Tidewater Current | Summer 2012

Transmitting news and infomation about sustainable endeavors in Coastal Virginia and beyond. Updated Weekly.

Food - Sustainable Production:

For more illustrated news and the most up to date clips, visit the TidewaterCurrent Snip.it collection. Please check the Archive in the menu above for earler posts.

9.21.12 - Fancy being an ant eater? Insects are the latest addition to fine dining recipes - dailymail.co.uk. Some 1000 species of insects are dined upon globally. And recently the benefits of including them in our diets have been touted by nutritionists, chefs and environmentalists. So it's no surprise the UN and EU support the development of this food source. One US company is selling a cricket energy bar - http://snip.it/snips/208494

9.20.12 - The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City is Home to 360.000 Bees That Produce Honey for Their Guests (Photos) - treehugger.com. Six hives on the rooftop have produced 125 pounds of honey since April.

9.19.12 - New aquaponics farming system helps cities and drought-stricken regions - denverpost.com. Colorado - "GrowHaus is using the method — which uses an estimated 10 percent of the water used by traditional agriculture — to produce chard, kale, mustard greens and basil, which are distributed within the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood where it is located." Fish are also farmed at the site. The plants and fish have symbiotic relationship. The fish provide fertilizer for the plants and the plants remove the nutrients and clean the water. Denver is considering a system at the county jail.

Sunday, September 16th, 1-4pm VT AREC Station 1444 Diamond Springs RoadVirginia Beach, VA 23455

9.15.12 - G.M.O.'s: Let's Label 'Em - nytimes.com. California set to vote on GMO labeling on Nov. 7. If the referendum passes, the author and NY Times columnist anticipates that food manufacturers will reformulate their products.

9.13.12 - Lufa Farms Brings Large-Scale Rooftop Farming To Montreal - inhabitat.com. This 31,000 sq, ft, rooftop farm produces 25 varieties of fresh produce that grow in a nutrient rich coconut husk substrate. Rain water is collected to reduce demand from the public utility and biological over chemical pesticides are preferred for pest management.

9.12.12 - Sustainable fishing in light of Omega-3 demand - phys.org. Highlights research into plant based diets that produce high Omega 3 oil content in farmed fish to relieve the pressure on forage fish.

9.12.12 - 2012 Striped Bass Pale Ale Release - timesdispatch.com. With funds from the purchase of this crisp American Pale Ale, Devils Backbone Brewing Company will help support conservation programs of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the need for clean water. This beer will be released after Labor Day to retailers. There is a QR code on the back of the bottle that leads the consumer to an informative page for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation." Unfortunately, the beer is not distributed in Tidewater. A number of retailer in Richmond carry the product or you can go directly to the brewery.

9.8.12 - Where Cows Are Happy and Food Is Healthy - nytimes.com. Oregon dairy farmer went organic, stopped regular use of antibiotics that pharmaceutical reps claimed were essential for cow health, and found that his cows, which have access to adequate pasture fared better. Now a new trend is emerging among dairy farmer to provide more and better access to pasture. Reducing antibiotic use on the farm will likely stem the tide of antibiotic resistant microbes which are responsible for 100,000 deaths every year in America.

9.7.12 - Oyster stout is a pearl of an idea - sfgate.com. The author focuses on a west coast oyster used in a west coast brew but also provides info on an East Coast oyster stout made from Virginia Rappahannock River oysters at Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery. Part of the proceeds from Flying Dog's Brew goes to oyster restoration projects in the Chesapeake Bay.

9.6.12 - Marine Stewardship Council launches film to promote 'Sustainable Seas'. - MSC.org. MSC Certification process explained in video (link included)


9.5.12 - Study Shows: Eating Organic Produce Decreases Pesticide Content In Body - greenerideal.com. While organic food may or may not be more nutritious than conventionally produced food, according to a Stanford study, consuming it does reduce exposure harmful to chemicals.

9.4.12 - Fruits of old: Chicago gears up for an urban heirloom fruit orchard - grist.org. Urban farmer works with city to create NeighborSpace a nonprofit land trust, where members of the Chicago Rarities Orchard Project (CROP) will site an orchard on derelict land.

9.1.12 - Eco-friendly Farming: Sowing the Seeds of Renewable Energy - renewableenergyworld.com. Income from farm sited renewable energy production has helped some farmers during this summer's drought and will likely change the future of agriculture (which is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions). Author looks at solar, wind and biogas energy produced at farms.

9.1.12- Vancouver company installing vertical garden in parking garage - thestar.com. The parking garage siting appealed to the company owner, Chritopher Ng CEO of Alterrus Systems, because so many are partially empty as more people chose to use public transit or bike to work.

8.31.12 - In Portland, A Solar Powered Food Truck - sustainablecitiescollective.com. Off the Griddle - Solar Powered Veggie Burgers is looking for kickstarter funding to expand their operation.

8.29.12 - Wine in a Keg is the New Green Trend - cleantechnica.com. Great idea. 26 bottles of wine can be contained in 1 keg and the keg can be reused over and over again. Serving wine on tap, not only saves a lot of bottles and everything that goes into producing them, but also without all the weight created with bottles, resources consumed in shipping are also reduced, not to mention cost.

8.29.12 - Floating Farms Could Provide Cheap, Plentiful Produce - fastcoexist.com. Aquaponic farms, which marry aquaculture and hydroponics could easily be sited on floating platforms adjacent to major markets along waterways.

8.28.12 - Sales of Non-GMO Project Verified foods on the rise - mnn.com. "In the past twelve weeks, foods that indicate on the label that they don't contain genetically modified ingredients have risen twenty-one percent. Organic food sales are on the rise, too."

8.27.12-The Farmery: A Pop-Up Urban Farm Made From Recycled Shipping Containers for Raleigh, NC - inhabitat.com. Grow and Sell in the same spot and eliminate shipping, packaging and handling. "The Farmery is a start-up in Raleigh, N.C. that is developing an urban farm and market built from shipping containers and standard greenhouse components. The bottom level serves as a market to sell the crops, and the entire structure is used to grow the crops. The structure uses the inside of the containers to grow mushrooms, and the walls of the containers are covered in growing panels to form living walls where herbs, strawberries, lettuces and greens are grown."

8.22.12 - ECO (Engaged Community Offshoots) City Farms - chesapeakebay.net. Chesapeake Bay Program - In a MD suburb just outside of the Nation's capitol, ECO City farms grows food organically on one acre. They offer training courses on urban farming including how to capture use rainwater, build a hoop house, create compost, plant for pollinators and create a green roof. With the addition of a kitchen, they plan to offer cooking classes also.

8.22.12 - Floating Garden Farm to Pop Up in Long Island City - inhabitat.com. 22 year old architecture student designed this 22 sq. ft. hydroponic garden that is anchored in the East River.

8.22.12 - Brewing Biogas in Bitburg - designbuildsource.com.au. 193 year old german brewery uses GE combined heat and power technology to sustainably brew beer. By using the new system which burns biogas created from the facility's wastewater, energy use and carbon emissions have been reduced.

8.19.12 - Farmville on the Hudson - crainsnewyork.com. Several rooftop farms are highlighted in NYC. They are becoming very popular and draw significant attention to the buildings overall. In addition to providing local produce and generating rental income, they provide insulation and thereby reduce heating and cooling bills. And, they protect the roof extending, its effective life two to three times.

8.17.12 - Etsy Employees Bike Away Office Compostables - Earth911.com - Each month 600 or so pounds of organic waste is biked to Red Hook Community Farm. Video included.

8.17.12 - These companies don't want GMOs labeled in California - grist.org. The 20 largest donors fighting Prop 37 and GMO labeling in California are listed. Some $25 million has been raised to fight the initiative which if passed in California may have ramifications nationally (if producers decide not to develop separate labels for CA products). A lot of labeling will be required if passed: GM additives (from corn, sugar beets and cotton) are in 80% of all non organic processed foods.

8.15.12 - CeeLo Green launches The GreenHouse Foundation- mnn.com. Foundation will work with schools building gardens and introducing green education into the curriculum. Gardening will be the primary focus and the organization is looking to adopt land around Atlanta for organic community gardens.

8.14.12 - Fa℞ming 101: The Harm of Too Much Medicine | GreenAnswers - The meat and poultry industry used 80% of antibiotics purchased in 2011 (largely for animals that were not sick). Included is a link to a survey of purveyors of meat and poultry products with their policies regarding antibiotic use. Legislation has been introduced to reduce the amount of antibiotics used by food producers (link is included to support the measure).

8.13.12 - Virginia's Moo Thru: This is what ice cream should taste like - mnn.com. "the best chocolate ice cream ever' made with local, hormone-free milk."

8.13.12 - Consumer Reports Receives $2 Million Grant for Food Safety Study - nytimes.com. A Pew Charitable Trust grant will fund the study. Researchers on the magazine staff will begin testing for antibiotics, pathogens, heavy metals and carcinogens in meat, poultry and other food items this fall.

8.12.12 - Kellogg's facing wrath of GMO-free movement activists online - deathrattlesports.com. Activists are taking over Kellogg's Facebook page. The company like many other cereal producers uses GMO crops in its products.

8..9.12 - Food, Inc. chicken farmer is free as a bird [VIDEO] - grist.org. Delmarva Chicken farmer that produced for Perdue for 23 years is now running a free range operation. Includes video,

8.7.12 - Claire Kremen: Wild bees and the future of food | Feeding the Future | EarthSky - Surprising, this research is sponsored by Dow chemicals: Bee researcher reports that native bees could provide all the crop pollination needed, without the necessity of importing european honey bees to do the job, if we just change the way we farm. The farms would need to include a variety of crops, hedgerows, flowers, pastures, meadows and woodlands. Sounds like a reasonable plan - I hope Dow will support this transformation. It's hard to imagine that big Ag will.

8.7.12 - Eat them before they eat everything - eatocracy.cnn.com. A growing number of conservations and foodies, including Andrew Zimmerman, promote eating invasive species as food. Considering the high expense of meat, Zimmerman supports collecting invasive species and using that meat to feed people living below the poverty line.

8.6.12 - Long Beach entrepreneur has fresh idea for shellfish farm - latimes.com. California regulators are considering a proposed underwater aquafarm far offshore in federal waters. It would be the first ever such farm and the US Army Corps of Engineers has already approved a pilot 100 acre park. This will be interesting to watch as there are certainly some merits to such a facility but also a number of potential concerns.

8.6.12 - What will you drink on International Beer Day? - mnn.com. August 5th and International Beer Day may have already passed, but it's never too late to check out the great listing of sustainable brews/breweries included in this article. There's an infographic in the Health collection that includes the Health benefit of beer. Cheers.

8.6.12 - Shrimp Farms' Tainted LegacyIs Target of Certification Drive - e360.yale.edu. Aquaculture Stewardship Council is developing standards for farmed seafood, including shrimp. But they are not alone in their endeavor. As with other sustainable certification systems, seen in forestry or building, there are competing brands which makes labels somewhat confusing, especially since some certifications are less stringent than others. Ecolabel Index is an online site that tracks some 433 industry labels.

8.3.12 - Sustainable Farming Makes Healthy Seafood - Laboratory Equipment - Findings are published in the early online version of the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.

8.1.12 - Consider Your Oysters: East Coast Edition- huffingtonpost.com. Chincoteague Bay oysters ranked 3rd in taste test. Includes a slide show of the best oysters and a great video by American University, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and more on sustainable oyster aquaculture operations in the Chesapeake Bay.

8.1.12 - Detroit Community Garden Features Repurposed Shipping Crates - sustainableplant.com. Cadillac Urban Gardens is sited on an abandoned Detroit parking lot. The growing medium filling the GM shipping crates was donated and is comprised of coffee grounds, animal manure from the Detroit Zoo and food scraps from Marriot Hotel and GM Assembly plant.

7.31.12 - 'Bizarre Foods' host urges radical food choices — including river rats - duluthnewstribune. Andrew Zimmerman talks to school nutrition program employees in Minnesota about creating a more sustainable food system by promoting a more diverse diet, including invasives.

7.29.12 - What will we be eating in 20 years' time? - bbc.co.uk. Interesting read. In addition to covering potential future foods, including insects and lab grown meat, author highlights a consumption method that will promote healthier eating habits: Music. Sound enhances flavor so bitter or less sweet foods are more enjoyable with music.

7.30.12 - Sales explode as 'Buy Local' movement grows up - hamptonroads.com. Great review of local food movement in Tidewater - Hampton Roads, Virginia, Includes interviews with local producers and stake holders as well as info on various markets.

7.30.12 - The sushi of the future is insects - macleans.ca. Ento plans to revolutionize the way we eat. With the help of a Cordon Bleu culinary student they're creating recipes for box meals served bento box style. Locust pate was popular among recent taste testers.

7.27.12 - Mom Becomes Activist To Fight Monsanto, GMOs - -revmodo.com. GMO Free USA is new organization promoting awareness and labeling of GMOs in food. Founded by a Connecticut Mom who lost a child to cancer, the organization has attracted over 5,000 members through its Facebook page and is working to pressure food manufacturers to reveal products than contain GMOs. Those who do not will be boycotted by the group.

7.26.12 - How Your Tax Dollars Become Twinkies 0A+A- - ecowatch.org. Ohio PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) report condemns the amount of federal tax subsidies supporting junk foods while subsidies for healthy food pale in comparison.

7.25.12 - NEW RESTAURANT NUTRITION RATING SYSTEM INTRODUCED TO AID CONSUMERS - REAL Certification Announcement - ushfc.org. A rating system for restaurant food like the LEED rating system for buildings has been developed.

7.25.12 - 9 Apps To Help You Make Better Food Choices For Yourself And The Planet - fastcoexist.com. Includes Seafood Watch, Dirty Dozen (pesticides), Good Guide, What's On My Food and more.

7.23.12 - Former McDonald's Honchos Take On Sustainable Cuisine - wired.com. Soon to be restaurant chain LYFE Kitchen will serve organic food and beverages at 100s of eateries around the country. Right now the only location serving the non GMO, additive free and grass fed fare is in Palo Alto, CA

7.23.12 - Oceana Confirms Rampant Seafood Mislabeling in Florida 0A+A- ecowatch.org. Seafood fraud is a real concern. 1/3 of samples in an Oceana study were mislabeled. King Mackerel with a high mercury content was often labeled as Grouper. Sushi restaurants had the highest rate of mislabeling - 100% of white tuna samples were actually escolar (a species that can make people sick).

7.19.12 - 10 crops that would disappear without bees - foxnews.com. Great review of Colony Collapse Disorder attributing the demise of bees to systemic pesticides. The implicated class of pesticide was banned in France as highlighted in a previous snip and although 1 million have supported an emergency petition to stop use of the pesticide here, the EPA declined to issue an emergency suspension but will open up a 60 day public docket next week to collect comments.Info at http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=7723

7.18.12 - Fight Monsanto: Mega Seed Bank Includes 58K Non-GMO Seeds « REVMODO - $120 for Heirloom/non-hybrid seed varieties from Seeds Now.

7.18.12 - Briefs Filed to Stop Monsanto's Patent Infringement War against Family Farmers 0A+A- - ecowatch.org, This is crazy! A group of farmers, seed businesses and agricultural organizations were found to not have the right to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement by Monsanto for inadvertent contamination of their field by neighboring GMO crops. The group has filed an appeal and they are getting some noteworthy assistance. A group of law professors, including one from UVA and a group of food safety and consumer groups, including 2 from Virginia have filed briefs in support of the Farmer and seed growers claims against Monsanto.

7.18.12 - New Farm Bill Could Flood Food Supply With GMOs « REVMODO - Great overview of the Farm Bill legislation with regard to GMOs and USDA oversight (or lack thereof). Also includes a link to an even more informative Reuters article that delves much deeper into the issues touched on here as well as a link to the Center for Food Safety where to you can contact your representative to Tell Congress Not to Let Agribusiness Write its Own Rules!

7.16.12 - Small-scale grains: Another piece of the locavore puzzle - grist.org. CSAs in Loudon County Virginia and Northern CA offer grains to their members. Moutoux Orchards in Virginia is a Full Diet CSA and offers a full range of fresh locally produced products, including vegetables fruits, meat and dairy and milled grains. Links included.

7.12.12 - At Lake Tahoe, Commercial Fishing Is Approved - nytimes.com. Harvesting invasive crayfish in Lake Tahoe will at least improve water clarity and could eradicate the harmful species

7.8.12 - Virginia's Solar Factory - tidewatercurrent.com - DuCard is the first solar Winery in Virginia and boasts an overall eco-friently culture.

7.8.12 - Non-profit prepares to launch aquaponics farm in West Sixth Brewing complex | Tom Eblen | Kentucky.com - Lexington, KY - Food Chain will begin operating an aquaponic farming facility to teach sustainable agricultural skills next to a beer brewing establishment. Waste grain from the brewery will be used to feed penned tilapia. Nutrient rich water from the fish tanks is in turn used to fertilize herbs and microgreens. Shrimp and mushroom production are also anticipated as well as a vermaculture operation.

7.8.12 - You love lobster, so why not grasshopper tacos and kelp pasta? - bangordailynews.com. Worthwhile read on the potential to feed the growing global population very sustainably with super healthy nutrient rich seaweed and insects. The environmental benefits are truly significant. Links to a couple of seaweed farms are included and in a previous snip in this section discusses a new recently introduced cricket candy bar.

7.8.12 - Buckhead Coalition Helping Fund Aquaponics Research System - buckhead.patch.com - Georgia Tech is building ArkFab, the first aquaponic facility (fish/produce system) that will generate it's own energy. The urban farm is being insulated with hundreds of rammed earth filled tires pulled from local creeks. In addition, the facility will collect and recycle 1000 pounds of food from the local community daily. The inner city facility is expected to produce 500 pounds of fish and produce monthly.

7.7.12 -Organic & natural items grabbing bigger share of supermarket shelves - indystar.com - I hope Big Ag is listening. Consumers are concerned about what they eat. This is reflected in the demand for organic food at main stream markets. Article includes a listing of what exactly natural, organic. labels mean.

7.7.12 -Show Your Support for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna by July 15 « EcoWatch - NRDC encouraging comments to NOAA re major changes for managing Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. NOAA link included as well as one to the Pew Environmental Group Infographic on the Bluefin Tuna.

7.6.12 - Chapul to launch world's first cricket snack bar - gizmag.com - Worthwhile read on a great business plan. Far more efficient at converting grass and grain to protein than cattle, the cricket was selected for use in the energy bar to promote more sustainable food sources. According to the author, crickets are not detectable in the tasty treat. The funding for the business was raised through a Kickstart campaign and bars will be available next month.

7.2.12 - Do Your Part: Sustainable brews for the summertime | Food | Kentucky.com. It seems a lot of brewers are doing their part to help the environment. Here, the author lists 5 companies and highlights their sustainable efforts.

7.2.12 - Efficient technology for local food production - heraldpalladium.com. Green Spirt Farm, of New Buffalo, Michigan is using growing cylinders to produce an acre's worth of tomatoes in 345 square feet with no pest or herbicides. The light source is an induction lamp (technology developed by Nikola Tesla in 1891) that uses less energy and lasts longer than and LED light. More info at http://www.greenspiritfarms.com/GFS_2_13_Newsletter.pdf

7.2.12 - Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticide Thiamethoxam Banned in France - Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog. Canada is re-evaluating the pesticide and the EPA was petitioned in March to suspend the registration of pesticides containing clothianidin.

Get Plugged into The Necessary (r)Evolution for Sustainable Food Systems Amplified Conference - June 28 - 1-6 - Learn UVM. View the live-streamed conference at http://learn.uvm.edu/foodsystemsblog/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/University-of-Vermont-Continuing-Education/143986912311328 .Conference Topics: Resilient Farming Systems, Safe and Healthy Food, Strong Regional Food Systems, Food Security and Improved Access, Real Food Education, Businesses for a Hungry PlanetPolicy AdvocacyInfo at: learn.uvm.edu/foodsystems

6.24.12 - Should You Get Your Mercury Levels Tested? - blogs.discovery.com. Discovery Fit & Health - Mercury emitted to the atmosphere from coal fired power plants find its way into distant waters and the fish that live in them. Levels in tuna can be 20 times higher than may be considered safe.

6.18.12 - Aquaponics program preparing for D.C. : University of Hawaiʻi System News - hawaii.edu. University of Hawaii's Aquaponic syterm to be on display at Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C. from June 27 to July 8, 2012.

6.13.12 - Vertical is wave of future - www2.tbo. On the same parcel of land, production can be increased 10 times by growing vertically. Space, water and energy are all used more efficiently. A lot of these small efficient farms are popping up - 40 of the VertiGrow systems are located in Florida and within or close to population centers so consumers enjoy the opportunity to buy direct from the farmers.

6.11.12 - Virginia Institute of Marine Science - Shellfish aquaculture a bright spot in weak economy - vims.edu. Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences releases 2011 report on shellfish aquaculture in the State. The oyster industry is growing (up 38%from 2010) while the clam industry is holding steady and continues to be the the largest in the nation. A downloadable link is included.

6.10.12 - Crisper Products investing in Orange County - www2.starexponent. Aquaponics facility to be sited between Gordondsville and Orange, VA. Fish and produce will be grown naturally in a closed recirculating systems. No pesticides will be used and fertilizers for the produce are provided by fish (trout, shrimp and tilapia). Wind turbines and solar panels will help power the greenhouse facilities. Crisper Products will deliver North up to Baltimore and DC and South to Richmond and Charlottesville and West to Fredericksburg.

6.6.12 - Urban Fish Farming and Greenhouses as Cutting-Edge Educational Tools - cbf.typepad. Inspirational read - Inner City Baltimore public school focuses on sustainable farming and more. The Green Street Academy, founded at a former school site that closed in part because of high drop out rates, has a waiting list of kids that want to get in.

6.6.12 - Honeybees living the high life at the Waldorf-Astoria - life.nationalpost. The NY city landmark is not the only hotel to host beehives and produce honey. It's a great trend though as we rely on honey bees to pollinate our food crops.

6.5.12 - Celebrity chefs join farm-bill food fight - latimes. The Environmental Working Group organized a group letter from celebrity chefs urging Congress to "invest in initiatives that expand access to local and healthy food, and that strengthen organic an disadvantaged farmers," instead of aiding large commodity crop growers and insurers as the current wording in the Farm Bill proposes.

6.4.12- Food Trade Too Complex to Track Food Safety - wired. Interesting article on the complexity of the global food trade. It is becoming more difficult and in some circumstances, virtually impossible to trace processed foods, back to their source(s) and thus contaminants can be readily spread.

6.3.12 - VISTA: Local nonprofit takes on ambitious farming project - nctimes. San Diego - Homeless organization is developing an aquaponic facility to sustainably farm fish and produce in a closed system that does not require synthetic fertilizers as the fish provide them. Some of the 13,000 pounds of fish and 86,000 pounds of produce will be sold to restaurants to support the nonprofits efforts, the remainder will be distributed to those in the groups homeless recovery efforts.







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