In Defense of Local Food

It is no surprise that the local food movement has arisen in an age of increased global trade and information exchange. Although food labels tell us where our food comes from, they rarely tell us who produced our food or how. Sadly, price is the primary source of information consumers have when buying food. And prices often fail to reflect products’ true costs—to human health, to our communities, and to our planet. The local food movement is a reaction to the anonymous global food system, espousing taste, freshness, nutrition, health, social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and economic justice. The popularity of local food has grown out of a desire for more information about what we put into our bodies and how our food choices affect our environment.

Recent economic discussions (such as The Locavore’s Dilemma and The Inefficiency of Local Food) challenge whether the local food movement delivers the aforementioned benefits. In particular, they question the social and environmental benefits that are assumed to arise from purchasing local food but are potentially unproven. The crux of these arguments is centered on the neoclassical economic concepts of comparative advantage and resource allocation efficiency.

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09 May 2012

Locally grown produce is looking up for retailers

Consumers increasingly want locally grown produce; but, the fact is, the average fruit and vegetable travels more than 1,000 miles before it reaches a grocery store. But what if you could have access to locally grown produce year round and cut the cost of shipping these products to zero?

03 January 2012

BrightFarms: Food Sense

We talked to Benjamin Linsley, VP of Business Development and Public Affairs for BrightFarms, about the benefits of changing the produce supply chain in a way that improves the planet and a retailer’s bottom line.

23 November 2011

Freakonomics Blog: Still Wrong on Local Food

When we last checked in with him, Freakonomics blogger Steven Sexton was ludicrously blaming the “local food movement” for a listeria outbreak that sickened people over a swath of the nation stretching from New York to Alabama to Oregon.

23 November 2011

USDA: ‘Locally grown’ food a $4.8 billion business

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says sales of “local foods,’’ whether sold direct to consumers at farmers markets or through intermediaries such as grocers or restaurants, amounted to $4.8 billion in 2008.

15 November 2011

Fresh & Easy recalls spinach after listeria find

Calif.-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Inc. recalled the 12-ounce bags of fresh washed spinach that have an Oct. 16 use-by date. The bags were sold in California, Nevada and Arizona stores, under the company’s f&e label.

01 November 2011

High-Tech Hydroponic Farm Transforms Abandoned Bowling Alley

NEW YORK CITY — On top of an old bowling alley in industrial northern Brooklyn sits an expansive translucent greenhouse. Inside, a bounty of produce thrives under the supervision of a computer-controlled network of sensors, motors and plumbing.

01 November 2011

Bright Farms, Bright Future?

What’s growing on your roof? If you answered, “Nothing,” that could change, because the New York based firm Bright Farms has a plan that will turn the rooftops of supermarkets green with rooftop based greenhouses.

03 October 2011

Rooftop farms sprouting in Brooklyn

Atop an industrial building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the crew at Gotham Greens can harvest the equivalent of six acres of salad greens and herbs without getting their hands dirty.

31 August 2011

Moving beyond the local produce craze

But the goals of eating local — improving the environment, community nutrition, and access to healthy food for the poor — can be masked or undermined by what researcher David Cleveland calls the “local trap.”

30 August 2011

Gotham Greens Brings Fresh Veggies to New Heights

Nestled between towering skyscrapers and the Brooklyn Bridge, rests a vegetative oasis ripe for the picking.

26 August 2011

Hyper Local Produce: This Manhattan Company Wants Supermarkets to Raise on the Roof

A Manhattan firm that specializes in hydroponic greenhouses, the company is suggesting that in the not-so-distant future your kale could come from as close as the greenhouse on top of your local supermarket.

24 August 2011

Buy Local, The Mayor Says

In New York’s latest attempt to promote the purchase of locally grown food, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed into law on Wednesday a bill urging city agencies to buy more often from the state’s farms and processing facilities.

24 August 2011

Battery Park Farm Serves Up Downtown's First Harvest in 400 Years

The Urban Farm at the Battery, a public farming project that broke ground this spring on a lawn in Battery Park, is now selling its produce at a farm stand twice a week. No ordinary vegetables, these are the first grown on a Lower Manhattan farm in roughly 400 years.

23 August 2011

Rooftop local produce, coming soon to a supermarket near you

Thanks to rising fuel costs and the revival of demand for locally grown foods, rooftop greenhouses may soon be cropping up at your supermarket.

22 August 2011

New Farmers Find Their Footing

These are people whose concern for the environment led to a desire to grow — and eat — better food. And although chefs still get more attention, the new farmers deserve recognition for their bold and often creative directions.

21 August 2011

A Farm Around the Corner

The Department of Agriculture just released its 2011 farmers’ market directory and the numbers are striking: 7,175 markets across the country, an increase of 17 percent since last year.

20 August 2011

Atlanta Grows Lettuce in Freight Containers as Urban Farms Bloom

Designer lettuce will soon bud under the flight path of the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta.

19 August 2011

Queens To Be Home to Nation's Largest Rooftop Greenhouse Farm

BrightFarms, a company know for building and operating high-tech farms, is preparing to acquire a 32,000-sq-ft rooftop space on top of a building near LaGuardia College in Long Island City to plant one of its greenhouse farms and establish its new headquarters.

18 August 2011

Meijer, other food chains boosting purchases of locally grown produce

The Meijer supermarket chain expects to increase purchases of locally grown fruits and vegetables by 5 percent this year, Meijer announced Tuesday.

18 August 2011

Urban Food Production » BrightFarms to Have New Rooftop Headquarters and Greenhouse

More news from the rooftop hydroponic food business. It will be interesting to see how many companies join in and how many rooftop food production units there will be in the next couple of years. Let the games begin!

17 August 2011

NRDC New York Visits Urban Farms

The idea that regular city dwellers can provide food to their urban neighbors isn’t exactly new, but it’s a budding area that – if done right – can help address some of the basic problems with how our region and others get food.

13 August 2011

Remarkable Growth For Farmers Markets

“The remarkable growth in farmers markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods,” agriculture deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in the release on the report.

12 August 2011

What's more eco-friendly than solar panel roofs? The new rooftop farms going up in Queens

BrightFarms, a Manhattan-based firm that designs, builds and operates high-tech farms, is gearing up to move its headquarters to Long Island City, company officials said Monday.

10 August 2011

Heat won't stop this grower's lettuce crop

The plants are grown in rows of trays. Seeds are started in a growing medium formed of volcanic rock. A small amount of water, enriched with nutrients, continually circulates through the trays.

05 August 2011

Green Jobs Will Come From Urban Farming

During his discussion with farmers Emanuel said he is committed to increasing urban agriculture because it is a critical step toward eliminating food deserts and creating green jobs.

03 August 2011

Tour The Hi-Tech Farm That's Growing 100 Tons Of Greens On The Roof Of A Brooklyn Warehouse

Gotham Greens harvested the first of its veggies in May and they’re already selling out at upscale Manhattan grocers like Whole Foods and Mario Batali’s Eataly, co-founder Viraj Puri told us. And the company will soon start selling directly to chefs at local restaurants.

27 July 2011

Out of the shadows

Once part of illicit niche markets, hydroponics is finding new footing in the mainstream, fueled by a farm-to-table frenzy and fears of food-borne illnesses

22 July 2011

Let's Move, retailers rain funds on food deserts

Teaming with first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, Supervalu, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and other retailers have pledged to open or expand more than 1,500 stores in communities that don’t have access to fresh produce and other healthy foods.

21 July 2011

Can The Local Food Movement Scale Up?

The local food movement in America is gaining steam. The question is whether can it attract sufficient capital from the private sector to build large, profitable businesses.

21 July 2011

North Dakota: Feeding the hungry in a land of plenty

North Dakota is promoting the Hunger Free North Dakota Garden Project, urging farmers and gardeners to grow and donate fruit and vegetables to food pantries and community programmes.

19 July 2011

From Roof to Store Shelf: Supermarkets Explore Rooftop Food Sourcing

Bright Farms builds and operates the hydroponic greenhouses in exchange for a five to 10-year guaranteed purchase agreement with the supermarkets. “They give us the roof. We do everything else,” said Linsley.

From NY Bounty

19 July 2011

New York public school’s rooftop ‘eco-center’ will reshape science curriculum

The facility, which includes an 800-square-foot greenhouse classroom, solar panels, a weather station, and a planting area, will be used to help reshape the science curriculum in the K-5 facility — and (it is hoped) in other public schools across the city.

16 July 2011

Home Town Organic Farm Goes Vertical in the City

To grow the vertical urban farming industry, Home Town Farms plans to build one-half to three-acre greenhouses on the rooftops, abandoned lots, and corners of urban areas in densely populated U.S. cities.

13 July 2011

Soil-less Sky Farming: Rooftop Hydroponics on NYC Restaurant

Chef John Mooney — my tour guide — is able to grow nearly two-thirds the vegetables for his restaurant precisely because he doesn’t rely on soil.

10 July 2011

Home Town Farms Creating Hydro-Organic Greenhouse for Encinitas School District

San Diego-based vertical organic farming startup Home Town Farms is building urban hydro-organic farms, starting with a plan to erect a Home Town Farms systems on 5 acres of school property that will supply low cost organic produce for the school district’s food service program.

07 July 2011

BrightFarms aims to install greenhouses on the rooftops of supermarkets

In an effort to reduce time, distance and cost in the produce supply chain, a New York firm is proposing to finance, build and operate greenhouses on the rooftops of supermarkets. Participating supermarkets will have no upfront costs, but they do need to agree to buy the fresh produce grown on their property.

07 July 2011

Nation's First Commercial Urban Hydroponic Greenhouse Opens

Situated on the rooftop of an industrial building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Gotham Greens’ state-of-the-art greenhouse facility has harvested and delivered the first of its 100 annual tons of premium quality, pesticide-free vegetables and herbs.

07 July 2011

Locally Focused Grocery Preps for N.C. Debut

“It’s an exciting time for us,” said Carolina Farmin’ founder Wayne Long. “Our vision for creating a seven-day-a-week public market that supports local growers and producers is about to become a reality. This is an idea that’s long overdue.”

05 July 2011

Banks Expanding Access to Healthy Foods

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp. (USBCDC), a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, and Chase, the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co., will each make use of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program to support separate projects that will improve access to fresh, healthy food for residents in underserved communities across the country.

01 July 2011

Gotham Greens: Brooklyn's New High-Tech Rooftop Farm

Using hydroponics and climate control technology, the farm is serving up hundreds of pounds of super local lettuce to the city’s markets on the same day it’s harvested.

30 June 2011

How Industrial Farming 'Destroyed' The Tasty Tomato

But the tomatoes grown in Florida differ dramatically from the red garden varieties you might grow in your backyard. They’re bred to be perfectly formed — so that they can make their way across the U.S. and onto your dinner table without cracking or breaking.

29 June 2011

Chipotle to Double Locally Grown Produce

The national restaurant chain Chipotle says it will increase from 5 million to 10 million pounds the amount of fruits and vegetables grown within 350 miles of the restaurants where it is served.

29 June 2011

Supervalu Shifts to Local Buying

Supervalu (which operates nearly 1,450 corporate stores, including Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Farm Fresh) will be moving towards a “hyper-local” approach to produce retail.

24 June 2011