Urban Farmers are Growing Fruit Trees in Philadelphia. Really.

Consider this apparent oxymoron: urban orchards.

It’s a reality in Philadelphia, the sixth largest city by population in the United States.

Enabling the creation of urban orchards is exactly what the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) is doing. This nonprofit organization plants and supports community orchards in the city of Philadelphia. Growing locally is one way to increase access to fresh fruit and vegetables and expand sustainability.

Photo: Philadelphia Orchard Project. 2020 Annual Report.

Philadelphia Orchard Project helps boost nutritional intake by increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables for often under-served inner city populations. POP requires that “the harvest (or proceeds from its sale) go to benefit low-wealth communities.”

According to POP, “the exact mix of trees and plants in each orchard depends upon our community partner’s preferences as well as strategies for sustaining healthy, productive orchards.” This includes, for example:

  • Fruit and Nut Trees: almonds, apples, Asian pears, peaches, plums and more
  • Shrubs and Berry Bushes: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and more
Continue reading

Autonomous Agriculture Technology is Here. Will it be Adopted and Make a Difference?

Will the amazing agriculture supply chain be powered to a meaningful extent by autonomous equipment technology?

Autonomous equipment, sometimes electric, has the potential to improve sustainability, solve labor shortages and increase the efficiency of the global agriculture and produce supply chain. Today, farmers and growers are actively testing and deploying globally supplied, artificial-intelligence-based autonomous equipment for growing and harvesting.

Here are seven examples.

Monarch Tractor

Hopville Farms is using autonomous electric tractor technology for blueberry production in Oregon.

Jim Hoffman, Managing Partner of Hopville Farms in Independence, Oregon explained in a July press release: “We’re eager to implement Monarch’s technology into our operation as its autonomous capabilities will help improve labor productivity, while electrification will reduce our carbon footprint.”

Photo: Monarch Tractor Facebook.
Continue reading

Innovation & Sustainability Power Food Supply Chain – Yet More Work Remains To Be Done

Did you ever wonder how it’s possible to walk into your local market or shop your online store and purchase your favorite produce virtually any day of the year?

For instance:

  • Bananas always.
  • Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries seemingly all the time.
  • Avocados yes.
  • What about apples, harvested once per year? Yes again. You can buy a wide range of apple varieties 52 weeks of the year.

We enjoy this “take for granted” abundance because there is a fantastic food supply chain in place around the world that includes agriculture solutions providers, growers, packers, shippers, ripeners and retailers. It does not happen by accident. Rather, this “secret magic” of the food/produce industry is grounded in science-based innovation, powered by safe and effective technologies specially designed for the task.

The “secret magic” of the food/produce supply chain is grounded in science-based innovation, powered by safe and effective technologies specially designed for the task. Via @hchimoff. #sustainability #foodloss #foodwaste #produce #shelflifeextension

There is a large array of companies – from seeds to pest management to pre-harvest crop nurturing to the entire post-harvest processing cycle – that are working diligently so that consumers can enjoy great tasting fruits and vegetables whenever they and their families desire. This integrated supply chain is focused on great farming/growing, sustainability, quality, freshness and shelf life extension.

It’s more than just farmers and growers, even though they are the backbone of the industry. What happens once a crop is harvested is every bit as important as everything that has taken place up to that point.

Continue reading