. 1616.

 

Welsh food centres team up to support £7bn plan

Wales’s three food centres are to collaborate to support the Welsh government’s Food and Drink Action Plan to grow the sector by 30% to £7bn by the year 2020. Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector post.

 

More women taking up hunting; quest for local food, cultural shift behind growth

More women are taking up the largely male-dominated sport of hunting to stock their freezers with local foods and as cultural influences, including movie heroines and marketers, make it more socially acceptable. Many of the new female hunters did not grow up hunting and are joining spouses or boyfriends in the sport, researchers say. Hunting outfitters are tapping into that. Movies like “The Hunger Games,” ”The Hobbit,” and “Brave,” which feature skilled female archers, have driven more girls and women to the sport, researchers say. Global News story.

 

JetBlue Has A Real, Working Farm At JFK Airport In New York City

JetBlue, everyone’s favorite airline if only because you get unlimited snacks, announced something a bit unexpected late last week. It’s not a new destination, nor some kind of fun sale—but an urban farm, based right outside the JetBlue terminal at New York City’s decidedly un-pastoral JFK airport. This past Thursday, discount airline JetBlue revealed that the company has set up a 24,000-square-foot farm just outside Terminal 5 in JFK airport, in Queens, New York. It’s actually an interesting design; because the farm is set up on concrete, there’s no natural soil to be used, so containers or planters are a must. The beds are made of 2,300 black plastic milk cartons bolted together, and the soil is, appropriately enough, mostly constructed of mulch made from composted food waste donated by restaurants in Terminal 5. Modern Farmer story.

 

‘Farm To Air’? Why JetBlue Is Farming At A New York Airport

“If it sounds crazy from the outside, it sounds mind-blowingly dumb inside an airport community. A lot of people raised their eyebrows,” Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s manager of sustainability, says. But she decided to go for it anyway, in part because the company was already making soil with composted JetBlue food waste in the Hudson Valley. The Salt story.

 

Ten amazing food market stalls around the world

Everyone knows markets offer great foodie experiences, but finding top produce needs local knowledge. We asked bloggers and food experts for their favourites – whether you fancy sushi, sausage or chai with a twist. The Guardian story.

 

Halloween event happening at Discovery Harbour: Pumpkinferno

Pumpkinferno got its start at Morrisburg’s Upper Canada Village three years ago, with attendance averaging more than 36,000 people annually. As well, the eastern Ontario entry has won multiple awards, including Ottawa Tourism’s Best New Company of the Year and Ontario’s Best New Event from Festivals and Events Ontario in 2013. Orillia Packet & Times story.

 

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The World’s First Robot Farm Requires No (Human) Farmers At All

Indoor farming, hyper-futuristic and spotless high-tech farms, have long been pegged as a possible future of farming. They’re low-profile, easy on the environment, and can be made to produce massive quantities of food, especially quick-growing crops like lettuces, very easily. The newest mega-farm is enormous, yes, but interesting for another reason: It’s run entirely by robots. One of the newest, from a Japanese company called SPREAD, takes that whole idea a step further by fully automating the entire process. According to Co.Design, SPREAD, which already operates a few indoor farms around Japan, will open a new, enormous “vegetable factory” outside Kyoto sometime in 2017. The new farm will focus on lettuce, which grows easily indoors and in these environments, and will be able to pump out 10 million heads of lettuce in a year, more than three times as much as the next largest SPREAD farm. Modern Farmer story.

Local Food News — World

UK Government Pushes for More Local Food Labelling

The government is calling on food producers and shops to give more information on labels about where in Britain their food comes from, as new research shows that almost 80 per cent of people see buying local food as a top priority. Any provision of extra information would be on a voluntary basis, but compulsory country of origin labelling (CoOL) for fresh and frozen pork, poultry meat and lamb was introduced across the EU in April. The Dairy Site post.

 

Sharing farm life through Casey’s pizza

Food grown by dedicated farmers and sourced, served and enjoyed locally is being emphasized by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) with the launch this month of “Homegrown Food. Hometown Values.” The program was launched in partnership with Casey’s General Store. The Iowa-based company, now the country’s fifth-largest chain of pizza kitchens, sources most toppings for its popular breakfast pizzas (including meat, eggs and cheese) from farms in the Midwest. Iowa Farmer Today story.

 

Scottish Food Challenge Blog: 10 things I learned eating Scottish for a month

When I decided to eat only Scottish food for a month, I wanted to celebrate the very best Scottish food. That’s why I picked August, prime harvest time. If I had gone for March, during the notorious “hungry gap”, my challenge would have been near impossible, and I would have struggled to share much enjoyment from food whatsoever. It turns out I was wrong to assume I could celebrate Scottish food for an entire month, even during August. I had failed to take into account the sheer amount of work involved with sourcing ingredients and making everything from scratch. So, although the month featured some fantastic produce and there were moments of absolute brilliance, I also spent parts of the month wondering where my next meal was coming from and whether I could face another bowl of porridge. Scotsman Food & Drink blog.

 

Are Hospital Farms the Next Big Thing in Healthcare Reform?

This summer, St. Luke’s Hospital started sending all new moms home from the hospital with a basket of fresh produce, recipes, and literature about the importance of a healthy diet. All of the produce in the basket was grown on an organic farm on the hospital’s Anderson campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The hospital—part of a six-campus network—has been running a farm on the 500-acre grounds since 2014. “Our mission is to provide great healthcare and part of that is educating patients about the benefits of a plant-based, organic diet,” explains Ed Nawrocki, president of the Anderson campus. Civic Eats story.

 

BSU commits $300,000 to Muncie Food Hub

Ball State University has earmarked nearly $300,000 to help establish a regional food hub to ramp up the supply of locally produced food. Trying to establish an East Central Indiana food hub to supply not only retail but also wholesale and institutional markets like restaurants, schools, hospitals or universities will be a risky undertaking. Muncie Star Press story.

 

Soil Association Scotland paves the way for ‘Good Food’ ethos in Scottish schools

Celebrations are in place as the Food for Life Scotland Education Framework celebrates one year of success. Soil Association Scotland is now working to develop it within more schools across Scotland. Piloted in 23 Pathfinder schools across Scotland, the Framework has engaged with 3,200 children and 290 teachers. Its main aim is to transform their food culture by integrating good food knowledge and activity throughout the curriculum, enhancing the provision of good food in the dining hall, and taking good food messages out into the wider community. Scotland News.Net story.

 

Canadian’s vegetables-only restaurant a hit in New York

Cohen started with a small, 18-seat restaurant and soon was so busy she once turned away Leonardo DiCaprio. In February, she moved to a new space five times larger, and the crowd has followed. But while vegetables are the stars of her plates, she doesn’t want Dirt Candy labelled a vegetarian restaurant. “Vegetarian restaurants, I think, tend to be a little bit more healthier, maybe a little bit more political, or a little bit more environmental. We just really want to serve good food.” CBC News story.

 

Portland elementary school embraces worms, weeding and watersheds

Like many elementary schools around the state, Longfellow Elementary School in Portland has a school garden, and students grow seedlings in the classroom to plant, study the life cycle of plants and eventually harvest the food they’ve grown and use it in a school lunch. But fifth-graders are taking their environmental studies a step further, with a yardscaping project, a yearlong vermiculture project and an entire study unit on watersheds. “It’s wonderful. These kids are so far beyond where we were as kids,” said Richard Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at the school. Press Herald story.

 

Green-fingered residents promote benefits of homegrown produce

Green-fingered residents promoted the benefits of homegrown food as part of a national campaign. Havannah Lane Allotment, in Parr hosted its annual day to celebrate National Allotment Week which aims to get more people involved in the home-grown fun. Activities included a tombola, face-painting and many cake, fruit and vegetable stalls manned by plot owners selling the ‘fruits’ of their labours. St Helens Star story.

 

Food Secretary Launches Application for EU Protection of Forfar Bridies

An application to grant Forfar bridies protected European status has been lodged by two Angus bakeries. The Forfar Bridie Producers Association, a collaborative team made up of McLaren & Son Bakers and Saddlers, have formally submitted their application for Protected Food Name (PFN) status for the famous Scottish snack. If the application is successful, Forfar bridies would be granted legal protection against imitation. The savoury treat could sit alongside the likes of Parma ham, champagne and other delicacies from across Europe in being granted the status. stv.tv story.

 

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Why world leaders dined on trash at the U.N.

There was nothing unusual about 30 world leaders, including French President François Hollande and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, sitting down Sunday for a meal prepared by some of the world’s most famous chefs. That is, of course, until the diners took a closer look at the U.S.-theme menu: “Landfill salad,” consisting of vegetable scraps and rejected apples and pears. A vegetable burger made of “pulp left over from juicing,” the patty served on a “repurposed bread bun.” Washington Post story.

Local Food News — World

UK calls for “local labelling” of foods

The UK government has called on food manufacturers and retailers to provide shoppers with more information on where in the UK food comes from with the introduction of “local labelling”. Environment Secretary Elisabeth Truss argued that labelling detailing what region – or even farm – food was produced at would enable shoppers to take “more pride” in buying British foods. This, she suggested, builds on the government’s existing commitment to support stricter country of origin labelling requirements. Just-Food post.

 

Argus Farm Stop: A Creative Approach to Local Food Distribution

Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor, Michigan demonstrates a model which could be described as a daily, year-round farmers’ market that operates much like a grocery store. When I visited in late July, the shelves were packed with a wide array of seasonal fruits and vegetables, including several unusual varieties and a greater selection than the typical farmers’ market offerings. Waterloo Region Food System Roundtable post by Kristen Giesting.

 

Bid hatched to achieve European Region of Gastronomy

Galway has officially become a candidate for European Region of Gastronomy 2018, a very exciting and important initiative which would highlight the unique food culture of Galway and provide a legacy of improved food quality and support for local food and traditions. The collaborative bid, which is being led by Galway County Council in association with Galway City Council and GMIT, will bring together all sectors including the public, private, education institutions and community/voluntary sectors to work together to secure European Region of Gastronomy status for Galway – West of Ireland in 2018, a first for Ireland. Connacht Tribune Group post.

 

Southern Co-operative to showcase local food at Isle of Wight County Show

Southern Co-operative is sponsoring the food pavilion at the Royal Isle of Wight County Show to showcase its commitment to local food producers. Kate Hibbert, local sourcing manager for Southern, said: “Our Local Flavours range promotes local distinctiveness and is very popular with our customers. We stock more than 350 lines from over 30 Isle of Wight producers in our Island stores alone; as an independent regional retailer, it’s vital that we play a pivotal role in supporting local food producers and the rural economy; this is very much part of our business ethics as a co-operative.” Co-operative News story.

 

4 Innovative Urban Farms Changing the American Landscape

There has been an explosion in urban farming initiatives across the country in recent years. All kinds of creative solutions have emerged in urban agriculture to feed the growing number of city-dwellers worldwide—from growing food in converted shipping containers to operating vertical farms out of abandoned warehouses and even repurposing swimming pools to become garden oases. Even some baseball stadiums like Boston’s Fenway Park are devoting space for stadium-grown grub. EcoWatch post.

 

New Australian food labels will list local food content but not foreign

New food labels will reveal only the “Australian-ness” of groceries – meaning the consumers who bought contaminated berries earlier this year would not have known they were from China. The Abbott Government yesterday revealed that from next April 1 most groceries will have to include a label to explain the percentage of Australian ingredients. The new system will apply mainly to fresh food, dairy products, canned goods and rice and pasta, meaning a majority of processed foods, such as biscuits and soft drinks, will not have to comply. Courier Mail story.

 

Food From Fife Third Edition

The map, described as The Guide to Fife’s Food and Drink, has been updated and given a new cover featuring apples from one of the many orchards dotted in and around Newburgh. The publication, with a wealth of detail about where to buy fresh food and eat out, is the result of collaboration between Fife Council, the Fife Food Network’s “Food from Fife” initiative and the List Guides. With fertile farmland and many miles of coastline providing a natural bounty for Fife, the area is peppered with a wide variety of businesses which use this harvest to the full. These include several busy farm shops, producers of beef, pork, lamb, and venison, and artisan businesses including bakers, a cheese maker, ice cream makers, and seafood smokehouses. Scotland Food and Drink release.

 

Food on the Edge

Food on the Edge takes place over two days: 19th & 20th October 2015, it is a coming-together of top international chefs and food leaders for a 2-day Food Symposium in Galway. The aim of the symposium is to challenge our perspective on food and our connection to it. There will be approximately 40 speakers over the two day symposium, all chosen for their innovation, passion and influence on today’s food culture. Each speaker, with their own unique perspective, will talk for 15 minutes on the cultural, social, environmental and educational aspects of food. Good Food Ireland post.

 

Government calls for more information on UK food labels to boost local sales

The Government is calling on food producers and shops to give more information on labels about where in Britain their food comes from, as new research shows that almost 80 per cent of people see buying local food as a top priority. The new research high lights that vegetables (51%) and meat (40%) topped the list of products that people would buy if a local option was available, demonstrating the potential to grow our meat and vegetable industry, worth £10.5 billion in 2014. Food retailers and producers are already embracing the growing demand for local food, with supermarket Tesco developing a unique tool that allows online shoppers to search for products sourced within 10 miles of their local area. In addition, country of origin labelling on meat produce is now widely in use. Farming UK story.

 

‘Rewilding’ of routes seeks to save bees from destruction

Ireland’s motorways and railways are to be “rewilded” to create bee highways in an attempt to save them from extinction and their food supplies from devastation. With one third of our 98 native bees facing wipe-out, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan has been devised to encourage farmers, councils, schools and gardeners to create havens and pit-stops for the island’s species. Transport chiefs have agreed to reduce roadside mowing on main roads and to open south facing railway embankments for nests. Irish Times story.

 

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Governance, Rural Development & Farmers’ Participation in Irish Local Food Movements

As exponents of the ‘post-industrial’ and ‘post-productivist’ economy, it is accepted that many of the economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda (as supported by the EU LEADER programme, for example) do not have a mainstream agriculture ‘tag’. It is envisaged that the governance approach to rural development, by providing a mechanism for the participation of a variety of local sectoral stakeholders, gives rise to an increased capacity to appraise and tap into nuanced local development resources. Particular forms of economic activity, which concentrate to a large extent on high value-added food production, tourism activities and the valorisation of natural resources have emerged in line with the contemporary rural development agenda and arguably represent a new status quo in the rural economy. Teagasc Rural Economy Research Centre conference paper.

Local Food News — World

Local Continues Its Ascent As A Marker Of Quality And Trust

As a mark of premium distinction, foods and beverages with a local angle have been rising stars within a crowded field of designations that speak to premium quality, including organic and natural, “free-of” products and those that are artisanal or handmade. The Hartman Group has been tracking the term’s meteoric rise to stardom for years now. In our Organic & Natural 2014 report, we found that “the authenticity halo around organic and natural has begun to fade, and local foods and beverages are poised to surpass them as a symbol of trust and transparency.” Harman Group post.

 

45 Cities Will Sign Urban Food Policy Pact on World Food Day in Milan

The Milan Expo began in May, and focuses on the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Cities will be vital in accomplishing the goal of feeding the world; around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas, and the global proportion of people living in cities will likely reach 65 percent by 2025. The Urban Food Policy Pact (UFPP) will unite city leaders worldwide for the creation of more just and sustainable urban food systems. The pact will address the potential of cities to contribute to food security through urban agriculture, and its proponents expect it to be one of the most significant legacies of the Milan Expo 2015. Food Tank post. Pact.

 

Food hubs to drive rural food revolution

More than 10,000 new jobs are set to be added to the UK’s growing food and farming industry as a network of new food hubs takes shape across England with building work expected to begin early next year, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced today. The 17 government-backed Food Enterprise Zones (FEZs), stretching from Cumbria to Cornwall, will help drive up tourism, attract investment and add millions to our growing rural economy. Cumbria Crack story.

 

East of England boosts its campaign for local food suppliers

East of England Co-operative is celebrating its successful partnership with local suppliers with a fortnight of events. Sourced Locally Fortnight, which took place 1-14 June, gave a fresh boost to the scheme, which sees the society work with more than 140 supplier partners. Overall, it offers more than 2,750 products, with new additions introduced on a monthly basis. The society has put over £34m back into the local economies that surround its 200 branches across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Co-operative News story.

 

Tahoe Food Hub sees big growth as restaurants seek sustainable sources

Tahoe Food Hub is a nonprofit organization that works to restore local food distribution by building a regional food system for North Lake Tahoe. It is increasing access to nutritious, ecologically grown food by creating a network of farms within 100 miles of North Lake Tahoe and connecting them to restaurants, small grocers, schools and hospitals. As many as 17 farms from Nevada County supply food for the project, along with 25 farms in the surrounding foothill and valley farming communities of Auburn, Newcastle and Penryn. Sierra Sun story

 

Durham Food hub feeds local market as it navigates way to sustainability

Firsthand Foods started with a kitchen on wheels selling sausage sandwiches made from pasture-raised pigs raised on nearby farms. But instead of evolving into a roving brand or a restaurant, the company’s owners used the Sausage Wagon as a starting point to assemble a farm-to-table pipeline that connects farmers to customers seeking local pork and beef raised humanely on pastures without hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products. News & Observer story.

 

Muskegon could be ‘food hub’ for storage, processing, shipping, study says

The Port City could command an important spot in the food chain. A study released this month suggests establishing a “food hub” near U.S. 31 and I-96 interchange – possibly in downtown Muskegon, near the port and rail lines. A food hub could gather, store, and distribute foodstuffs, as well as engage in food processing, marketing, and retail sales. The 26-page feasibility study found support for “moving forward to pursue and secure funding to conduct business and implementation plan development in 2015 and launch of the operation in 2016.” MLive.com story. Study.

 

 

Groupon Acquires OrderUp to Power Nationwide Food Ordering and Delivery

Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) announced the acquisition of OrderUp (www.orderup.com), an on-demand online and mobile food ordering and delivery marketplace operating in nearly 40 markets across the United States. The addition of OrderUp significantly boosts Groupon’s presence in the $70 billion food ordering and delivery sector. Business Wire story.

 

Helping Immigrant Farmers Sow Seeds From Home on American Soil

On a verdant farm five miles from Newark Liberty International Airport, Jacob Okam struggled to push a shiny, new garden tiller over the bumpy soil last month. His black jersey was already drenched in the noonday sun as he cut a lonesome, but winsome, figure in the field — at one with the land that is both his heritage and his hope. Mr. Okam, 63, was growing leafy Nigerian vegetables on American soil with New York City business principles. And a sprinkling of his native wisdom. The New York Times story.

 

Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Incubator Farm Project

Access to land has been identified as one of the top challenges facing new farmers in North Carolina. The Incubator Farm Project worked with communities to address this need by assisting them with repurposing land into places that incubate new farmers. These new farmers get access to land, in exchange for “rent” in the form of fresh farm products or other services donated to communities in need — a win-win-win opportunity for everyone involved. What is an incubator farm? Typically it is one or more parcels of land where one or multiple producers are farming and marketing farm products through their own new farm business enterprise, often with organizational access to training / technical assistance opportunities on farm business and production practices. Website.

 

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The lunchtime revolution at a school for children with autism

In the dining room at Queensmill, a west London school for children with autism, spotting the truly extraordinary moments can be tricky. Matthew, for example, sits at a table wearing ear protectors in a dazzling shade of Day-Glo green, but there’s nothing extraordinary about that. They’re used to reduce the sensory inputs he might otherwise find overwhelming. Like a number of the kids here, he wears them every day. No, the really extraordinary thing is also the most banal: it’s the full plate of food in front of him, the one that he’s busy clearing. “This was a boy who was eating so little he’d become a cause for serious concern,” says Jude Ragan, headteacher of Queensmill. “It was all about how we could get him to eat three or four chickpeas. We worried about anorexia. Now look at him.” The Guardian story.

Local Food News — World

Oslo builds its bees a highway of flowers

Oslo is transforming a strip through the city into a series of bee pastures — parks, and green roofs, and balcony flower beds — each a short flight from the next. I like to imagine that from the air you could look down and see ribbon of blossoms, stretching from one side of the city to the other. polli.no According to the Guardian : Oslo’s “bee highway” aims to give the insects a safe passage through the city, lined with relays providing food and shelter – the first such system in the world, according to the organizers. Today Eco story.

 

Pittsburgh urban farming takes ‘big step forward’ with new ordinance

Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday making it cheaper and easier for residents to get permits to raise chickens and goats and keep beehives. The ordinance replaces a 2011 urban agriculture zoning law that charged city residents fees totaling $340 and required a hearing process that could take 10 to 12 weeks. Now, homeowners and renters can bring a site plan detailing a desired coop, apiary or other animal structure and get a permit in a single day for $70. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.

 

Tax break sowing the seeds of urban agriculture growth

One recent rainy afternoon, Aaron Roland stood on his Potrero Hill vacant corner lot with sweeping views of downtown San Francisco and the Bay Bridge, bit into a kale leaf he picked from the permaculture garden and explained how he once turned down a $2 million cash offer for the 0.11-acre property. Roland, 57, a family doctor who lives in the Mission, is San Francisco’s first property owner to obtain a tax break under the new Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone program. For the next five years, his property-tax bill will total $80 not $35,688. San Francisco Examiner story.

 

Wherever you are, Eat Well.

The Eat Well Guide® is a curated directory of over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, markets and other sources of local, sustainable food throughout the US. Website.

 

Jackson presses winemaking into sustainability innovation

Wine making in Sonoma County, California, is older than the settling of the West, but some wineries in this tradition-steeped industry are moving fast into a future of zero waste, scant greenhouse gases and sustainable agriculture . Jackson Family Wines, the maker of Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, La Crema pinot noir, Stonestreet cabernet sauvignon and 27 other brands, appears to be leading the way, based on recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , early certification as a sustainable winegrower and being named the green company of the year by the beverage industry. Today Eco story.

 

Rooftop farming: The next steps for development

Urban agriculture is becoming increasingly popular. A recent assessment of rooftop farming in Barcelona shows differing attitudes towards the practice, and provides important recommendations for the development of agricultural policy for the 21st century, such as including food production as a potential use of rooftops in planning legislation. Science for the Environment report.

 

Life cycle study demonstrates the long-term costs of everyday crops

The environmental and economic costs of a selection of common crops have been determined by a new study, which hopes to improve agricultural sustainability assessments in Europe. The researchers used life cycle analysis on organically farmed tomatoes and pears, and intensively farmed wheat, apples, and lettuce to show the overall impact of agricultural methods. Science for the Environment report.

 

Urban Ag Grows Up: World’s Largest Rooftop Farm In Chicago

The Chicago project is the brainchild of the New York-based urban agriculture pioneer Gotham Greens. The company’s flagship rooftop greenhouse operation in Brooklyn yields more than 100 tons of fresh produce annually and it also has another Brooklyn location designed to pump out 200 tons annually. The Chicago facility is going to produce about 500 tons annually, so that’s a giant step up. Clean Technica post.

 

Medact: Mobilising Health Professionals For More Sustainable Food System

Stemming from the British medical peace movement that emerged in the 1950s and 60s, the charity was originally set up to work on war, conflict, nuclear non-proliferation and human rights.  However, recognising that climatic and environmental change threatens to reverse many of the health gains made in recent decades, Medact’s remit has broadened and now includes work on energy policy, divestment and sustainability. A new focus of its work is on food systems. Food Climate Research Network interview.

 

Dutch citizens just sued their own government for not stopping climate change

A judge in The Hague said the state must “ensure that the Dutch emissions in the year 2020 will be at least 25 percent lower than those in 1990.” The ruling was a victory for the Urgenda Foundation, an environmental group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of nearly 900 Dutch people. They said that the government has a duty to protect its citizens against looming dangers, including the effects of climate change on this low-lying country, which is threatened by rising sea levels. Grist article.

 

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The Future Of Food:  We Decide!

Feeding the planet is the biggest challenge our generation has to face. With EXPO 2015 focusing on exactly this, the world is looking to Milan for answers. That’s why, Slow Food and the Slow Food Youth Network are organizing ‘Terra Madre Giovani – We Feed The Planet’ from October 3-6, as EXPO will be coming to a close.  We invite you to be part of this unique event on the future of food and farming, which will bring together thousands of young people from all over the world who will be equipped to develop new initiatives to redefine the future of food. Website.