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The Boiling Point

Featured Farm: Fledging Crow Vegetables Rooted in FUN

Featured Farm: Fledging Crow Vegetables Rooted in FUN

Are you someone who believes that food should be fun and even a bit quirky?  If so, you have a lot in common with Ian Ater. His farm, Fledging Crow...

RealEats + Geneva, NY: A Rich Past, a Glowing Future Together

RealEats + Geneva, NY: A Rich Past, a Glowing Future Together

Let us tell you about a love story between RealEats and a little town in Upstate New York. This love story started with a community of dedicated fa...

Featured Farm: Juniper Hill is Focused on Quality

Featured Farm: Juniper Hill is Focused on Quality

Adam Hainer knows that focusing on growing quality food will keep people coming back. He owns Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams, NY, and he supplies th...

Food Action: Fighting the “Powerful System That Rewards Profit over People and the Planet”

The organization aims for a food system that is just and sustainable, and one that provides access to good food for all. Food Tank (FT): Why is supporting sustainable food and farming important in Washington? If we can succeed in making Washington State’s food system stronger (in terms of being more ecologically resilient, more equitable, and more healthy for the environment and for people), it will be a great model for strengthening the nation’s food system as well. We can’t talk about organics and sustainable agriculture without also having conversations about farm labor and fair pay, and about hunger and making sure that everyone has enough to eat. RL: Creating the Washington Food Bill, the first for the nation, which incorporates those things we know comprise a truly healthy, sustainable, and just food system, affords us the opportunity to put words into action and help create the food system we all deserve and require. AM: Our statewide Washington Food Bill is the first time, as far as we know, that anyone has tried to advocate for a whole systems approach on a state scale in this way. FT: What do you find most challenging about your work in promoting and advocating for good food? FT: Food Action is the former Washington Sustainable Food & Farming Network. A society that puts the health of people and the planet before profits is one where happiness and health pervade. FT: How can consumers get involved with Food Action or otherwise support your mission to reform the food system to increase access for all to good food?

The Missing Party In The Discussion About Sustainable Farming

The good news is that state-of-the art sustainable farming practices can pay for themselves. Maybe You Can’t Buy The Farm, But You Can Rent It Rented land USDA map There are historical and logical reasons why so much farmland is rented. Also, the price of land can vary for many reasons unrelated to its potential crop production (development potential, mineral rights…), while land rents are very tightly connected with the likely crop value (see graphs below). How land rents are related to potential productivity for 4 Midwestern states However, even though the leasing of farmland is a practical system, the way it is typically done today misses the opportunity for a win-win-win scenario for the farmer, the land owner, and the environment. Land rent is a big part of a farmer's annual cash outlay The optimal, soil-building farming methods I mentioned above often take a few years to produce their beneficial effects, and entail some risk along the way. After a few years the risks become lower than with tillage, but without a longer-term lease arrangement, the initial investment does not make sense. The prevailing, annual cash rent arrangement as well as annually focused lending don’t support these sustainable practices. What is needed is a way for farmers and land owners to share the risk and investment of the shift in practices and then to share the increase in potential production value. I know there are plenty of progressive farmers who would be able to make the right decisions about how to improve each given field. I know there are plenty of progressive farmers who would be able to make the right decisions about how to improve each given field.

Innovative Approaches Bringing Urban Farming To Cities Across The Globe

Across the globe, innovators are working to make fresh, locally grown food more accessible to city dwellers via urban farming. Agricool, a French startup, is hoping to dot the country’s landscape with shipping containers that are retrofitted to grow plump, juicy strawberries. What separates this startup from others in the urban farming space is the care it takes in developing custom LED grow lights and precise temperature control. The short-term plan for Agricool, explains co-founder Guillaume Fourdinier, is to have five custom containers in the Paris area selling strawberries, “Our mission is global and we have to go where fruit and vegetable prices are “an anomaly”. Once the Paris rollout is successful, the company plans to outsource manufacturing of its container gardens and sell the units globally. Ok, only two, but still, real and delicious strawberries! Agricool is but one of several urban farms operating outside the U.S., each deploying a different market approach. Twice a week is harvest time and customers can buy fresh basil grown in this 10-foot-high tech-driven agricultural marvel. In Singapore, Panasonic developed an indoor farm that produced leafy greens which were sold to local grocers and restaurants. Clean Air Nurseries in South Africa has patented what it calls a “closed-loop water system” called EGGS to grow greens indoors in a short time frame with less water.

Danielle Nierenberg Talks Big Agriculture on Nourishing Millions Podcast

On IFPRI's Nourishing Millions podcast, Danielle Nierenberg talks about what—and who—

Over the past year, several high-profile merger proposals have threatened to push the agriculture world into the hands of just a few huge corporations. But what—and who—exactly is “Big Agriculture”? Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg answers this and discusses challenges facing the global food system on this week’s episodeof the...

Arkansas Farmers Joining Cooperatives to Make Small Farming Possible

Arkansas Farmers joining cooperatives to make small farming possible.

Photograph courtesy of Bryan Clifton.

In addition to providing fresh produce and meat for families in Arkansas, New South Produce Cooperative and Grassroots Farmer’s Cooperativesupply financial and agricultural support for their member farms. Based in Little Rock and Clinton, respectively, these farmer-owned and operated co-ops connect members to distribution networks,...

7 Things You Can Do to Prevent Food Waste at Home

7 Things You Can Do to Prevent Food Waste at Home

“Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food is never eaten.”

–Dana Gunders

141 trillion: the number of calories thrown into the dumpster every day.

1,249 calories per capitain the United States are discarded and 30- 40% of that food waste is at the consumer level. We are going to talk about world hunger, global waste, and what...

FAO Places Sustainable Agriculture Center Stage in National Climate Change Plans

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has unveiled new guidelines to help developing countries achieve climate change pledges.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recently unveiled a new set of guidelinesto support developing countries balance the needs of increased food production and climate change adaptation. The guidelines aim to support governments in making sure that the agriculture sector is both included in national climate change adaptation plans and...

One way to get Big Agriculture to clean up its act

One way to get Big Agriculture to clean up its act

Ray Gaesser farms 6,000 acres of corn and soy in Iowa and has been practicing no-till farming, an environmentally beneficial practice, for decades. In recent rainy years he has also started planting cover crops, which reduce runoff but create extra expense. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

This month, I set out to discover whether what...

Organic farming isn’t just green — it’s very good business

A laborer packs community supported agriculture (CSA) boxes full of tomatoes at J.R. Organics Farm in Escondido, California, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg

With a growing body of evidence pointing to the environmental damage inflicted by large-scale agriculture — from rainforest clearing and other...

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