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.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and GRACE are partnering to pose this challenge to the hackers at Hack//Meat SV: How can we find, recruit and empower a million consumer activists to demand meat without antibiotics?
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]
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]
Experiments subjecting animals to rampant death, disease and suffering at a US tax-funded research facility have been exposed by a New York Times investigation. For decades, animals in the facility's programs aimed at developing higher yield and lower-cost beef, pork and mutton have been abused, neglected, and allowed to live in unhealthy conditions.
Few policy objectives over the last half-century have proven as tantalizing for presidents as the call to achieve energy independence. And now -- after more than 40 years of promises, programs, and extended deadlines -- the United States is on the verge of producing more energy than it consumes. [Real Clear Politics]
Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont topped the list of the most energy-efficient states this year, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. State investment in energy-efficiency programs have tripled since the first ACEEE scorecard eight years ago. [US News & World Report]
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]
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]