Local Food News — World

Sprout: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launches new innovation hub to back ‘digital agriculture’ entrepreneurs

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) says it has tens of millions of dollars ready to kick-start an agricultural innovation hub launched by the Prime Minister today. It is part of a broad strategy by the NFF to harness new technology and big data to cut the costs of production and boost output. “Digital agriculture is the next wave of productivity” and could add as much as $6 billion to farm income over the next four years, according to NFF chief executive Simon Talbot. ABC News story.

 

EU backs €250m funding for milk, fruit and vegetable school schemes

The new measures will strengthen and boost funding for an EU scheme to provide fruit, vegetables and milk products in schools. Sharing out the €250m fairly for healthy eating measures is part of the plan, as well as putting an onus on member states to do more to promote healthy eating habits, local food chains, organic farming and fight against food waste. The educational measure should also better connect children with agriculture through farm visits and the distribution of local specialities such as honey. Farmers Journal story.

 

Can Large, Corporate Urban Farms Grow ‘Local Food’?

Under the glass-and-metal canopy of a sprawling greenhouse in Yardley, Pennsylvania, BrightFarms is growing salad greens. A lot of salad greens. Arugula and herbs and the occasional tomato–about 360,000 pounds per year–sprout up in white hydroponic trays. When the plants are ready, they are harvested, packed, and driven up the street (or just next door) to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey grocers where they will be sold. In the coming year, the company plans to expand its presence into the Chicago and Washington, D.C. areas, boosted by a recent $13.7-million round of funding. “We look at BrightFarms as an expansion of the local food movement,” CEO Paul Lightfoot told Civil Eats. Civil Eats post.

 

Tift County Schools honored at state capitol for Farm to School achievements

Tift County Schools was recognized with the Golden Radish Award, a prestigious state-wide Farm to School distinction which acknowledges the outstanding leadership of school representatives building comprehensive Farm to School programs. The school district was recognized for its efforts to educate students on nutrition and agriculture by State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald and Georgia Organics Board Chair Mandy Mahoney. Tifton Gazette story.

 

Farm in a box: Shipping containers reused for fresh produce

containers have been turned into housing, art, even playgrounds. Now, a Boston company is recycling them into high-tech mobile farms as part of a new wave of companies hoping to bring more innovation to agriculture. Freight Farms and other indoor agriculture companies are looking to meet the growing demand for high-quality, locally grown and sustainable produce by farming fruits and vegetables in non-traditional spaces such as warehouses, industrial buildings and containers. Washington Post story.

 

Homefarm combines retirement homes and vertical urban farms

Architecture firm SPARK unveiled Homefarm, a visionary design that tackles food security and elder care challenges in one fell swoop. Presented at the World Architecture Festival, the conceptual proposal combines urban retirement housing with vertical urban farming into a live-farm typology that’s beautiful, productive, and empowering for its residents. In addition to its aquaponic vertical farming system, the eco-conscious Homefarm also includes a roof garden, fruits and vegetable marketplace, and biomass power plant. Inhabitat post.

 

Pedalling Compost While Building a Better Community

As the company’s name implies, the Compost Pedallers sends a team of bicyclists around to homes and businesses, where they collect kitchen and yard scraps and pedal them directly to Austin urban farms and community gardens. Over the past three years, using only bikes, Fedako says the company has diverted half a million pounds of waste from landfills and donated $13,000 worth of natural fertilizers to local growers. Civil Eats post.

 

KinSol Brings Dehydrators to Farmers in Developing Countries

This week we chatted with KinoSol, an Iowa State University based startup providing small-scale, solar-powered food dehydrator for fruits, vegetables and grains, to subsistence farmers in developing countries. The KinoSol team, made up of Clayton Mooney, Mikayla Sullivan, Ella Gehrke and Elise Kendall, started the company as students after becoming finalists in the 2014/15 Thought For Food Challenge. Our interview has been edited for brevity. Food+Tech Connect interview.

 

Demo At FoodBytes! Brooklyn

In partnership with Rabobank, the world’s premier bank in the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, and SF New Tech, San Francisco’s largest and longest-running tech showcase event, we’re bringing The FoodBytes! Summit to Brooklyn, New York on March 3, 2016. FoodBytes! Brooklyn is designed to bring new ideas in food and agribusiness together with capital. This conference will help food industry investors meet new and innovative companies that are disrupting food distribution, manufacturing, production and more. Apply today to be one of ten companies selected to demo in front of investors, media, technologists and corporates. Website.

 

Blue River Tech Raises $17m Series B to Build 4th Generation Robot for Production Ag

Blue River’s units use computer vision and machine learning to observe and identify plants in need of chemical treatment, weeding or thinning; make a fast decision on the appropriate course of action; and execute that action in real time. The company claims that this precision application of inputs — in comparison to the broad-based application of fertilizer and chemicals that traditional equipment allow — will reduce the amount of chemicals used in agriculture by 90 percent. Agfunder News story.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Drone Gives Florida Strawberry Farms an Edge

As the human population has increasingly encroached on this country’s farm fields, some growers have gotten a black eye for their use of chemicals and water, said Highland Precision Ag founder and President Steve Maxwell. He said the technology his company is refining can change that. Over the next three years, the system Highland Precision Ag is developing will give farmers custom computer dashboards on which they can monitor their crops, follow recipes for treating disease and treat only those areas of their fields that need it. Food Manufacturing story.

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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.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

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

How to get tax money back: urban farming in DC and Baltimore

DC council members David Grosso’s and Mary Cheh’s Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 (text) passed in December of 2014. DC has been pushing its new program, Sustainable DC, for a while now and this is one of the most impactful results for community members who will now be able to grow fresh produce right where they live. The city will identify 25 vacant lots of 2,500 sq ft to be used for urban farms as well as a 50% tax abatement reduction in property taxes if undeveloped land is leased to a farm. Now Baltimore looks to be next. In the Baltimore Sun “The bill, sponsored by City Councilman William “Pete” Welch, would provide a 90 percent property tax break for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year.” Urban Farm Project post.

 

Tenth Open Farm Sunday celebrates record breaking year

What a day!  The sun shone (on most of us!) and the crowds came flocking onto farms in their thousands!  Early estimates show that visitor numbers for Open Farm Sunday 2015 will be over 250,000 – far exceeding the record breaking attendance of 2014 by more than 15%. Our tenth Open Farm Sunday has been a resounding success and a fantastic celebration of British farming and food. From the feedback received so far, it’s clear that Open Farm Sunday enabled hundreds of thousands of people to have an amazing day in the countryside, learning about farming and the story behind their food. We’re particularly delighted so many families took the time to visit farms up and down the country, many for the first time. Linking Environment And Farming post.

 

Euro-toques International

Euro-Toques is neither a marketing association nor a new union, but a lobby in Brussels, guardian of the authenticity and specificity of our best products. “Science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.” Our goal is to give prominence to seasonal products and defend the regional artisans, remaining vigilant of the new laws. The lobby was created in Brussels in 1986. For 28 years 2000 chefs have been striving to keep the diversity of gastronomic products. Website.

 

‘Grow Forth’ and Prosper – GrowRIVERSIDE Digs in for the Future of Local Food

The farm-to-school program at Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) has not only transformed a school district but an entire community, and Taylor believes the momentum generated from the local food and agriculture movement in Riverside can energize and transform the nation. “We can change the way people think about food and agriculture in America,” he said. “Riverside is a great city, but it’s a city with great need. Farm-to-school has a major impact on our community. A nutrition program can be a catalyst for change in a community.” Grow Riverside post.

 

Rural School District Goes “All Hands on Deck” with Wellness and Farm to School

Here in Nebraska, our Farm to School pilot program is working with Norris School District in Firth, Neb. Norris was an early adopter of Farm to School. It is an excellent example of what happens when a district makes a commitment to healthy students. Dr. John Skretta, administrator of the Norris School District, says, “Healthy students learn better because they eat better.” He kicked off the Center’s most recent Farm to School Regional Conference with a powerful keynote outlining the value-added education students received after the district made a firm commitment to wellness. Center for Rural Affairs post.

 

How can a city produce more real food for itself?

I think that cities should offer incentives for converting private lawns into food producing areas. Perhaps with property tax breaks or water credits. My city provides free treated compost if you pick it up yourself and only charges a small fee to deliver a dump truck full. Other cities could do something similar. Cities could use their owned vacant lots to grow food for those in need. Owners of vacant land in the city should either be required to use it for the production of food for the hungry or given tax breaks to do so. Cities could also offer incentives for new residential buildings that provide rooftop growing space. Dissident Potato guest post by Cecily Hedman.

 

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. Andrea Burden, the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Officer, said: “This is a pilot project that aims to create a searchable, interactive, internet-based directory and network of local food producers connected to retailers, restaurants, hospitality businesses and consumers. Stackyard story.

 

In L.A., Now You Can Use City Land For A Free Vegetable Garden

When Robert Finley received an arrest warrent for planting vegetables in front of his house, he decided to take a stand.  A member of his gardening group, Green Grounds, started a petition and gathered the community to take action.  The Los Angeles Times picked up the story and then he started to get global attention. The city council also took notice and the warrent was revoked.  Now, the policy has been changed and under a new law, the city will allow free gardens next to sidewalks. Minds story. Robert Finley TED talk on guerilla gardening.

 

Definition: Locavore

A locavore is someone who gives precedence to food that’s locally grown. In many cases this leads the locavore to know who grows his or her food. Jessica Prentice, a Bay Area chef, food writer, and community kitchen incubator, created the term in 2005. According to her, the term means a person who bases their diet on foods that are grown and produced in the geographic region where they live, are in touch with the seasonality of their food systems, and seek to cultivate relationships with local producers and processors. Locavores also have some kind of hands-on interaction with their food (cooking, gardens, baking, fermenting) either domestically or professionally. Prentice coined it by first looking at the Latin root for “place” — locus, which is now we get words like “local” or “locomotion” — then coupling it with the vorare, the Latin verb for “to eat” or “to swallow.” It’s also the root of “devour” and “carnivore.” Putting the two roots together gave her locavore. The Lexicon of Sustainability information artwork.

 

France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels

According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels. Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters. Climate Progress story.

 

AND IF YOU HAVE TIME

 

Lessons from the past in how we eat our food

Among the many priceless nuggets of information about how we used to eat, on show at the National Library of Scotland’s exhibition spanning 400 years of food and drink in Scotland, is a set of exquisite late 17th century table plans for the patriotic household of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, East Lothian. Class divisions notwithstanding, they show that daily consumption of an astonishing variety of home-grown produce was the norm, at least for the wealthy who had the room to grow their own and the wherewithal to purchase meat and sugar, even pay a French cook; hence the constant references to the ragouts and fricassees so unfavoured by Robert Burns when compared to good old haggis. The kitchen staff would have eaten well from leftovers; the rural poor also had access to nutritious local food. Herald Scotland story.

Local Food News — Ontario

When these Ontario dairy cows see spring pasture for the first time, they jump for joy

It has been an extra long, brutally cold Canadian winter and “the girls” are twitchy. The May air is finally warm and scented with fresh pasture. There is human movement at the gate. The girls — who are dairy cows — surely must remember the 155 acres of paradise that lie beyond the barnyard? “Once the cows get out that gate,” says farmer Deb Vice, “they’re like kids at recess — pushing and shoving.” Have you ever seen a dairy cow run? Jump for joy? Kick up its hooves? Buck like a rodeo bull? Toronto Star story (includes video).

 

We could learn from France

Last week’s unanimous decision by the country’s government to have grocery stores reduce food waste by either donating it to the needy or providing it to farms and composters (for food that is not safe for human consumption) is more than just an example of smart thinking, it’s a prime example of humanity. The law means supermarkets will have to sign food donation contracts with charities or risk fines of up to $100,000 or two years in jail. Steep penalties, but necessary to address both growing food wastes in the country and to feed those who are less fortunate. The Quinte region, and Canada, could learn a lot from the move and should be examining ways to imitate the move. Belleville Intelligencer editorial.

 

Farm To Table: Bringing home the bacon

Two inescapable facts stick out about Brantford-Brant: The area is emerging as one of Ontario’s quickly growing food processing clusters; and agriculture is still its largest industry. The region of Brantford and the County of Brant is attracting ever more companies, from small family operations serving a growing local region, to multinational firms making world famous brands and products. And it’s one of the area’s most profitable and job-generating sectors. Brantford Expositor story.

 

First ‘Farm to School Salad Bar’ in NL

When a group of students approached teacher Chris Peters at St. Bonaventure’s College in St. John’s, asking for a wider variety of healthy options in the cafeteria, he knew who to ask for advice. Sarah Ferber from the Food Security Network of Newfoundland & Labrador (FSN) had recently spoken at the school about food security issues in the province. She had mentioned that Farm to Cafeteria Canada was looking to start a program in NL. After a year of planning, applications and teamwork between the school, FSN, Lester’s Farm Market and Chartwells Food Services, the Farm to Cafeteria Canada salad bar program was launched this week. The self-serve all-you-can-eat salad bar allows students to pick from a variety of vegetables and fruits. The produce is locally sourced (as much as possible) and changes with the seasons. Atlantic Farm focus story.

 

Urban Orchard Revival: San Romanoway Towers

San Romanoway community garden will provide 63 accessible raised-bed plots for residents who want to grow their own fresh healthy food. Complementing this physical space, the project offers ongoing sessions for Basic Fruit Tree Care, where resident volunteers learn the essentials of caring for an urban orchard. Community members learn about tree selection, grafting, pest control, disease prevention, soil management and more. The urban gardeners can then share their knowledge with others in the community as a way to keep the orchard healthy. As a capacity building measure, graduates of the program will be matched to potential employers in the neighbourhood. Food Share post.

 

Community Garden Council of Waterloo Region

In 2013, Region of Waterloo Public Health completed a Community Gardening Storytelling Project  that demonstrated how community gardening is a valuable health promoting and community building activity. Community gardens contribute to creating high quality urban and rural gathering spaces and they support people’s efforts to stay healthy. This stoytelling project interviewed 84 gardeners in an unstructured format to learn about the meaning of gardening in their lives. The stories shared by these gardeners revealed eight main reasons for gardening which were grouped into three themes: health, inclusion, and learning. Website.

 

It’s strawberry time at The Local Dish!

Win a $100 gift certificate to Hawthorne Food and Drink – find and share your best recipes for a chance to win! If you love local food as much as we do, you’ll probably want to share your recipes just because you can, and because you understand the health and environmental benefits of locally-grown food. But we’re throwing in some rewards and prizes for good measure, because, well, we think you’ll like them! You’re welcome to submit a recipe for any of The Local Dish all-stars at any time – the more the merrier. Each month, we will announce a new Ontario-grown fruit or veggie that’s abundantly available at that time and the list of all-stars just keeps growing. Toronto Local Dish post.

 

How Farmers Markets are Getting it Right

“Like in Alberta, conference attendees were concerned with the proliferation of new markets in British Columbia and many expressed doubt that there are enough farmers to fill these markets,” says Melisa Zapisocky project support, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Edmonton. “Yet, many markets were thriving and did not appear to be hindered or upset by this growth.” She says the conference showed some of the ways these markets are getting it right. “Markets are finding ways to stand out from the crowd by focusing on their personality, and what is unique or different,” explains Zapisocky. “Examples include operating a 100 per cent certified organic market, working with food and concession vendors to increase use of local ingredients (and promoting this), and providing more services in the market like knife sharpening, bike repair, or a market-run coffee booth.” Alberta Agriculture and Forestry post.

 

Foods of the Forest: Ontario Nature’s Forage North Program

Summer 2014 was busy for Ontario Nature’s Boreal Program staff located in Thunder Bay. As part of a new two-year pilot project named Forage North, staff members have been working to strengthen the local food economy, community health and environmental sustainability in northern Ontario by increasing the appreciation, supply and distribution of edible wild plants. The project began last year with a survey of northern Ontario residents’ awareness, consumption and opinions of forest and freshwater foods. From the hundreds of responses across northern Ontario, it was determined that the majority of residents would be willing to purchase locally-harvested forest and freshwater foods if they are more widely available. Stewardship Network of Ontario post.

 

Creating a local food buzz in Attercliffe

Roy and Karen Graystone are big supporters of local food who are looking to take that support one step further. The owners of the Attercliffe General Store support the local economy by serving locally-sourced foods in the restaurant portion of their rural business. The bacon is purchased in Beamsville, the eggs from Dunnville, the home-fried potatoes are Ontario grown. For dinner they serve Lake Erie perch and Smithville chicken. Niagara This Week story.

 

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Food Fighters at Female Eye Film Festival

Food Fighters, screening at the Female Eye Film Festival, follows food activists who work together to build food security in urban settings. Taking a close look at small-scale farmers, Food Fighters highlights the challenges and risks involved in urban agriculture while sharing success stories. The documentary screens on June 19th from 5-7pm at The Royal Cinema. Tickets. Vimeo trailer.

Local Food News — World

Binghamton University pledges to improve campus nutrition with Partnership for a Healthier America

According to BU’s B-Healthy Initiative, the University has agreed to a total of 23 changes by joining the initiative. Changes include implementing a local food procurement program and offering at least five fruits and five vegetable choices in dining halls. In addition, every platform serving meat must also offer a plant-based alternative. Binghamton University Pipe Dream post.

AgCenter receives USDA grant for farm-to-school conference

A conference to address a statewide farm-to-school initiative has recently been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm to School Grant Program. Through a $25,000 grant, the LSU AgCenter will host a statewide farm-to-school conference to bring together school administrators, teachers and parents, food service managers, farmers, food distributors and others involved with Louisiana agriculture, school gardens and healthy school meals, said Annrose Guarino, the AgCenter state specialist for urban health. The format will center on education, gardening and procurement and provide technical assistance in areas such as local food procurement, food and garden safety, culinary education and incorporating curricula into existing core classes. KTAL-TV story.

Buying local produce important to Irish consumers – Bord Bia

A preference for local food is a growing trend amongst consumers in the UK and Ireland, according to Bord Bia’s Periscope report. Outlining the results of the report Michal Slawski of Bord Bia says in Ireland, seven out of 10 adults consider buying local produce to be important when shopping for food – as a comparison; just over half of adults in the UK feel the same. When asked to define what local meant, most people in the UK and Ireland believe that local food refers to food that is produced in close proximity to where they live, he said. Agriland story.

Tucson’s Local Food Rave

When Heirloom’s owner Manish Shah found out that St. Philip’s was planning an art fair for the weekend of April 5, he looked at the market’s temporary displacement as an opportunity. “The idea was to throw a big food rave,” says Shah. “It was something that I had been contemplating for a long time.” So, Heirloom and company is packing everything up for a one day celebration at Rillito Downs called the Viva La Local Food Festival. The festival, says Shah, will feature the biggest farmers’ market in Southern Arizona, with more than eighty independent vendors as well as thirty-plus local restaurants serving up some local delicacies alongside a number of Southern Arizona wineries and breweries. But if it all sounds too lavish for your blood, not to worry. “We’re trying to really keep (Viva) accessible to everybody,” says Shah. Zocalo Magazine story.

Farmhouse Direct

Farmhouse Direct is a virtual marketplace developed to bring farmers and producers together with their buyers, allowing customers to buy direct from the person who grows or makes the product. To keep it real we don’t act as a warehouse or middleman we just connect you direct to your favourite producers who fulfill your order direct from their farm. Although we offer a single checkout, so that you don’t have to make multiple payments, we do not aggregate delivery so if you order from multiple Producers you will see shipping costs against each order. Most Producers use a range of flat rate shipping boxes so to optimise your basket with each Producer we suggest you refer to the “Order Considerations” to see whether you can add additional products in the Producers range for the same shipping cost. To maintain integrity of the direct relationship between the farmer/producer we offer direct fulfilment from the producer to the buyer. This ensures that we provide you with the freshest made products direct from the farm. Website.

Vinland restaurant taking local food movement to extremes

Levi said he decided to try to his food experiment in Portland because of the abundance of organic farms, fishermen and foragers. But it’s also a place where the ground is frozen solid for six months. “I really enjoy the challenge,” said Levi carefully slicing a roast beef. Local ingredients only means diners will not find any dishes prepared with typical staples like olive oil, black pepper, cane sugar. “It forces us to think how can we create dishes which are exciting? Without using the more obvious ingredients,” said Levi. No lemon? No problem. They use condensed yogurt whey. WCSH-TV story.

London restaurateur calls for local food forum

Angelus Restaurant and Bar became the first restaurant to sign the NFU’s Back British Farming charter in October last year, but owner Thierry Tomasin has been disappointed with the results. Mr Tomasin, who said he was ‘passionate about serving excellent French cuisine using locally-produced ingredients’, hoped the charter, which is prominently displayed on the restaurant’s website, would help open up new avenues to source fresh British ingredients. But the reality is he has continued to struggle to source consistent supplies and has spoken out to urge ‘more momentum from the NFU’ in driving local farmers to work more closely with restaurants around the UK. Farmers Guardian story.

Top 10 Lessons from the Farm to School Summit

Last month’s Farm to School Summit held in Aurora, Nebraska, was a smash hit. We learned a host of things to help us move Farm to School forward. I hope they inspire you to act for your schools and communities. Centre for Rural Affairs post.

USDA: Local food sales important to agriculture

“There really is a tremendous buzz all over the country on local foods. In fact, local food sales have continued to increase. Now they’re over $7 billion a year,” said Avalos. He says the No. 1 national trend with supermarkets and restaurants is local food. “This is important to a lot of components of agriculture. In reality, it’s an economic driver for our communities. Local foods creates jobs. It keeps many farmers, mostly small farmers, on the farm. It keeps farmland in farm production,” Avalos said. He added it in no way negatively impacts mainstream ag resources. RFD-TV story.

Healthy Corner Stores Network

The Healthy Corner Stores Network supports efforts to increase the availability and sales of healthy, affordable foods through small-scale stores in underserved communities. Because together, we can create better meal alternatives in our communities than just chips and soda. Anyone interested in food access can be a member. The network includes more than 600 members from all over North American. Website.

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Farmer Derek Klingenberg Plays “Jingle Bells” to the Cows

Derek Klingenberg has a Christmas present just for his cows. In this fun video Klingenberg plays “Jingle Bells” to the cows who come running towards him. Once they get close though, Derek has a surprise waiting just for them. Video.

Alternative Trade – Legacies for the Future

Gavin Fridell does us all a service in reminding us that—as the slogan has it—another world is possible. Indeed, existed. He begins by taking on the notion—or fantasy as he calls it— of ‘free trade’ as normal or an uncontested good or even a reality, rather than something usually of benefit only to the top dog. Fridell reviews three different alternative trade regimes—covering bananas, coffee and wheat—the latter through something familiar to most Canadian readers, the Canadian Wheat Board. He argues that three things define alternative trade—the use of state power to manage markets for broader social, economic and developmental ends; social regulation; and, a pro-poor agenda. Book review.

Local Food News — World

Women’s Institute is waving the flag for homegrown food

The Women’s Institute may be nearly 100 years old, but it is alive and growing all over the country. Even in the capital, groups such as the Borough Belles, the Shoreditch Sisters and the Dalston Darlings are meeting, gardening and enjoying themselves. Set up in 1915 to produce and preserve food during the First World War, the WI’s rallying cry was: ‘Though the boys and men are gone, the furrows shan’t be fallow, while the women carry on’. Telegraph.co.uk story.

Growers key to food bowl plan

A new logo and branding strategy aimed at positioning and showcasing the Macleay Valley as a source of high quality food produce was launched this week. The launch was at the Mid North Coast Food Forum, held at Bonville Golf Course on Monday. The ‘Macleay Valley Food Bowl’ logo is a registered trademark and was commissioned by Kempsey Shire Council as part of its Agribusiness Project. It is one of 10 strategies aimed at strengthening high-value agriculture in the Macleay. The Macleay Argus story.

From farm to school at Springfield Public School District

Out with the canned food, and in with fresh garden produce. That’s one change the Springfield Public School District is trying to make in its cafeterias. This month Springfield Public Schools is bringing fresh, local produce into three of its schools. The goal is to see what kids like, and what they don’t. So far kids have been fed corn, peaches, cucumber salad and fresh cantaloupe, all grown right here in the Ozarks. The trial run is paid for by a USDA grant that gives the district a chance to test the food. KSPR News story.

Temple University student study: Norristown needs a food policy council, community gardens

An urban planning class presented the results of a study of food availability in Norristown to council July 1 that included targeted recommendations. A resident group helped the students shape the food study during a task force meeting in January, Krouchick said. A community workshop was held in April allowing residents to explain what food issues were important to them. The group suggested community gardens on vacant Norristown lots, a “backpack” program that would allow children in the free and reduced price lunch program to bring canned foods home and a more vigorous emergency food access program. “There is a great potential for edible fruit trees in the community,” said David Swedkoski, a member of the class. “The Norristown Farm Park and Bartash Park are very underused for gardening but there is potential for improvement.” Montgomery Newspapers story. Norristown Food System Assessment.

Mendocino County Food Action Plan: local food system goals, actions

The Mendocino County Food Action Plan, a comprehensive document authored by Ukiah resident Carole Brodsky, is the output of the Food Policy Council, an organization created and endorsed in 2011 by the Board of Supervisors at the behest of the county health department. County supervisor Dan Hamburg, a member of the policy council, in referencing the plan, says that 98 percent of our food comes from outside the county, and if consumers purchased only 15 percent of the food they need for home use directly from local farmers, this would produce $20 million of new farm income in Mendocino County. Ukiah Daily Journal story. Mendocino County Food Action Plan.

A winter’s garden tale

It may be mid-November, but Dublin-based gardener Nicky Kyle’s produce-filled polytunnel is remarkable proof that with a bit of forward planning, it’s possible to continue to enjoy an impressive variety of freshly-harvested homegrown food throughout the autumn and winter months. Handfuls of marble-sized, golden Cape gooseberries, for example, their sharp, sweet flavour reminiscent of fizzy sherbet fountains. Or dark scarlet Albion strawberries, each fragrant fruit the size of a walnut, as well as succulent-fleshed, sooty skinned figs. Irish Times story.

A Conservatory in the Kitchen

I, for one, have daydreamed about owning a conservatory: a bright, climate-controlled growing space with windows, supplemental lights and a handy watering source. And here was Ms. Millard to tell me that I already possessed such a space, and it was called my condo. You don’t have to be a plant whisperer to enjoy success in this endeavor. Although, occasionally, you do have to be the bee. In a quest for bug-less indoor pollination, Ms. Millard stimulated the tomato’s reproductive parts with her electric toothbrush. The New York Times story.

A ‘Big Bite’ of a giant sisig and more: The Northern Food Festival

A sizzling pan 11 feet in diameter and filled with sisig prepared by Kapampangan chef Sau Del Rosario launched Big Bite! The Northern Festival last Friday at the MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga. An event highlighting the cultural traditions of Northern Luzon, Big Bite! was held by the private sector in cooperation with government bodies such as the Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry. GMA (Phillipines) News story.

Slice of Haven: A champion of food

RDA has just launched a new publication called “Our Champions of Food” that showcases stories from some of the most innovative food producers and agribusinesses across the Mid North Coast – and the Camden Haven’s own Slice of Haven food and wine festival was chosen as one of these stories! The purpose of Our Champions of Food is to promote our regional food industry. It’s also to inspire local food producers with stories of what can be achieved and to promote the benefits of choosing local produce among our regional community. Camden Haven Courier story.

Love Local Irish Food – Become an Urban Community Keeper

A Keeper is someone who sets up a local food community where they live. They support local producers, boost local economies and earn an income doing something they believe in. By becoming a Keeper you’re helping local producers to get the best deal possible for their produce, providing fresh food for your local community and making good money for yourself at the same time. It is possible depending on your ambition to take on north of 500 customers, each receiving deliveries from us twice a week, for which you will receive a portion of the total weekly spend. Sales Jobs Ireland post.

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Here’s how much each country spends on food

When droughts or crop failures cause food prices to spike, many Americans barely notice. The average American, after all, spends just 6.6 percent of his or her household budget on food consumed at home. (If you include eating out, that rises to around 11 percent.) The US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service keeps tabs on household expenditures for food, alcohol, and tobacco around the world. USDA Economic Research Service map.

Local Food News — World

The Milkman Cometh

As operations manager for Local Farmers Delivery, McDonald dispatches trucks full of milk to homes throughout Portland, Oregon. The company also delivers a few staples, like bread and eggs, and is focused on milk delivery. Delivery persons even wear the traditional all-white uniforms of yore, with a neat bowtie and cap. Since milkmen started making door-to-door deliveries to local neighborhoods earlier this year, McDonald has raced to keep up with demand, which more than tripled in the first three months. Modern Farmer story.

 

Community Shops 2014

There were 309 community shops trading at the end of 2013 an increase of 6% over the year. Like for like sales growth was 1.9%. Most shops are in the south and southwest. 95% of shops which were open in 1992 are still in business. The majority of community shops have chosen to register as an Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) for the Benefit of the Community. Turnover ranged from £6,500 to £1,103, 653. Sales increased by 1.9% in 2013 – better than the supermarkets! 65% of shops were run both by paid staff and volunteers. 70% of shops had postal services. OpenFields Landbased Library Online Briefing paper 2001.

 

‘The Monitor’ announces ‘Por Vida Food Festival’

Media gathered at a news conference yesterday to nosh on healthy snacks and watch chefs demonstrate how to create them while they heard an announcement about “Por Vida Food Festival,” The Monitor’s upcoming inaugural food and wellness festival. The Monitor’s executive editor, Carlos Sanchez, announced the event at El Pastor Grill and differentiated it from other local food festivals like “Taste of the Valley” and “International Food Festival.” “There have been countless food festivals in the Rio Grande Valley, but we wanted this one to be different,” Sanchez said. “It’s based on the idea that healthy food and good tasting food are not mutually exclusive.” The Monitor story.

 

The Fabulous Beekman Boys Want to Pay Your Farm’s Mortgage — With Tomato Sauce

The Fabulous Beekman Boys, everyone’s favorite city boys-turned farmers-turned reality TV stars, just gave away over $13,000 to farms in need. But don’t call it charity. “This is not just a handout,” says Brent Ridge, one of the two boys. “We’re not trying to save a failing farm for the short-term only to see it go bankrupt next year.” With this newish venture, Ridge and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, are hoping to encourage success stories like their own. Modern Farmer story.

 

Experience the White House Kitchen Garden!

In keeping with the President and First Lady’s commitment to open the People’s House to as many people as possible, tours of the White House Kitchen Garden are back and now available to community organizations as well as school groups with an interest in gardening and healthy eating. Come smell the beautiful, brightly colored fruits and vegetables in the Kitchen Garden, including herbs grown from Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello, see the vibrant flowers in the Pollinator Garden, and hear the bees buzzing around the White House Beehive. Let’s Move Blog post.

 

Top chefs help attract record turnout to food festival

More than 4,000 visitors sampled a diverse range of produce and gained cooking and growing tips at the biggest Northallerton Homegrown Food Festival yet. The cookery theatre had capacity audiences for four of the five demonstrations, with only the last show of the day having a few spare seats as visitors moved to the stage area for the live music, which included the Rhodes  brothers from Northallerton and the Swale Valley Stompers. The Northern Echo story.

 

Penang to ban foreign cooks to preserve ‘local’ food heritage

Penang is set to implement a ban on foreign workers working as the main cook in the hawker food business in order to protect the state’s food heritage. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said hawker licences were only given to locals but the local council had found out that there were a few hawkers who employed foreigners as their main cooks, according to Bernama news agency. It quoted Lim as saying the local council was currently gathering feedback from the public relating to the matter, adding that the implementation could take place as soon as early next year. The Straits Times story.

 

Food trucks draw Kankakee into national trend

Farm fresh food is in demand, and two local food trucks are putting it on wheels. Crème of the Crop and Dine and Dash seemed to have appeared around the same time, drawing Kankakee County into a nationwide phenomenon that has become synonymous with bourgeois convenience. “I’ve seen the popular food trucks in Chicago, California and Denver, and I’ve been wanting to do this for years,” said Grant Glessner, 40, who runs Dine and Dash with his wife, Ronda. Kankakee Daily Journal story.

 

Fifth Season’s vegetable mixes help scale-up Wisconsin farm-to-school marketing program

Small and mid-sized vegetable growers are interested in diversifying their markets to include schools and other institutions, but the typical industrial supply chain infrastructure does not currently provide that connection. The article on the following pages describes how staff at the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems at the University of Wisconsin–Madison worked with the Fifth Season Cooperative to address this missing connection. The article describes how partners coordinated and cooperated to create new supply chain opportunities. Together, they created markets for cosmetically imperfect seconds to create affordable, healthful and locally grown school food options. Rural Cooperatives Magazine article(page 13).

 

Get ready for Foodstock, featuring local food trucks

Save the date for Foodstock, July 26 at One Summit Square, corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets downtown. Hosted by Fort Wayne Food Trucks, they will be there 11 a.m.-8 p.m., selling their goods, while local bands entertain. There also will be a beer garden. For more information follow them on Facebook at Fort Wayne Food Trucks. News Sentinel story.

 

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Confronting the Blue Revolution: Industrial Aquaculture and Sustainability in the Global South

Like the Green Revolution of the 1960s, a “Blue Revolution” has taken place in global aquaculture. Geared towards quenching the appetite of privileged consumers in the global North, it has come at a high price for the South: ecological devastation, displacement of rural subsistence farmers, and labour exploitation. The uncomfortable truth is that food security for affluent consumers depends on a foundation of social and ecological devastation in the producing countries. University of Toronto Press book announcement

Locavore News — World

Local food entrepreneurs take on Big Food in Australia

Nicholas Rose, co-ordinator of the Victorian Food Systems Network project of the Food Alliance, recently wrote about a local food study that predicted a 20% increase in local food production in Illinois will generate $20bn to $30bn of new economic activity. Applying the same logic across all Australian states (with total combined annual expenditure on food of $158bn, compared with $48bn in Illinois) would mean that the same 20% shift to local food in Australia would lead to at least $50bn billion of new economic activity. Perth Herald story.

 

“Mobile Gardening,” the Hottest New Trend? 6 Ways to Mash-Up Bikes and Gardens

Bicycle gardening is perhaps the most ingenious examples of mobile gardening I‘ve come across. The examples are easy to adapt and modify to create your own bicycle gardens. These hobbies, nay, lifestyles dovetail nicely as you will see from these examples. Tree Hugger post.

 

USDA Pilots New Farm-To-School Programs

At first glance, the 2014 Farm Bill may look like business as usual. But there is also some good news for local food advocates buried deep in the $956 billion bill, and a new pilot program that promises to place more local produce in schools is worth applauding. Starting next school year, these programs would provide local fruit and vegetables for at least five, and up to eight, pilot schools across the country, with at least one state in each of the five main regions of the country. Civil Eats post.

 

Campbelltown will be the focus of food-lovers and bloggers as part of the Tasting Australia line-up

The Flavours of Campbelltown Food Trail will feature twice in this year’s Tasting Australia Festival line up, with daily bus tours from the city and a food-bloggers’ tour of the food manufacturers of the district. Campbelltown Council’s economic development manager Ursula Hickey said she expected almost 150 people to take part in the bus tours over the week-long festival. She said combined with the food bloggers’ tour, the events would be a major boost for local tourism. Herald Sun blog.

 

In Queens, Chickens Clash With the Rules

Keeping chickens in New York City has become a popular hobby, especially in precincts of Brooklyn where foodies and do-it-yourselfers prize locally grown food. Ms. Saye, 48, bought a dozen heritage chickens last July to provide free-range eggs for her daughter, Scarlett, 5, because she wants to serve foods that are free of hormones. Ms. Saye bought a $2,500 coop and had fencing installed to protect the chickens from predators. But a month ago, she learned of a different type of threat to her chickens: the stringent restrictions that homeowners in her neighborhood are supposed to abide by. The New York Times story.

 

People choosing to live ‘la vida locavore’

Not only do they believe locally produced food tastes better, but getting food from local sources also helps support their neighbors and the area’s economy. The Minneapolis-based nonprofit Crossroads Resource Center have studied the effects of a food system on local economies in a quest to help communities become more self-sufficient. Its 2012 study of the Montgomery, AL, metro area showed they were among many localities that could not meet their own demand. WDAM-TV post.

 

Six mistakes Australian food manufacturers are making

Carp said that while Australian consumers are becoming more patriotic with their shopping habits, manufacturers can do more to promote the fact that their products are Australian made. “Consumers may well be more aware that ‘Australian made’ gives them the freshest shelf ingredients, supports local jobs, and helps the economy, but with customers being more committed to buying Australian made, local food brands risk becoming less active in their product development and marketing. Being ‘Australian made’ is only one factor among many that influences a customer’s choice to purchase, as well as a buyer’s decision to stock the product on shelves.” Australia’s Manufacturing, Industrial and Mining post.

 

Local producers come together to launch Boyne Valley Food Series

Electric bike food tours, seafood festivals, blossom walks, pop-up restaurants, food safaris, gourmet cycles and a festival of opera and food are just some of the delights food-lovers can look forward to as plans are announced for the 2014 Boyne Valley Food Series. Foraging days, a celebration of the pig, a craft beer festival, harvest feasts and barbecue demonstrations are among the other innovative events and activities planned for the series this summer. Meath Chronicle post.

 

Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. It’s inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone’s proprietary product. NPR post.

 

Resettling America with a Focus on Land Use: An Interview with Mary Berry

Mary Berry, a Kentucky farmer and daughter of writer Wendell Berry, started the Berry Center in New Castle, Kentucky, to address the “central issue of our time: a healthy and sustainable agriculture in this county.” The organization is working with colleges to create educational programs, with farming organizations to find healthier ways of providing food to cities, and with those who influence policy to instigate new programs. Its mission is to continue Wendell Berry’s work, “by bringing focus, knowledge, and cohesiveness to the work of changing our ruinous industrial agriculture system into a culture that uses nature as the standard, that accepts no permanent damage to the ecosphere, and that takes into consideration human health in local communities.” Food Tank post.

 

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CTA Rail Car Transformed into Mobile Garden Wonderland

The Mobile Garden is an idea we’ve loved for a couple years now, starting with the concept of a rail car transformed into a park in Chicago. Now, the organization has taken the fun indoors, turning the interior of a rail car into a green wonderland. The design is part of the Art on Track festival. All of the plants used are native, and they cover the seats, windows and floors. According to Inhabitat, the Mobile Garden Car ran for 5 hours around Chicago’s downtown Loop. Passengers could enjoy having a bit of the outdoors inside while they passed through the urban landscape. Tree Hugger post.

Locavore News — World

 

Food Hub Knowledge: Documents in the NGFN database about Food Hubs

Distribution is on the top of everyone’s mind in the food world these days. How do we get small and medium-scale farm products to various markets – restaurants, institutions, households? Food Hub models are popping up trying to answer this question. Food Matters Manitoba just finished a feasibility study on Food Hubs. One finding is that there is a spectrum of models that could work – starting small 1) Brokering: being a broker between farmers and markets, then moving up to 2) Distribution: brokering plus having a storage facility and physically distributing, one more step up is 3) Limited Purchase: purchasing some goods + storage + broker + distribute and a larger-scale model would be 3) Full Scale: purchasing all goods from farmers + storage + broker + transport of goods. National Good Food Network food hub resources. Food Hub Feasibility Studies.

 

Local Food Procurement

We can see the concept of local food procurement manifest in the film Cafeteria Man staring Chef Tony Geraci. He shows his audience hope for “farm to school” procurement practices, establishing contracts with local farmers. Geraci sees progress in school lunch slowly becoming “less of a program” and more of a “vehicle for wellness”. Some of the students in the film had the awesome opportunity to speak to Congress advocating for local food procurement by schools. California Food Literacy post.

 

California Farm to School Network

A newly established network in California is supporting admirable Farm to School (F2S) efforts collectively across the state. The California Farm to School Network (CFSN) came in to fruition last summer and will continue building on the movement from the California Farm to School Taskforce, expanding membership to everyone in the state who is working on F2S projects. Website.

 

New consumer app scores protein products for sustainability

In recent years, various apps have been designed to help consumers shop more sustainably by providing information about products’ environmental credentials. The Questionmark1 is one such app, developed in the Netherlands by an animal welfare NGO in collaboration with an environmental consultancy. Aimed at the Dutch market, it enables consumers to use their phones to scan the barcodes of over 19 000 protein-rich products commonly found in supermarkets. An overall sustainability score is presented for each product, plus further individual scores for human health, climate change, biodiversity, animal welfare and social impacts. For each item, the app also lists a range of alternative, but similar, products, giving the user an opportunity to make a more sustainable choice. For example, if a user scans a packet of pork chops, other meat products and vegetarian alternatives, such as veggie burgers, will appear, along with their scores. European Commission Science for the Environment Policy paper.

 

FarmDrop

“FarmDrop’s mission is to enable everyone to buy the freshest seasonal food, at the right price, direct from local producers. They use technology and transparency to rekindle the forgotten relationship between the makers and eaters of real food”. The first commercial FarmDrop groups are about to be set up. RuSource Briefing 1938.

 

Fletcher Allen wins national awards for sustainable food leadership

Fletcher Allen Health Care’s food service program has won two awards from Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of more than 520 organizations working to increase “green” practices in the health care industry. Fletcher Allen won first place in the sustainable food procurement category, and its executive chef Richard Jarmusz was honored with the Exemplary Food Service Professional award. The “Sustainable Food Procurement Award” recognizes accomplishments in promoting health through food purchasing decisions. Fletcher Allen rated highly in buying and serving large quantities of a wide range of healthy, locally produced products. VTDigger story.

 

School health, food awards are offered

Healthy Acadia and the Downeast Community Transformation Collaborative are offering competitive awards to Hancock and Washington County schools to develop or improve Farm to School and Safe Routes to School/Access to Exercise policies and programs.

Farm to School proposals must lead to lasting changes in the school that support healthy eating and nutrition. Project proposals may include: enhancing local food procurement systems; growing or raising school food, including gardens, greenhouses and aquaculture; and/or education on food systems, nutrition and gardening. Fenceviewer story.

 

Just-Eat Plans £100M IPO: Acquisitions & Food Pickup on the Horizon

Earlier this month, UK-based online food delivery startup Just-Eat announced it had snapped up rival Meal2Go, intending to bring Meal2Go’s electronic point of sale (POS) tech to its restaurant partners. Today, the food ordering giant announced its plans for an IPO (initial public offering) of up to £100 million in common stock on the London Stock Exchange, reports The Financial Times (FT). This IPO would be the biggest local exit for a company from London’s “Tech City“ hub,” reports FT, and closely follows US-based delivery giant GrubHub’s $100 million IPO announcement last month. Food+Tech Connect post.

 

As Commodity Farmers Shift Course, a Library to Collect Their Stories

Now these farmers’ experiences in transitioning and diversification will make up an online library designed to help farmers nationwide. Funded by a $15,000 Kickstarter campaign, which successfully met its goal over the weekend, work can now begin on the Growing Innovation resource library. The goal is to include interactive maps, photos, records of personal experiences, farmers’ budgets, and detailed plans of their farm-led projects. RAFI has teamed with FarmHack to help build the site. A portion of the money raised will be used to publish a coffee table photo book of farmers helped by the grants. Civil Eats post.

 

AN ACT to amend the state finance law, in relation to solicitation of available New York food products

Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, when letting contracts for the purchase of food products on behalf of facilities and institutions of the state, solicitation specifications of the office of general services and any other agency, department, office, board or commission may require provisions that mandate that all or some of the required food products are grown, produced or harvested in New York state, or that any processing of such food products take place in facilities located within New York state. New York State Assembly Act.

 

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Eco bottle caps double as Lego blocks

Brazil’s Clever Caps has redesigned bottle tops to give them extra use as Lego-style bricks after they’ve finished their life as a lid. Created by Brazil-based innovative packaging developer Clever Pack, the caps are designed initially as standard PCO 1881 finish bottle tops that provide a secure seal for beverages. However, once they’ve served their purpose as a bottle cap, the ridges on top and underneath mean that each one can be clipped onto another. They don’t need to be thrown away, or even recycled. Springwise post.

Locavore News — World

Whole Foods’ Local Move: Just One Dish in the Feast of Cultural Change

The Times article casts local sourcing as a major reason for Whole Foods’ success, and that is true. Consumers love local. They also appreciate Whole Foods’ organic, sustainable, seasonal, ethnic and authentic (food with a story) offerings. All of these attributes and more are part of consumers’ broad evolution toward higher-quality foods. The terms change in meaning and popularity, but taken together, they reach a large cross-section of shoppers who together are marching toward better eating. Hartman Group article.

If given a chance, small-scale farms could make a difference in solving hunger problem

My own two cents’ worth came in an address at Maine’s Common Ground Country Fair titled “It’s a Cute Little Movement, but Can It Feed the World?” I’d been provoked by a flood of articles declaring that only large-scale, industrial, biotech farms can save our increasingly overpopulated planet. That small farms and gardens cannot do that has become a mantra, self-replicating its merry way to pseudo-truth. Plenty of studies prove otherwise, and the one that does the best job of exploding the myth is the massive effort, launched in 2002 by the World Bank, called the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, or IAASTD. Washington Post post.

Do Restaurants Cater to Locapours?

When we are asking consumers would they buy local broccoli, we don’t think the intent if the question is to ask “Will you buy local broccoli even if the quality is not as good as California broccoli?” We think the premise is that the quality will be equal, and that the question should be: “If we can grow local broccoli that is just as tasty and delicious as California broccoli, would you prefer it? Would you pay a premium for it?” This question can be applied to any produce item. In such a case, consumers usually answer pro-local because the idea that it is local implies certain things to consumers: 1) It will be fresher, 2) It will be less expensive because of savings in shipping, 3) It will be better for the environment because of less shipping and related carbon output, and 4) it will help enrich the local community. With wine you are not dealing with a parity product so the question is somewhat different. A Cornell Study On New York Wines Raises A Fresh Question: What Do We Mean When We Ask About Local? Perishable Pundit post.

New York State Food Purchasing Guidelines

Laws authorizing and encouraging governmental procurement that preferences NY products. The legislation was first directed at schools, then was expanded to include state agencies (as well as the State University system), and now encompasses local municipal governments as well. Federal rules were recently changed to make it easier to encourage local purchasing at K-12 schools as well, by saying that schools may exercise a preference for local foods when they are using federal dollars provided through the National School Lunch Program. Mayor’s Office of Contract Services post.

Farm to School Programs Coming to the Region

The Loup Basin RC&D Council and the Center for Rural Affairs are coming together to start Farm to School programs. These programs will benefit the children by providing fresh, locally produced food to schools and benefit local farmers by opening new markets for them. According to Starkweather, two-thirds of school children eat a national School Lunch Program lunch and consume about one third of their total daily calories from this meal and currently that food travels between 2,500 and 4,000 miles before reaching their plates. Center for Rural Affairs post.

Shoppers’ attitudes & motivations to sustainable diets

Shoppers are feeling more empowered about sustainable diets, but still require industry to take the lead in this area and to inspire them. Nearly half of shoppers say healthy options are important compared to one in five that consider ethical factors. More shoppers than in 2009 feel able to positively influence their health, British farmers, the local economy and the way animals are treated through their grocery shopping decisions. Sustainability plays an important role when shoppers are choosing between products. Shoppers expect industry to take responsibility on nutrition and the environment, to inspire them and provide information to help them make informed choices. IGD (UK) report.

Food Policy Network Resource List

Food policy work—and progress—is occurring across the U.S. at many levels, including state, city, county, and tribal jurisdictions. There has even been some work done in a federal capacity. This resource list represents some of that food policy work in the form of action plans, how-to guides, ordinances, academic studies and more as they are executed at all levels of government. Center for a Liveable Future. post.

The Role of Food Hubs in Food Supply Chains

The dramatic rise of the “local foods” market and the need for sustainable local food value chains has correspondingly led to innovative solutions designed to meet this burgeoning demand. Food hubs are just one of the local entities increasing in number across the U.S. and being used to facilitate a closer connection between producers and consumers. Despite their popularity and increasing numbers, there exists comparatively little systematic research regarding food hubs; for example, investigation into the primary impetus for the formation of food hubs and local food chains, best practices, demonstrated impacts on the community, coexistence with current food supply chains, food safety, and the long-term viability of such entities have been explored only minimally in current literature. This commentary provides a brief context to present relevant questions for further research in the emerging trend of food hubs. Journal of Agriculture, Food systems  and Community Development abstract.

Forget the golf course, subdivisions build around farms

A new model for suburban development is springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement. Farms, complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees, are serving as a way to entice potential buyers to settle in a new subdivision. It’s called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture – a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In the planning process of a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production – a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park – that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together. Harvest Public Media article.

Payment for forest ecosystem services: a case study in Finland

Tourists would be willing to pay for increased biodiversity and reduced clear-felling in forests, a recent Finnish case study suggests. In a survey of over 900 visitors to Lapland, most stated that they felt landscape quality and biodiversity were important, and that they would be happy to pay their share for preserving these qualities. Europe Science for the Environment post.

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Peterson brothers spoof Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’

Their version of Perry’s US chart topper – “Chore” – details the daily farming chores the brothers get up to on their livestock farm in Kansas. The latest tune features the three brothers Nathan, Greg and Kendal and the singing talents of the fourth sibling, Laura. The brothers’ other parodies “I’m Farming and I Grow It” and “Farmer Style” and “A Fresh Breath of Farming Air” have notched up more than 23 million hits on video-sharing site You Tube. Last month, the brothers sang their parodies to more than 4,000 young farmers at a concert in Hannover, Germany. YouTube video.