March 17, 2008

Food- Holistic Management

Holistic Management International (HMI) is an Albuquerque-based, international nonprofit organization that provides training, courses and consulting services to stewards of large landscapes, including ranchers, farmers, pastoral communities, government agencies, NGOs, environmental advocacy groups and other non-profits. Currently 30 million acres of land worldwide, benefit from Holistic management practices by:
-Improving soil health and biodiversity of rangelands and pastures.
-Increasing grazing and wildlife capacity.
-Increasing annual profits and enhancing livelihoods.- Optimally using rainfall and conserving water.
- Growing healthier crops and achieving higher yields.
-Reversing desertification in brittle environments.-Breaking the cycle of food and water insecurity.
-Enhancing family relationships.-Resisting and positively affecting global climate change.

Holistic Management in the U.S.
Active networks of Holistic Management practitioners and educators have developed across the U.S. in California and the West, the Northwest, the Southwest, the Midwest, and the Northeast.

Horizon Organic
HMI has a contract with Horizon Organic Dairy, the nation’s largest organic dairy. HMI provides the framework and tools for Holistic Management planning and decision making at Horizon Organic’s dairies in Idaho and Maryland.
Certified organic in 1994, Horizon’s dairy, in Paul, Idaho was the first large certified organic dairy in the country. The practices pioneered there proved the viability of organic dairying, and paved the way for hundreds of other dairies to convert to organic.Since its opening, the Idaho dairy has helped prompt the conversion of nearly 30,000 acres of organic land in the state of Idaho.More than 80 independent farms have converted to organic to supply Certified organic in 1994, Horizon’s Idaho dairy was the first large certified organic dairy in the country. The practices pioneered there proved the viability of organic dairying, and paved the way for hundreds of other dairies to convert to organic.
Because no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, like nitrates, are used on the ground, and no added growth hormones or antibiotics are given to the cows, the Idaho farm is dramatically more sustainable and earth-friendly than a conventional dairy farm of the same size. This is especially critical given the farm's location along the important Snake River aquifer.
With the help of Holistic Management, Horizon was able to create a leading-edge example of how to run large dairies with animals out on the land in such a manner that the health of the grazing land is also maintained and improved. Horizon Organic has a network of more than 540 dairy farmers; 340 are currently organic, and more than 200 are transitioning to organic.

The D. Joyce Coffey Resource Management and Demonstration Ranch was a privately owned 2,600-acre (1,053-hectare) ranch in Marietta, Oklahoma until 1981–a typical southern Oklahoma ranch with cropping in open land and continuous grazing in rough and wooded areas.
The degraded rangeland had a mixture of 60 percent low successional species (usually weedy annuals with low forage quality), 12 percent mid successional species, and 5 percent high successional species (highly desirable forage quality for wildlife and livestock).
In 1987 they began practicing Holistic Management the ranch. At that time the stocking rate had decreased from 300 to 67 animal units per year.
From 1987 to 1991 the stocking rate increased by 30 percent, from 110 animal units to 140 at the same time that biodiversity increased. Exposed soils with various degrees of erosion were covered with healthy plants, and white tailed deer increased 100 percent.
By 1994, high-successional species had risen to 25 percent and low-successional species were down to 25 percent. The stocking rate had now increased 100 percent from 1987 rising from the original 110 to 200 animal units.
Because of improved ground cover, there was less soil erosion. Ponds, which once had high turbidity (cloudiness due to silt), now had low turbidity, and two springs, which had dried up, now began running again. Moreover, the nutrient cycle had also improved so that manure now decomposed in 5 days, where it had taken 2 to 3 years before Holistic Management.

West Virginia
The Fichtner family moved to the 79-acre (32-hectare) Windy Slope Farm in Leon, West Virginia in 1981. At that time the farm was overrun with multiflora rose, and the soils were severely eroded. At one time this land had been fire-maintained savanna, and more recently it had been plowed for maize and then put into sod that supported a few horses and cattle.
In 1990 the Fichtners began Holistic Management planned grazing using a diversity of livestock (dairy goats, sheep, cattle, donkeys, hogs, chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys) to improve farm management.
The hogs were used to break up and compost manure in the barn. The ducks controlled flies. The Scottish Highlander cattle were rugged browsers and cleared brush efficiently. The donkeys kept coyotes at bay. The cattle broke the parasite cycle by grazing after the sheep.
In 1990 they had eight pasture plant species and needed five acres (two hectares) to carry one animal unit. By 1995, they had 32 pasture plant species (including more perennials, a higher successional plant) and needed only one acre (0.4 hectare) to carry one animal unit.

What it is:
Ranching is the raising of livestock, generally for meat, dairy, or wool.

How it works:
Grain Fed (Feedlot)
Virtually all of the meat, eggs, and dairy products you find in the store come from animals raised in large, confined facilities called feeding operations or feedlots. Animals raised in factory farms are given unnatural diets designed to boost their productivity and lower costs. The main ingredients of their diets are grain and soy that are kept at artificially low prices by government subsidies.

Free Range
Recently, a growing number of ranchers have stopped sending their animals to the feedlots to be fattened on grain, soy and other supplements. Instead, they are keeping their animals home on the range where they forage on pasture, their native diet. This type of ranching and dairy is generally referred to as grass fed or free range.

Why ranching is important
Ranching has a potentially large impact on the environment, economy, animal welfare and human health. The tentacles of ranching branch out into many sectors, and can have super detrimental or immensely positive effects.


Free Range (Grass Fed)

Human Health
• Lower in Fat and Calories. There are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals. To begin with, meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat. If the meat is very lean, it can have one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal.

• High in Vitamins. Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Studies suggest that diets rich in Omega-3s may reduce your risk of cancer. Meat from grass-fed animals is also higher in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant.

• Less Exposure to Disease. A virulent strain of E. coli comes from the GI tracts of cattle that have been fattened with grain (particularly corn) instead of grass or other silage. Grains and corn are not the natural foods of cattle, and when cattle are fed nothing but corn in an effort to fatten them, they develop highly acidic GI tracts. The E. coli O157:H7 is a strain that has evolved to live in this highly acidic environment. Consequently, this virulent E.Coli is immune to the acid in our own stomachs that is typically potent enough to knock out the harmless garden-variety E. coli we most often encounter.

• No Antibiotics. Animals are less likely to get sick when they are fed what they are naturally built for, meaning they do not need to be fed antibiotics, thus minimizing our exposure to antibiotics. This minimizes antibiotic resistance.

Animal Health
- Eat Natural Food, animal is built for.
- No Antibiotics
- Animal Cruelty is minimized: animals treated humanely, not concentrated in small spaces.


-Green Grazing. A growing number of grass farmers are practicing "green grazing" or "conservation grazing," a type of management that is specifically designed to restore grazing land to a more natural and sustainable condition.

-Utilizes Land otherwise unusable. 2/3 of the worlds land is untilable (meaning it can not be utilized for traditional farming) but a good portion of that land can be ranched.
Map of untillable land

-Increases Land productivity. It’s a closed, sustainable system When animals are finished on pasture, their manure is deposited naturally and evenly over a large area of grassland, allowing the nutrients to be put to immediate use. On pasture, grazing animals do their own fertilizing and harvesting. The ground is covered with greens all year round, so it does an excellent job of harvesting solar energy and holding onto moisture.

-Prevents Erosion. Year round greens also hold on to topsoil. Currently, the United States is losing three billion tons of nutrient-rich topsoil each year. Growing corn and soy for animal feed using conventional methods causes a significant amount of this soil loss. Compared with row crops, pasture reduces soil loss by as much as 93 percent.

-Turning over soil decreasing desertification. Desertification is when soils become dirt devoid of moisture and nutrients. Grazing converts grasses into manure, returning the nutrients to the soil much more rapidly than plants that die and dessicate.

- Animal grazing on grass do not require fossil fuel-based fertilizers

- decreases shipping feed from exterior places


- Localizes Economy. Utilizes Resources within closer proximity, decreasing shipping feed from exterior places.
- Smaller ranches are more likely to have their products consumed locally

Feed Lot (Grain Fed)

Human Health

- Fattier
- Lacks Vitamins
- Higher probability of Ecoly
- Antibiotics and Hormones

Animal Health
- Animals Grow Faster, have larger weights and are slaughtered younger
- Because animals are consuming grains instead of, they often get digestion Issues, lack vitamin nourishment and get sick. This means they are more prone to disease and are often on antibiotics.

- GMO’s. A high percentage of the grain fed to feedlot cattle and bison is from genetically modified (gm) crops. According to the New York Times, there is new evidence that gm corn is harmful to beneficial insects. Researchers gathered leaves from plants growing in and around gm cornfields and fed them to Monarch butterfly caterpillars. According to the Times, "Twenty percent of the caterpillars eating leaves bearing genetically engineered pollen died, while all caterpillars eating leaves with regular corn pollen survived."

-Congestion of cattle, means manure is concentrated (Toxic), gets into streams, ground water etc.

- Utilizing corn and soy from industrial agricultural sources depletes soil, creating dirt.

- Far more petroleum is used, meaning increased miles.

-The animals are crowded into sheds or kept outdoors on barren land and all their feed is shipped to them from distant fields. On those fields, the crops are treated with fossil fuel based fertilizers, sprayed with pesticides, and planted, tilled, and harvested with heavy equipment. Each of these operations requires non-renewable fuel. Then the feed is shipped to feed manufacturers where it is dried, flaked or polluted, and mixed with other ingredients and then, finally, shipped to the waiting animals, using yet more fossil fuel.

-Globalizes production, there are morelinks in the chain of production. Corn must be grown in one place, manufactured in another, before it makes it to the animals. This means shipping and more food miles in production of a grain fed animal.

-The corn and soy utilized in the in many feedlots is subsidized by the United States government.

-Animals grow faster, are heavier and can be slaughtered younger, this means it takes less time to grow an animal to mature weight saving money. It takes almost a year more per animal when doing free range ranching.


Food - BluePrint Demonstration Farm

Laredo Blueprint Demonstration Farm

The Laredo Blueprint Demonstration Farm, constructed in Laredo, Texas in 1990 by the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (CMPBS). The Laredo Demonstration Farm was created for the Texas Department of Agriculture, and the community of Laredo, Texas. It employs a flexible building system designed to respond to farmers' changing needs due to climatic variation, market demand, and added value potential.

Located on the U.S.-Mexico border, the farm was conceived as a community-based demonstration of sustainable building, water, energy, food, and waste systems appropriate for semi-arid areas of Texas and the southwest. At the center of the project are five structures housing offices, classrooms, workrooms, and storage areas, which take shape from the way they harness climactic elements and from the materials used to build them. Surrounding the buildings are twenty acres of vegetable-growing area. A wind-generated electric system is used to pump water from the Rio Grande River for irrigation.

Reflecting a decade of political changes, the farm has experienced a complete transformation in use and purpose. It currently serves as the headquarters and environmental education center of the Rio Grande International Studies Center (RISC), a living museum representing the fauna and flora of the lower Rio Grande River valley and featuring a variety of specimens within a simulated river habitat for the public. Over 40,000 people, a majority from the local community, visit the RISC facility each year. 

The project's design is based on a 30 by 30 foot grid cell system, a fundamental component of CMPBS' master planning approach based on the Plate Carre projection system. CMPBS incorporates this system into its planning projects because of its equal area and infinite grid procedures. The building is efficiently cooled using downdraft evaporative cooling towers modeled after those in the Mid-East, and is built with plastered straw bale walls, a folded sheet metal roof, and stabilized earth floors. 
 The extensive shade system, a principal design element, is built over the grid, creating a 3-D environment enabling many plant and animal species to thrive at multiple elevations, and supporting a variety of farming activities. The envelope, consisting of light filter, plant trellises, variable shade cloth, and bird netting, becomes part of an integrated pest management system, as well as a micro-climatic environment suitable for plant growth in this semi-arid region. Beneficial insects are surrounded by a protective envelope and birds are kept in, as in an aviary. Additionally, the 3-D context becomes the basis for an input-output simulation process that can be analytically applied to the farm, through which major material and energy flows can be directed within the farm and connected to the adjacent urban environment.

The building system's success is reflected in the local community's embracing its inherent flexibility, as evidenced by the successful transformation from farm to the RISC office/educational center, and the adoption of several core design and construction principles as the site and facilities are expanded. These include the stuccoed straw bale walls, the shading system, and the pole-based structural grid. Today, the facility provides an opportunity for thousands of local school children to experience both the wonders of their local environment and the ability of design to provide a meaningful context. 

Advanced Green Builder Demonstration

This demonstration project, which serves as our office and studio, links building design and construction to the central Texas region, integrating the supply and use of water, food, energy, waste, and material resources with local and regional businesses and utilities. At the building scale, it represents the best example of how our Eco-BalancePlanningTM methodology operates, reflecting the spatial footprints resulting from the life cycles of sustainable technologies incorporated in the project. These spatial planning footprints of technologies, coupled with those footprints reflecting human requirements, become the basis for the building's design.

The AGBD is designed as an open, flexible building system that can be modified to adapt to changing needs and working conditions while keeping the basic spatial life cycle footprints as efficient and site-dependent as possible. For example, all infill walls are removable (straw, unstabilized compressed earth block, recycled EPS, etc.), all partitions and work surfaces are adaptable, and even the kitchen is mobile. Sustainable design features include: climatic design and orientation, daylighting, rainwater harvesting, on-site wetland wastewater treatment, composting toilets, solar photovoltaic panels, straw bale and straw panel walls, caliche block, fly ash concrete, recycled content steel post and beam structure, and food-producing landscaping.

The Laredo Demonstration Farm is a great example of a successful sustainable system on a relatively small scale.

The farm serves as a model for how to efficiently use local resources as well as a model for a building system that can adapt to changes in use and purpose.

The CMPBS has several projects around the world that provide great examples for sustainable building systems and agriculture

Food- Small Scale Urban Agriculture

Why small scale urban agriculture?

At the center of the small scale urban agriculture movement is a growing community of artist-maker-activists. Rather than embracing a fear driven movement of food security and catastrophic climate change their work addresses a self-sufficiency because it fuels creativity, arms people with a sense of empowerment and strengthens communities.
Victory Gardens:

During WWII 41% of all produce consumed in the US was produced in “victory gardens” which were encouraged individual efforts to help support the cause of the war.

In this same spirit Amy Franceschini, started Victory Gardens which calls for a more active role for cities in shaping
agricultural and food policy. It is a concept currently in development with the city of San Francisco that would provide a subsidized home gardening program for individuals and neighborhoods. Offering tools, training and materials for urban dwellers to participate in a city-wide transformation of underutilized backyards.

Less CO2 emissions, neighborhood organizing, self reliance, seasonal growing, seed saving, art, action and independence from corporate food systems

Edible Estates:

In the same vain as Victory Gardens Fritz Haeg has started transformation of front yards rather than back ones.

Fritz is interested in singular gestures that become models --- small gestures in response to common issues that can be instituted by anyone in the world.

By putting the garden in the front for everyone to see he challenges others to question it’s relevance. He wants people to be unsettled with the gardens and then realize they can’t come up with a good argument against them.

Implementation in Other Cities:

The beauty of these projects is the adaptability. Both projects are meant as demonstration projects to show the utility and benefits of doing these things your self without the help necessarily of a city of large organization. It would be very easy for other cities to set up comprehensive websites or brochures demonstrating successful crops for the soil and weather conditions found local areas.

Also a strength of both of these as well is the demonstration of collaboration. Both projects focus on the creation of a community and the necessity of consulting and bringing in the expertise of others who know more about ecology perhaps than you, but demonstrates that it is completely feasible.

Metropolis Magazine March 2008 p. 174-179

Food- How to be a Locavore?

What is a Locavore?
They are people making a effort to build a more locally based, self-reliant food economy. Local food systems are alternative to global corporate models, where producers and consumers are separated through a chain of processors, manufacturers, shipers, and retailers. The belief is that the more middle men there are the more the quality of the product declines. "Buying and producing locally enables accountablility"

Top 12 reasons to buy locally:

1) Freshness. Locally-grown organic fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased by the consumer. Produce from California can't be that fresh.
2) Taste. Produce picked and eaten at the height of freshness tastes better.
3) Nutrition. Nutritional value declines, often dramatically, as time passes after harvest. Because locally-grown produce is freshest, it is more nutritionally complete.
4) Purity. Eighty percent of American adults say they are concerned about the safety of the food they eat. They worry about residues of pesticides and fungicides. These materials are not permitted in an organic production system either before or after harvest.
5) Regional Economic Health. Buying locally grown food keeps money within the community. This contributes to the health of all sectors of the local economy, increasing the local quality of life.
6) Variety. Organic farmers selling locally are not limited to the few varieties that are bred for long distance shipping, high yields, and shelf life. Often they raise and sell wonderful unusual varieties you will never find on supermarket shelves.
7) Soil Stewardship. Soil health is essential for the survival of our species. Conventional farming practices are rapidly depleting topsoil fertility. Creating and sustaining soil fertility is the major objective for organic growers.
8) Energy Conservation. Buying locally grown organic foods decreases dependence on petroleum, a non- renewable energy source. One fifth of all petroleum now used in the United States is used in Agriculture. Organic production systems do not rely upon the input of petroleum derived fertilizers and pesticides and thus save energy at the farm. Buying from local producers conserves additional energy at the distribution level.
9) Environmental Protection. Soil erosion; pesticide contamination of soil, air, and water; nitrate loading of waterways and wells; and elimination of planetary biodiversity are some of the problems associated with today's predominate farming methods. Organic growers use practices that protect soil, air, and water resources; and that promote biodiversity.
10) Cost. Conventional food processes don't reflect the hidden costs of the environmental, health and social consequences of predominate production practices- of, for instance, correcting a water supply polluted by agricultural runoff, or obtaining medical treatment for pesticide induced illness suffered by farmers or consumers. When these and other hidden costs are taken into account, as they should be, locally grown organic foods are seen clearly for the value they are, even if they cost a few pennies more.
11) A Step Toward Regional Food Self Reliance. Dependency on far away food sources leaves a region vulnerable to supply disruptions, and removes any real accountability of producer to consumer. It also tends to promote larger, less diversified farms that hurt both the environment and local economies/communities. Regional food production systems, on the other hand, keep the food supply in the hands of many, providing interesting job and self-employment opportunities, and enabling people to influence how their food is grown.
12) Passing on the Stewardship Ethic. When you buy locally produced organic food you cannot help but raise the consciousness of your friends and family about how food buying decisions can make a difference in your life and the life of your community; and about how this basic act is connected to planetary issues.

Best Website's for Local Food:
Pennsylvania’s buy local website, good idea of how to make it obtainable. This website is strong because it was developed by the state, so it has a smaller audience, thus is able to be updated quite frequently. The national websites struggle to keep accurate data.
This website is dedicated to connecting people with local food, they have a very easy interface which puts you directly in contact with the farms in your area. The website is okay, but lacks up to date information, and it is the only website which has the entire US listed.

Their Mission:
“The best food is what's grown closest to you. Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many others.”
Is a San Fransisco based group that has formed an online community around eating locally. They have created a support system which enables other people in the area to blog how to find local food. Great for San Fransisco users, but could be applied more broadly. They do local events such as each local month in August, and celebrations for people who have made it a whole year eating locally.

March 16, 2008

Food - Local Systems, Farmer's Diner

Why Local Systems?
The Farmers Diner shortens the road from the farm field to the diner plate. The current commercial food system is a mess. The Farmers Diner follows a simple design: buy great ingredients directly from area farmers and prepare great meals for local customers. Why would a Vermonter eat lamb from New Zealand? This makes no sense environmentally, agriculturally or economically.

The Farmer's Diner makes it easy to eat locally, which is sustainable for communities as well as the planet by combining time-tested restaurant-chain basics
with socially responsible economics and operations.

How it Works:
• A regional pod of five diners will create an annual market of $1,200,000 for local and regional farmers and producers. A "pod" is a group of diners that share purchasing and preparation by a central commissary that makes purchasing, delivery by farmers, and initial processing much more efficient than if each diner did it alone.

• The Farmers Diner buys the best-raised local and regional farm products, with a preference for the highest quality, closest-by products. Beef must have access to the outdoors and pasture as a principal part of their feed ration and may not be raised with added hormones nor antibiotics. The local area pork that we purchase is raised without added hormones or antibiotics and are raised outdoors or on deeply bedded packs. These practices eliminate improper waste management and focus farmers on husbandry and not industrial management.

• In-season vegetables, when not available from area organic sources, will be sourced from area growers who use Integrated Pest Management systems, thus reducing the amount of harmful chemicals and poisons released into the environment. When local or close-by regional produce is not available, The Farmers Diner currently uses an area produce company supplying typical commercial vegetables.

• Using the Department of Commerce multiplier for dollars spent in local communities, it is estimated that the $1,200,000 spent by a 5-diner pod in local agrarian communities will translate into an economic force of approximately $6,000,000 annually. This will encourage other farm and distribution-related services to be created.

• Each pod of five diners will help maintain and create new farms. With each farm or local processor supplying $30,000 - $120,000 worth of food to The Farmers Diner this translates into 10-40 local farms or other food businesses more secure in their economic viability.

• Using the pod commissary model for processing local produce will help farmers to diversify their operations and receive better compensation without the time requirement of coordinating processing and distribution. This will assist farmers in moving towards polyculture (multiple products) and away from sole dependence upon commodity monoculture.

Our method for creating more The Farmers Diner restaurants will be pretty simple. In each new market area we attract a local group of farmers, business leaders, investors and others who care about viable communities. The Farmers Diner provides the local partners with technical and financial resources in launching and managing a pod of new diners in their area.

This model allows The Farmers Diner to leverage its core business processes, technology and management expertise across multiple locations with significant economy of scale. This will allow us to increase benefits to employees, pay profitable prices to local farmers and provide a good return to our investors.

+ supports and sustains local agriculture
+ creates jobs
+ strengthens communities
+ less need for current food transport system = less carbon
+ increases transparency of where food comes from (listing sources on menus)

Other restaurants with menus built around locally harvested foods:
Chez Panisse:
The White Dog Cafe:
Local 121:

Farmer's Diner website:

Food- Home Delivery

What: Home delivery service of groceries, such as Others include CSA (community supported agriculture) for urban lifestyles where farms participate and community supported to have food delivered to customer’s door weekly. A problem is the delivery of boxes, limited selection in large quantities.

Peapod has one model (centralized distribution) with two formats (wareroom/fast-pick center and warehouse). Both provide next-day delivery, capitalizing on a supply chain that keeps the cold chain intact. This allows us to use the assets of the store as we open markets, and then transition to warehouses as the business grows; leveraging the power of Ahold stores helps us maximizes quality, minimize out-of-stocks, control inventory and provide superior service. Peapod having served more than 8 million customers has secured its position as the country's leading internet grocer, serving 18 U.S. markets. Now owned by Royal Ahold and working closely with Stop & Shop and Giant Foods. With more than 10,000 products for shoppers to choose from such as: grocery basics, farm-fresh produce; meats and seafood; prepared foods and party trays; deli meats and cheeses, Kosher, organic and specialty foods; a vast selection of produce; a variety of beer, wine and beverages; pet supplies; videos; office and school supplies and private label products from supermarket partners Stop & Shop and Giant.

Peapod services: the Greater Chicago area, Greater Boston area, Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey, New York, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Benefits: Some consumer journeys to shops can be saved, but more importantly the distribution chain for products can be a lot shorter and more efficient. Instead of a product travelling to a series of depots and distribution centres, the journey to the consumer can be more direct.

Who: Peapod, the online grocery store started in 1989 by brothers Andrew and Thomas Parkinson.

How it works: Go to website, browse “express shop” or “browse aisles,” add to cart desired items, check out and pay (delivery fee*), look for desired drop off time, wait for groceries to arrive at designated time.

*Delivery Fees Consumers pay as low as $6.95 for orders greater than $100; $9.95 for orders between $50-$100.

Also have the option of Shop&Drop, a password-protected area built into a house or garden, much like the coal-bunkers of yore, where groceries or any products bought online can be left securely, meaning you don't have to be in when they arrive.

Features: Peapod enhances and organizes the shopping experience by organizing products and purchase history to ease the shopping experience with features including:

  • Sort by Nutrition
  • New Items
  • Express Shop
  • Shopping Lists
  • Aisle Browsing
  • Item Search
  • Recipes & More

Peapod serves customers with two freestanding, 75,000-square-foot warehouses in:

  • Chicago (Lake Zurich, Ill.)
  • Washington, DC (Gaithersburg, Md.)

The company also hosts "warerooms" (7,000 square feet each) adjacent to partner stores in:

  • Connecticut (5 locations)
  • Massachusetts (4 locations)
  • New York (3 locations)
  • New Jersey (3 locations)
  • Rhode Island (1 location)

The delivery system maintains products at their optimum temperatures, from the farm all the way to a customer's front door. Warehouses, trucks and delivery bins are all climate-controlled.

Implementation in other cities? Yes. Peapod's focus is to expand market share on the East Coast in locations where Ahold U.S.A. has a significant presence with its Stop & Shop and Giant Food stores. This is applicable to other models as well.

Food- Environmental Defense Part II

The Farm bill is considered the single largest source of conservation funding in the US. In July, the U.S. House passed its version of the Farm Bill, called the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2007. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill in December. Both the House and Senate made steps in the right direction, but did not do enough to meet farmer demand for conservation programs. Now the two parts of congress must consolidate their two versions of the bill.
In the House, the bill provided for $4.5 billion in funding for new conservation programs, but this is still considered and insufficient amount to ensure that farmers are not rejected when they apply for conservation assistance. more than 50,000 farmers (two out of every three that apply) are rejected each year when they offer to share the costs of a healthier environment.
In the Senate their version of the bill failed to make reasonable reforms to farm subsidy programs. despite many reform amendments offered on the Senate floor during debate, the Bill continues with one type of subsidy, direct payments, which flow to farmers regardless of need.
The Senate Bill in fact, increases subsidies rather than reducing them by increasing support levels for some crops, creating a new $5.1 billion "permanent disaster" program, which will encourage more intensive crop production on marginal lands wasting taxpayer dollars + harming the environment. Despite the fact that a clear majority of Senators voted in favor of reforms to impose reasonable payment limits for subsidy recipients and to prevent already wealthy individuals from receiving subsidy checks, a deal struck by Senate Leadership requiring a 60-vote supermajority to pass these amendments thwarted reform efforts. As a result, the farm bill passed by the Senate will continue to allow millionaires to collect unlimited farm subsidies while leaving conservation and other critical programs under funded.

As of now, the farm bill is doing little for conservation programs. Instead, subsidies are focused on production, so that the largest 10 percent of subsidy recipients collect 70 percent of all subsidies (some subsidized farmers collect more than $2 million a year, but most collect less than $200 a month). Subsidies are concentrated on a handful of crops (corn, wheat, soy, rice, & cotton) in a handful of states (eight states collected more than half of farm spending between 1995-2004). As a result of this funding imbalance, most producers are rejected when they seek conservation subsidies. Essentially, the farm policy benefits large production farming, marginalizing crop variation, and creating detrimental effects to our soil, landscape, air and health.

The Environmental Defense has twelve recommendations for farm and food policy. Below are 7-12.

7. Help Farmers Make the Transition to Organic
Helping farmers make the transition to organic will benefit consumers, the environment, and the economy. There is a huge demand for Organic farming in the US, unfortunately the cost of the three-year transition to organic (a period when farmers abandon the use of pesticides but cannot yet label their products as organic) is significant. Farm and food policies should help many more farmers make the transition to organic production systems by sharing in transition costs as farmers move from conventional to organic production.

8. Target Land Retirement and Restoration Efforts
By restoring millions of acres of grasslands, forests and wetlands, the CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) and WRP (Wetlands Reserve programs) have produced enormous environmental benefits. Lands enrolled and restored through the CRP, annually sequester 48 million tons of carbon and annually reduce the amount of soil washed into streams by about 450 millions tons (or by enough dirt to fill 37.5 million dump trucks). The 2007 Farm Bill should expand the Wetlands Reserve Program to 5 million acres. This program has already protected 1.6 million acres.

9. Protect 10 Million Acres from Sprawl
More than 80 percent of our fruits and vegetables, and more than 60 percent of our dairy products, are produced in areas threatened by sprawl. At current rates, America is losing two acres of farm and ranch land every minute (Many of those farms and ranches fall in the path of development). The Farm Bill should provide sufficient funds to USDA’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program so that the program can continue to match vital state and local efforts around the country to protect working farms and ranches, the bill should also include an expansion of the Grassland Reserve Program to protect more than 10 million acres of grassland from subdivision and conversion.

10. Promote Cooperative Conservation Projects
Farmers, ranchers and family foresters working together to solve local and regional environmental challenges typically provide clean water, clean air and wildlife habitat faster and at less cost than when landowners adopt conservation practices in isolation. The Farm Bill should increase annual USDA conservation spending from $4 to $7 billion and should reserve 20 percent of all working lands funds to provide grants to groups of farmers, ranchers and family foresters working together to address local environmental priorities. The USDA should hold back 10% of all working lands conservation funds to reward states that do the best job of implementing conservation programs in a way that encourages farmers to work together to meet local and regional environmental priorities.

11. Promote Healthy Food Choices
Rising rates of diet-related diseases such as diabetes have increased the cost of America’s health care system by about $100 billion a year. The next Farm Bill should expand programs that link schools, hospitals and other large institutions with local producers of fruits and vegetables. Linking consumers with local farmers, and building the shipping, packing and processing infrastructure to facilitate these connections, would improve diets, reduce health care expenses, and improve the profitability of farmers threatened by sprawling development.

12. Cultivate a New Generation of Stewards
Farmers over the age of 65 outnumber those below the age of 35 by more than four to one. Over the next two decades, about 400 million acres of agricultural land will be transferred to new owners. But, many new farmers face high land costs and barriers to credit and insurance (many of these new farmers are growing crops that are not eligible for traditional subsidies). The Farm Bill should dramatically expand programs that provide grants and loans to help new farmers and ranchers, new policy should also phase out the use of subsidies tied to the production of certain crops.


Food- Environmental Defense Part I

The Environmental Defense is a multidisciplinary organization that makes recommendations concerning the environment based off of scientific and market analysis. They are “finding the ways that work” in a number of areas including farming and food policies.

Why Listen to the Environmental Defense's Recommendations on Food Policy?
Policies concerning food and farm affect a number of people including consumers, farmers, ranchers, taxpayers, trade and the environment. This is because it shapes the use of energy, fuel, water and land for production while impacting trade and taxes for competitive distribution. Over half of America is managed by farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners, however the interest in health food and positive environmental choices is difficult to sustain on farms and ranches due to the lack of government incentives and subsidies. The dynamic research that the Environmental Defense complied lead to logical recommendations to address these issues.

Though directed specifically to food production, the policies extend past their immediate realm due to their impact on public health, the environment, trade and energy. By improving this system, many others will benefit.

Though a local issue, the federal government is the main player for the implementation of policy.In 2007, Congressed had a chance to reinvigorate its Farm Bill, where the two houses are now consolidating their own versions.

The Environmental Defense has twelve recommendations for farm and food policy. Below are the first six.

1. Help more farmers and rural communities:
The main goal would be to help farmers with economic independence by promoting innovation and environmental responsibility. Currently, farm subsides are only given to a handful farmers, thus creating funds for conservation and energy could benefit all producers. Furthermore, developing conservation, renewable energy, and rural development programs would be beneficial in addition to creating an account system which could help with rural business ventures and planning for the future.

2. Reward-don’t reject-good stewards:
The activities of producers greatly affects the environment, however many farms and ranches are a sources of water pollution with fertilizers and air pollution from animal waste. Many are addressing these problems, but are having problems acquiring government funding. USDA conservation spending should increase from 4 to 7 billion in addition to reforming the farm subsidies program. Air pollution is a particular problem, where the Environmental Quality Incentives Program should be improved by reserving funds to help regions of farmer with air pollution. If farms and ranches manage their waste better with the help of USDA, public and environmental health improves.

3. Invest in renewable energy with environmental benefits:

Individuals are interested in investing in renewable energy. With the amount of land involved in farming and ranching, an opportunity arises for the harnessing of wind and solar energy as well as energy from crop waste. Future USDA investments should help promote renewable energy.

4. Reward economic innovation, don’t create dependence

Farm Income Stabilization accounts should be adapted for they would promote innovation and economic independence of producers. It would help create new markets and investments in food production. The farmers’ market should be expanded by improving the next Farm Bill to link customer to farmer.

5. Reward rising levels of stewardship:

In 2002, the Conservation Security Program (CSP) was created to support high levels of environmental performance by producers. This should continue and also be made available to all farmers who meet the standard. Improvements could also be accomplished by balancing the reward between past and future accomplishments. Environmental stewardship could also be linked to income support as an incentive to create sustainable practices. Spending for the 2007 Farm Bill should increase from 4 to 7 billion, where extra would go toward air and water quality stewardship incentives as well as wildlife and wetland restoration.

6. Help farmers get ready for a carbon cap
Farmers should be prepared for carbon markets for they are beneficial to power plant owners, the environment and producers. This can be achieved by developing standards and protocols to certify emissions reductions and its worth. In order to help farmers be more prosperous in this market, policies should be developed to help improve tillage, fertilizer use, and methane capture.

Environmental Defense:

Food–The Vertical Farm Project

Agriculture for the 21st Century and Beyond
Columbia University

“A Columbia professor believes that converting skyscrapers into crop farms could help reduce global warming and make New York cleaner”. Lisa Chamberlain


What does this have to do with climate change? The professor believes that only by allowing significant portions of the Earth’s farmland to return to forest do we have a real chance of stabilizing climate and weather patterns. Merely reducing energy consumption—the centerpiece of the proposal Al Gore recently presented to Congress—will at best slow global warming. Allowing forests to regrow where crops are now cultivated, he believes, would reduce carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere as least as much as more-efficient energy consumption.

There is another reason to develop indoor farming: exploding population growth. By 2050, demographers estimate there will be an additional 3 billion people (a global total of 9.2 billion). If current farming practices are maintained, extra landmass as large as Brazil would have to be cultivated to feed them. Yet nearly all the land that can produce food is already being
farmed—even without accounting for the possibility of losing more to rising sea levels and climate change (which could turn arable land into dust bowls).

Depending on the crops being grown, a single vertical farm could allow thousands of farmland acres to be permanently reforested. For the moment, these calculations remain highly speculative, but a real-life example offers a
clue: After a strawberry farm in Florida was wiped out by Hurricane Andrew, the owners built a hydroponic farm. By growing strawberries indoors and stacking layers on top of each other, they now produce on one acre of land what used to require 30 acres.

1. The Solar Panel
Most of the vertical farm’s energy is supplied by the pellet power system (see over). This solar panel rotates to follow the sun and would drive the interior cooling system, which is used most when the sun’s heat is greatest.

2. The Wind Spire
An alternative (or a complement) to solar power, conceied by an engineering professor at Cleveland State University. Conventional windmills are too large for cities; the wind spire uses small blades to turn air upward, like a screw.

3. The Glass Panels

A clear coating of titanium oxide collects pollutants and prevents rain from beading; the rain slides down the glass, maximizing light and cleaning the pollutants. Troughs collect runoff for filtration.

4. The Control Room
The vertical-farm environment is regulated from here, allowing for year-round, 24-hour crop cultivation.

5. The Architecture
Inspired by the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. Circular design uses space most efficiently and allows maximum light into the center. Modular floors stack like poker chips for flexibility.

6. The Crops
The vertical farm could grow fruits, vegetables, grains, and even fish, poultry, and pigs. Enough, Despommier estimates, to feed 50,000 people annually.

The vertical farm doesn’t just grow crops indoors; it also generates its own power from waste and cleans up sewage water.

1. The Evapotranspiration Recovery System
Nestled inside the ceiling of each floor, its pipes collect moisture, which can be bottled and sold.

2. The Pipes
Work much like a cold bottle of Coke that “sweats” on a hot day: Super-cool fluid attracts plant water vapors, which are then collected as they drip off (similar systems are in use on a small scale). Despommier estimates that one vertical farm could capture 60 million gallons of water a year.

3. Black-Water Treatment System
Wastewater taken from the city’s sewage system is treated through a series of filters, then sterilized, yielding gray water—which is not drinkable but can be used for irrigation. (Currently, the city throws 1.4 billion gallons of treated wastewater into the rivers each day.) The Solaire building in Battery Park City already uses a system like this.

4. The Crop Picker

Monitors fruits and vegetables with an electronic eye. Current technology, called a Reflectometer, uses color detection to test ripeness.

5. The Field
Maximization of space is critical, so in this rendering there are two layers of crops (and some hanging tomatoes). If small crops are planted, there might be up to ten layers per floor.

6. The Pool
Runoff from irrigation is collected here and piped to a filtration system.

7. The Feeder
Like an ink-jet printer, this dual-purpose mechanism directs programmed amounts of water and light to individual crops.

8. The Pellet Power System
Another source of power for the vertical farm, it turns nonedible plant matter (like corn husks, for example) into fuel. Could also process waste from New York’s 18,000 restaurants.

9 to 11. The Pellets
Plant waste is processed into powder (9), then condensed into clean-burning fuel pellets (10), which become steam power (11). At least 60 pellet mills in North America already produce more than 600,000 tons of fuel annually, and a 3,400-square-foot house in Idaho uses pellets to generate its own electricity.

Food- Beeline: Food Miles cont.

Beeline is a food distribution system concept for fresh produce in the Northwest Pacific coastal region, designed to support local economies while cutting out the wasted money and transportation commonly associated with getting produce from farmers to retailers. By creating an online virtual marketplace for connecting farmers to retailers, Beeline optimizes food transportation energy by "carpooling" pickups and deliveries in a region and provides a robust information system for auditing each shipment's energy use. The system significantly reduces miles traveled and carbon emissions, eliminates warehouses and facilities, provides equitable markets for local food, and educates customers.

A database provides a web-based interface for farmers, retailers, and customers to learn more about each other, and combines social networking with education. Clients' user accounts that go into further detail about food miles, carbon emissions, and opportunities to coordinate pickups and deliveries with other participants in a way that further optimizes the system. In addition, retailers are provided with printable point-of-purchase graphics that educate the customer about the farmers, their farms, and emissions data specific to that shipment.

By analyzing the multiple pick-up and deliveries scheduled at any time, Beeline is able to design the most optimal route for trucking. This is the key to Beeline's overall energy efficiency, and we maintain a detailed database of the day-to-day performance of this system. The system conserves energy and passes those savings on to its clients.

Beeline not only informs the system but changes it as well. Knitting information into product technology, it's built as a service business and system design. Merely localizing food systems is insufficient; local distribution has to be done with maximized efficiency. As the UK's DEFRA report points out, food tonnage can increase when moving towards localized food systems if food items are transported inefficiently. Beeline's system allows us to eliminate waste: wasted miles and wasted labour, as well as wasted space in warehouses and inventory. Ultimately, it enables us to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions associated with food transport and support long-term food security and economic vitality.

(check out the links on the right side)

Food-Food Miles

The concept of food miles is part of a broader issue of sustainability which deals with a large range of list of environmental issues, including local food. The term was coined by Tim Lang (now Professor of Food Policy, City University, London) who says: "The point was to highlight the hidden ecological, social and economic consequences of food production to consumers in a simple way, one which had objective reality but also connotations." [1]

A DEFRA report in 2005 undertaken by researchers at AEA Technology Environment, entitled The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development, included findings that "the direct environmental, social and economic costs of food transport are over £9 billion each year, and are dominated by congestion."

Recent findings indicate that it is not only how far the food has traveled but how it has traveled that is important to consider. The positive environmental effects of specialist organic farming may be offset by increased transportation, unless it is produced by local farms. But even then the logistics and effects on other local traffic may play a big role. Also, many trips by personal cars to shopping centers would have a negative environmental impact compared to a few truck loads to neighborhood stores that can be easily accessed by walking or cycling. A flavorer endeavors to eat food from within a "food shed" having a radius of 100 miles.

Business application

Business leaders have adopted food miles as a model for understanding inefficiency in a food supply chain. Wal-Mart, famously focused on efficiency, was an early adopter of food miles as a profit-maximizing strategy. More recently, Wal-Mart has embraced the environmental benefits of supply chain efficiency as well. In 2006, Wal-Mart, CEO, Lee Scott said, "The benefits of the strategy are undeniable, whether you look through the lens of greenhouse gas reduction or the lens of cost savings. What has become so obvious is that 'a green strategy' provides better value for our customers" [2]. Wal-Mart has since made a series of environmental commitments that suggest the company is looking more holistically at supply chain sustainability, such as restricting seafood suppliers to fisheries independently certified as sustainable, a practice that may increase food miles.[3] Still it is undeniable that Wal-Mart's strategy of using supply chains from as far away as China exorbitantly increases greenhouse emissions. They are often criticized for "green washing" and only adopting large-scale green tactics, which make them appear earth-friendly but actually have little positive environmental impact.

Non-holistic approach

Critics of food miles point out that transport is only one component of the total environmental impact of food production and consumption. In fact, any environmental assessment of food that consumers buy needs to take into account how the food has been produced and what energy is used in its production. A recent DEFRA case study indicated that tomatoes grown in Spain and transported to the United Kingdom may have a lower carbon footprint in terms of energy efficiency than tomatoes grown in the United Kingdom, because of the energy needed to heat greenhouses in the UK [4].

Food- Aquaculture and other quick proteins

Is Aquaculture the future of fish farming?

Eleonore de Lusignan

Aquaculture is commonly defined as the active cultivation (maintenance or production) of marine and freshwater aquatic organisms (plants and animals) under controlled conditions. This definition encompasses a broad range of operations, cultivating a wide variety of organisms, using a wide variety of production systems and facilities. Aquaculture operations across the U.S. produce more than 100 species of aquatic organisms at different life stages, such as catfish, shrimp, salmon, scallops, oysters, and trout.

A common attribute of all aquaculture systems is the use of water as the medium for cultivation. Aquaculture systems must provide a constant supply of sufficiently clean and oxygenated water to support the cultivated organisms, and must carry away deoxygenated water and wastes. Systems that hold organisms within open, natural water bodies (suspended cages, net pens, or racks) rely on natural water circulation or dispersion to accomplish this water "turnover." Wastes released from these systems are not collected or managed. Closed systems employing ponds and tanks, on the other hand, must manage the supply and condition of water in the system, and must remove and manage wastes, largely consisting of wastewater.

Contessa Green Cuisine Plant
In the fall of 2007, Contessa opened the first environmentally responsible, LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant in the world. The facility, its processes, and the products manufactured there are known as "Green Cuisine." Contessa's Green Cuisine plant is so innovative that it was featured on "CBS News Sunday Morning" in a segment called "The Next Hot Invention."

Worldwide, about 1 billion people rely on seafood as their primary source of animal protein. Yet according to a recent report in Science journal, 90 percent of the ocean's edible species may be gone by the year 2048 due to over-fishing, pollution and the destruction of natural habitats.

With our world population increasing by about 80 million people each year, 8 billion people are expected to occupy this planet by 2025. And with the demand for seafood in the U.S. alone expected to increase by more than 3 billion pounds by the year 2010, expanding our resources is no longer an option.

That's where aquaculture comes in.

Aquaculture — the cultivation of aquatic animals — currently accounts for nearly 40 percent of the seafood we consume, and is the fastest-growing food-producing segment in the world. It's a sustainable, reliable way to provide food for the masses.

When carried out responsibly, aquaculture allows shrimp stocks to be maintained and replaced indefinitely. It provides a much-needed source of protein without damaging the ocean floor with shrimp-trawling nets. And it doesn't trap creatures — like sea turtles — inadvertently, only to be thrown overboard as "bycatch." Aquaculture is even used in replenishment programs for a number of overfished species to offset the number that are caught in the wild.

Aquaculture Quick Facts

Aquaculture presently provides nearly 40 percent of the world's edible seafood supply.

Crustaceans, mainly shrimp and prawns, account for about 5 percent of aquaculture production.

About 40 percent of all harvested shrimp are now grown through aquaculture.

Wild-caught vs. Farm-raised: You be the Judge

"Aquaculture — the practice of raising fish, crustaceans or mollusks in captivity for human consumption — is gaining importance as wild fish populations dwindle. If current consumption rates continue, a 2006 scientific study predicted, all wild aquatic species currently harvested for food will fall below a tenth of their largest historic population by 2050."
— Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2007

Net-pen farming can be a messy business
Many farmed fish, including most farmed salmon, are raised in net pens, like cattle in a feed lot. Thousands of fish concentrated in one area produce tons of feces, polluting the water. Diseases can spread from fish in the crowded pens to wild fish. Antibiotics and other drugs used to control those diseases leak out into the environment, creating drug-resistant disease organisms. And if farmed fish escape their pens, they can take over habitat from wild fish in the area. While the U.S. has laws to protect the environment around coastal fish farms, many nations that supply farmed fish to U.S. markets do not.

Shrimp farming can harm the coast
In Thailand, Ecuador and many other tropical nations, coastal forests of mangroves once sheltered wild fish and shrimp, which local people caught to feed their families. Mangroves also filter water and protect the coast against storm waves. Many mangrove forests have been cut down and replaced with shrimp farms that supply shrimp to Europe, Japan and America. After a few years, waste products build up in the farm ponds and the farmers have to move on. The local people are left with no shrimp farms—and no mangrove forest.

Far from the sea may be best
The best way to raise fish may be inland, far from coastal waters where wild fish feed and breed. Tilapia, a plant-eating fish, is easy to raise, and produces protein for people without using wild fish as feed. Catfish and trout are raised inland in the United States. All of these fish can be delicious alternatives to ocean-farmed shrimp and salmon. Even shrimp and salmon farming can be moved inland, where wastes are easier to handle. U.S. shrimp farmers are experimenting with enclosed, recirculating systems that filter wastewater and can be located far from the coast.

Global Demand for Aquatic Products

• Ocean capture fisheries, which have long provided the majority of edible fish products for the world, have reached maximum sustainable yields.

• Demand for fishery products will continue to increase in response to projected human population growth of nearly 50%, to 9.1 billion, by 2050.

• Key constraint to sustainability of aquaculture production will be the availability of cost effective, renewable protein ingredients for fish feeds.

• Global fishmeal supplies are already insufficient to sustain the growing aquaculture production using fishmeal-based feeds.


• Soybean meal has a significantly lower cost than most animal meals, particularly marine animal protein meals.

• Reducing feed cost is critical to improving efficiency and maintaining sustainability in aquaculture operations.


• Soybean meal is a renewable plant protein ingredient.

• Availability of renewable protein products will be critical to the future of the global aquaculture industry.

• In comparison to static production of marine animal meals, soybean production has grown more than tenfold in the last four decades, and can continue to grow to meet demand from the aquaculture industry.