After two years of daily measuring, monitoring, feeding, and harvesting, three researchers felt like they’d reached an understanding of how their aquaponics facility really worked. With a new study, “Energy and water use of a small-scale raft aquaponics system in Baltimore, Maryland, United States,” the authors describe the relationship between inputs (energy, water, and fish feed), outputs (edible crops and fish), and operating conditions for their Baltimore-based facility. Basically, authors Dave Love, Michael Uhl and Laura Genello asked, What resources does it take to maintain an aquaponics facility and how could the system be optimized for profit? Read More >
You know that feeling when a teacher asks the class, “Do you need me to explain? Raise your hand if you don’t know what ____ means.” You look around, not wanting to be the only person unfamiliar with the term. Well, a most unexpected thing happened at a conference recently: a panelist in a session on gastrodiplomacy began speaking about the “free produce movement,” and I was shocked to discover that apparently very few of us (if any) in a room full of experts in food studies had heard of it.
Michelle Branch, of New York University School of Law, was presenting her work, “Free Produce Societies as Agents of Diplomacy” at an annual conference that convenes thinking about food, society, and values, hosted by Chatham University. She explained that the free produce movement was an early food justice movement propelled by Quakers and Read More >
There was no way Michele Speaks-March was going to sell chips and soda in her Apples and Oranges Fresh Market, a grocery store she and her husband Erich opened in the North Avenue area of Baltimore in 2013. Her vision was to provide fresh, healthy food to an underserved community, not function as just another corner store that happened to also sell fresh produce. Two years later, her store was no longer in business. Read More >
The thought of anything being able to grow locally may be difficult to imagine amid the frozen ground of February in Baltimore, but farming season has already begun. Crops must be planned in advance, seeds must be purchased, and labor must be organized, which can be difficult for small-scale farmers during a time of year when revenue is not as strong. One method to help sustain a farm is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), whereby members of a community pay a farmer up front for a share of the anticipated harvest, which arrives weeks later in the season. Read More >
What do you see here? A vacant lot? Neighborhood blight? Unfulfilled ambitions? Or do you see untapped potential, a plot rich in opportunity? Perhaps a glint of promise for a community camouflaged by trash and overgrown weeds?
If your vision involved growing food as a productive way to use these vacant plots of city land, you are not alone. Forms of urban agriculture, such as urban farming and community gardens, are springing up all across the country as the positive impact they can have on communities is being recognized. Read More >