Online farmers markets gain popularity during pandemic

June 5, 2020 by  
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Virtual farmers markets have been online for a few years now, but the COVID-19 pandemic is giving them a boost. Many consumers are happy to get fresh goods from local farmers without having to brave in-person stores or markets. Online farmers markets usually operate in a fairly small geographical area. The operators partner with local farms to market their wares online and deliver them to individuals. The consumer peruses a website packed with delicious fruits and vegetables, picking what they want from various producers, just like at a real farmers market. After paying online, the market ships or delivers the goods. This is a little like the convenience of a community supported agriculture subscription, but with a full choice of items from a variety of farmers. Related: Everything you need to know about online farmers markets In Southern California, online farmers market Market Box recently expanded its delivery area to Los Angeles. This virtual farmers market is based in El Cajon, a small city east of San Diego. The new venture involves 50 local vendors offering upward of 600 items. All are vegan and locally grown. When Jessica Davis and Amanda Zollinger Waterman heard that their local farmers markets were closing due to the pandemic, the vendors teamed up to found Market Box. “Finding vendors was the easy part — everyone was looking for sales outlets and we had relationships already built from doing farmers markets. What we did not plan was everything else. Just finding supplies, alone, was so difficult,” Davis and Zollinger Waterman told VegNews . “Our community helped us so much — we would not have been able to pull this off without friends volunteering, families flying in from out of town to help, vendors being insanely patient and kind to us, companies renting us refrigerated vans off their own fleet, and our customers that were so sweet, understanding, and encouraging, through every steep learning curve we experienced.” Other online farmers markets include OurHarvest in New York, NoCo Virtual Farmers Market in northern Colorado and Champaign County Ohio Virtual Farmers’ Market . During the pandemic, Crescent City Farmers Market is offering a weekly drive-through market in New Orleans. Via VegNews Image via Adobe Stock

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Online farmers markets gain popularity during pandemic

Cheese 2011: International Cheese Show Spotlights Artisan Techniques and Slow Food Tradition (Slideshow)

August 23, 2011 by  
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Photo: Slow Food Since 1997, the biennial Slow Food expo Cheese has been bringing together lovers of formaggio for three days of classes, tastings, and debate. This year, Cheese 2011 will take over the streets of Bra (in Piedmont, Italy) from September 16-19 for a celebration of the rich, creamy food: From the artisans who prepare it using traditional techniques to the future of fromage, the event promises a savory look at the world of cheese production.

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Cheese 2011: International Cheese Show Spotlights Artisan Techniques and Slow Food Tradition (Slideshow)

Agra-Cycle’s Composting Program Aids Landfill Waste Reduction in Tennessee

August 22, 2011 by  
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Going green and environmental jobs is all the rage in case you haven’t heard.  It seems as though everyone has a list of ways to conserve and help save the environment.  Unfortunately most of these approaches although very well-intentioned, lack any real depth.  There is a lot of attention on slowing down the rate of pollution, but not much about repairing the damage already inflicted on our environment, let alone creating employment opportunities. Most of us have heard about high-tech green projects that were going to create new environmental jobs via the recent Stimulus Bill. Regrettably we have since learned that there were not any shovel ready jobs after all. So we are back to square one.  In light of governments inability to produce any significant results,  it would seem that if citizens wanted to get something done they would have to do it for themselves. Compost, Image Credit: green2go.org That realization was the impetus for   Agra-Cycle , a Memphis based non-profit that promotes sustainable agriculture as a foundation for sustainable communities. Recently the  Environmental-Expert.com   sent out a news item which reported,   “Agra-Cycle announces carbon sequestration project likely to become the largest landfill reduction strategy in Tennessee’s State history, composting a projected 10 million tons of organic waste by 2022.” Why is Agra-Cycle’s composting technique promising? Using EPA computations this will eliminate approximately 7 million tons of greenhouse gases. Additionally, each ton of organic compost waste absorbs hundreds of times its weight in atmospheric carbon, making it one of the most efficient methods of carbon sequestration known to man. Having the ability to not only eliminate much of the current greenhouse gasses being produced, but to go on and clean up the damage already at hand captured my attention immediately. Agra-Cycle has designed what has become known as the next generation of in-vessel composting systems. They call it the “Vee-Stack.”   A vertical composting unit capable of processing 10 tons of organic waste per day, transforming what would normally rot in a landfill into a natural soil amendment.  Composting cycles countless nutrients, minerals, trace elements and micro-organisms back into the soil, increases soil fertility and crop production while diminishing the need for chemical fertilizers. As it turns out Agra-Cycle doesn’t consider the Vee-Stack  a huge compost-er, they describe the Vee-Stack as “an enormous incubator designed to propagate hyper-thermophillic bacteria and fungi.  These high temperature micro-organisms are much more efficient in breaking down lignin and fibers that plague typical composting systems.” What makes Agra-Cycle unique and sustainable? Inspired by Peter Rutherford and Vertical Composting Technologies, Agra- Cycle felt that vertical composting was the answer they were looking to help solve the problem of millions of tons of organic waste being land filled each year in Shelby County.  That was until they looked at the price tag, shipping costs from Australia and construction. For the project to become reality, Agra-Cycle had to first find a way to build a vertical composting unit at a fraction of the current cost. This led to a completely different paradigm for the design and construction of an in-vessel composting systems. T he Vee-Stack is largely made of recycled materials. Agra-Cycle looked at other industries for parts that they could configure for use as basic components, avoiding customized components that drastically reduced construction costs. Agra-Cycle uses steel shipping containers that are used to load ships for international transport,  the same type of container that you see going down the highways. “Considering the cost of steel and the associated costs of fabrication it was more cost-effective to alter our plans a bit than to have our frame-work built from scratch.  It is a much more economical  and we just love the idea of it being recycled.” Another unique twist is that they have incorporated is a ceramics technology developed by a NASA technology partner.  It is composed of ceramic material in the form of microscopic spheres.  The interior portion of the sphere is actually a vacuum. This  breakthrough of insulating capabilities, increases efficiency and allows the Vee-Stack to harness the natural heat generated by bacteria as it breaks down organic waste.  It enables the Vee-Stack to operate at temperatures that are far greater than other traditional means of composting allowing for the propagation of Hyper-Thermophilic bacteria. The design of the Vee-Stack allows self aeration without the means of external powered air supply such as blowers.  By introducing air at the base of the unit, what can best be understood as the chimney effect, it fuels the composting process as well as increasing overall populations of bacteria.  This creates increased heat which in turn causes more air to be drawn in at the base. For now Agra-Cycle continues to raise the last few thousand dollars to complete construction and begin testing. Once completed they will look to local cotton gins who are desirous of an environmentally friendly  method for dealing with their annual production of gin trash.  Agra-Cycle will get to field test their new design and the gin gets a commodity in return. “Of course our hope is that the compost makes it way back to the fields of a local farmer. What excites us the most is helping to create new jobs in our community while doing something that has a real, measurable impact on our environment.  With tons of organic matter available for local agriculture it becomes much easier to accomplish our mission of promoting sustainable agriculture as a foundation for sustainable communities” Agra-Cycle provides solutions for large-scale organic waste streams- For more information about Agra-Cycle and to see how you can become a part of this exciting new opportunity to heal our environment,  please visit their website .

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Agra-Cycle’s Composting Program Aids Landfill Waste Reduction in Tennessee

6 Ways Agriculture Impacts Global Warming

November 19, 2009 by  
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Photo credit: SugarCreekPhoto via Flickr Sure, agriculture provides us with the food we all eat every day. But do you know how those agricultural practices impact global warming? Turns out there’s some pretty big impacts, on both the sustainable and industrial sides of the equation; employing sustainable practices, like organic agriculture, has huge potential to help in the fight against global warming, and maintaining the status quo with widespread industrial agricultural practices will continue to be terribly detrimental …

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6 Ways Agriculture Impacts Global Warming

Eat Meat, Ditch Factory Farming, Save the Planet, says Friends of the Earth Report

November 12, 2009 by  
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Photo credit: FotoosVanRobin via Flickr You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat green. Not only that, we can feed the fast-growing population of the planet, and slow down (and eventually stop) climate change, and stop destruction of the world’s forests, all without the deleterious effects of factory farming. So says a new report from Friends of the Earth , which lays out a model for food production and consumption that includes fair,…

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Eat Meat, Ditch Factory Farming, Save the Planet, says Friends of the Earth Report

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