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.
It's back to school time! Here at GRACE we're trying to make everyone's job a little easier by providing free tools and resources that both teachers and students can use in their work on sustainable food, water and energy.
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?
Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, like dozens of organizations across the country, is training veterans to be farmers. And farming seems to be a good fit for vets. "A disproportionate amount of military vets come from rural America and serve," notes USDA military veterans liaison, Lanon Baccam. While only 17 percent of Americans live in rural areas, people from rural communities make up 40 percent of the military. "Many want to go back to those communities, and we want to help them when they get there," Baccam says. [NPR]
According to newly released USDA data, in the 2013-2014 school year, US schools purchased $789 million in local foods from farms, ranches and other food purveyors. Farm-to-school programs were implemented at 42,587 schools, benefiting 23.6 million children, and resulting in increased consumption of healthier foods and reduced plate waste. [USDA]
Across the US, lots of organizations are providing opportunities for children to engage with healthy and sustainable food. School garden organizations and cafeteria-food oriented programs give kids access to nourishing food options. Check out this snapshot of some of the great work that's being done!
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]
This week's Eco News features the following stories: Programs Help Move Vets Into Farming; Glyphosate Found in Popular Breakfast Foods; Walt Disney Parks to Only Use Cage-Free Eggs - and much more!