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]

This Week in Eco News - March 6, 2015

There's been some surprisingly good news this week out of powerful companies and governmental bodies. For one, McDonald's chose to phase out human antibiotics from its chicken supply. And lawmakers offered bills to expand farm-to-school programs, a community voted down oil drilling and a company dropped plans for a giant iron mine.

Lawmakers Offer New Bills to Expand Farm to School Program

Think kids deserve access to quality food in schools? You'll be happy to hear that a new bipartisan bill could triple the funds spent towards farm-to-school programs from $5 million to $15 million, bolstering all school feeding programs, including after school, preschool and summer food programs. This could be a huge boost for local economies, farmers and community health. [Agri-Pulse]

US Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit

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.

Fracking Has Changed the Energy Policy Debate

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]

Which States are Most, Least Energy Efficient?

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]

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