For 48 hours on June 21-23, over 250 food industry leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and creatives convened at Hack//Meat Silicion Valley, a hackathon to develop hardware and software solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing sustainable meat production and consumption. The three-day event was held at the Institute of Design at Stanford, and was organized by Food+Tech Connect in partnership with Applegate and GRACE Communications Foundation.

USDA Pilots New Farm-To-School Programs

Up to eight USDA farm-to-school pilot programs will get off the ground next school year thanks to this year's farm bill. While citizen and state-run programs have encouraged local sourcing in schools for years, these will be the first federally funded programs aimed at bringing local food into schools. Local food sourcing can both stimulate local economies and improve food education. [Civil Eats]

Tax Programs to Finance Clean Energy Catch On

Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, or PACE, is finally catching on in the US, at least for businesses. The creative approach allows owners to borrow the money for renewable energy systems and pay for it over time through a property tax surcharge. Next step: making PACE available to homeowners. [New York Times]

How to Cut Residential Energy Use

Getting consumers on board with energy efficiency programs continues to be difficult, but just a few changes in consumer behavior could cut up to 20 percent of US residential energy use. A couple of techniques that show promise: Showing customers how their energy use compares with their neighbors, and giving immediate rebates on energy efficient products. [Wall Street Journal]

Finally, a 'Kickstarter' for Sustainable Food Projects

If you're starting a new sustainable food project, you might want to think about Barnraiser, a new crowdfunding website for supporters of sustainable agriculture. The site aims to empower innovators working to remake the food system around the world by breaking down barriers and bringing sustainable food programs to the mainstream. [Civil Eats]

Obama Announces Marine Sanctuary in Pacific Ocean

With mislabeled seafood and, well, fishy international supply chains making recent news, President Obama's intention to create the world's largest marine sanctuary is a glimmer of hope. The administration plans to spend the next few month consulting with outside groups before finalizing the protected boarders. Federal agencies are simultaneously developing programs to deter illegal fishing. [New York Times]

This Week in Eco News - May 2, 2014

This week brings bad news for coffee, apples and genetically engineered soy, but good news on farm-to-school programs, water regulations and coal rules. We are also reading about the latest oil train derailment in Virginia - see these stories, along with the latest climate news and multimedia.

Strolling of the Heifers 2014 Locavore Index highlights benefits of food from local farms

The Vermont-based local food advocacy organization Strolling of the Heifers released this year's Locavore Index, naming Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon and Hawaii as the top five most local food friendly states in the nation. The Index considers per capita comparisons of states' numbers of farmers markets, CSAs, and food hubs and farm-to-school programs. How's your state doing? [Vermont Biz]

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