Aquaponic Fodder – Livestock Feed for the Future

Are you spending as much as twice as much as you did last year to feed your livestock?  Are you struggling even to find good hay for your livestock?  Have you even had to sell some of your animals because feed is so expensive and hard to find? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you need to read further.  We may have a solution for you – aquaponic fodder!  OK, what is that?  Aquaponic fodder is young green grass that has been grown from grain or grass seeds grown in 6-10 days in a controlled environment using very sustainable and earth friendly technology.  This 6-8″ long green grass is fed directly to your livestock as a replacement for grain and for a significant percentage of your normal hay feeding amounts. We are livestock farmers just like you, and we have struggled this season with our feed needs.  We raise show quality breeding alpacas.  Proper nutrition is vital to the success of our carefully monitored and strategized genetic improvement program.  We are also passionate about using sustainable farming methods in our farming and we want to teach others how to do the same. We have been producing  aquaponic fodder here in Northern Colorado at the Center for Ecolonomic Excellence and feeding it to our show quality alpacas.  We are very selective about what we feed, and this has been a very exciting addition to our feeding process. We will be  regularly reporting on our results with this new technology through our Mountain Sky Alpacas website, as well as through our Nourish the Planet Membership Community.  We...

Urban Foraging Finds Fans Among City Residents, Home Chefs and Restauranteurs

A new movement is sweeping the nation as urbanites are visiting local parks, abandoned fields, alleys and sidewalk cracks searching for their next meal. This guerilla campaign, known as urban foraging, is gaining ground as how-to tours are popping up across metropolitan areas in places like New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle and urban cities across Oregon. While some scoff at the idea of visiting a local park and plucking goodies such as weeds, mushrooms and greens for their nighttime meal, many are jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to increase sustainability and decrease the costs of their grocery store visit. According to an article from the Baltimore Sun, some noted chefs are even hiring professional foragers to find high-end wild ingredients. The article noted that on a recent urban forager how-to tour, locals found a “large bear’s head tooth mushroom, which can fetch up to $25 per pound at gourmet markets.” However, the point of urban foraging isn’t for the high-end chefs, but the everyday urban resident interested in preserving what is right outside of our doorsteps. One Portland, Oregon forager is doing just this. According to a blog post from treehugger.com, Becky Lerner also known as Wild Girl is only eating what she can find in and around her city. She was quoted in the article as having said, “because we lost most of our ancestral knowledge when our forefathers destroyed indigenous cultures, modern-day foragers are tasked with salvaging what scraps of information we have left. It is essential that we work together as a community to assemble the pieces.” But many ask what...

Younger Generations Embrace Urban Farming

From Vancouver to Los Angeles, younger generations are hearing the call to arms or rather the call to swap stilettos and suits for muck boots and overalls — uniting in a movement to farm within the limits of their city. A woman, Marcy Winograd, was quoted in a Santa Monica Daily Press article as having explained the reasoning behind her urban farm campaign. She said in the article, “our house isn’t big, but the front yard is large. It seemed like it would be a waste not to use it for food production and greening the environment.” There are a number of reasons why waves of urbanites are picking up the pitchfork, and according to an August 2010 article in the Smithsonian magazine the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that, “large parts of the developing world are facing shortages of water and arable land,” and this may be a large part of why people are taking matters into their own hands for the greater good of sustainable food production for themselves and others. According to an article on BCBusiness, typical candidates for urban farming are “urban residents who are intellectually or emotionally connected to food and want to get back into primary production,” said Andrew Riseman in the article. Even New York City has jumped on the bandwagon with an urban farm known as Riverpark Farm, which is a 15,000 square-foot farm “amidst the towering skyscrapers and bursting New York City traffic,” according to YourOliveBranch.org. With a slew of information available to better understand urban farming (including a website a whole arsenal of books, articles and blogs), a...

Tiny Houses

I just came across this link of a slideshow of Tumbleweed Houses. For those of you that don’t know about Tumbleweed Houses, they are basically tiny houses that are designed to be very space efficient. Some of them can even be built on a flatbed trailer that can be moved at the owner’s whim. I first heard about the owner of the company a couple of years ago when I was in college. I have always loved how quaint cottages could be, but I was stunned to learn about a guy living in a 100 sq ft house on wheels. The best thing about his house is that it looked completely comfortable, functional, and charming. Sure, he wasn’t planning on having company spend the night, but it would be perfect for one person. What do you think? Would you ever want to live in a house this small? I don’t think I could live in 100 sq ft, but I could definitely see myself living in one of the cottages under 1000 sq ft. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/ -written by Rachel Burmeister, Internship Coordinator 2011-2012            ...

Aquaculture System in New York Raises Seafood Sustainably

Americans love seafood. Whether it’s sushi, a grilled filet of Mahi Mahi or a tuna steak. But it can sometimes be a game of Russian roulette as to where your seafood comes from and how safe it is to consume. Reports of tainted or even poisonous fish imports have and can cross state lines at any time, especially with an underfunded Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As imports of seafood increase from around the world, so do food safety concerns. However, a new aquaculture system in Hudson, New York, is trying to change the face of seafood production by introducing homegrown, locally-produced seafood. Local Ocean is a self-described “commercial zero-discharge, 100 percent recirculating aquaculture system” that produces saltwater fish for consumption. The company produces quality-controlled, sustainable fish and most recently made headlines in The New York Times for it’s production of yellowtail, also known as hamachi and a rare type of sushi that has never been available before at a retail level before. The yellowtail is now available for purchase and at local restaurants including Mario Batali’s Eataly in New York City. The fish are delivered the same day they are harvested in order to provide the best freshness, according to Local Ocean. The company, is housed in a 40,000 square-foot warehouse and greenhouse site in Hudson Valley and retains the goal of producing large-scale fish, both saltwater and freshwater, production in a sustainable manner. According to the Local Ocean website, the company believes “that environmentally friendly and sustainable production practices have a dual benefit of supporting market demand for ‘green’ production while making economic sense and delivering the highest...