Fresh from the Field, Jan. 25, 2018

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Fresh from the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                   Jan.25, 2018

Success Stories

USDA Photo Fresh from the Field

Support of Farmers Markets throughout the United States

The Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School, Farmers Market Coalition, and Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) launched an online Farmers Market Legal Toolkit, a free resource to support building resilient and accessible markets throughout the United States.

The toolkit responds to recurring questions from farmers’ market managers as they make decisions to build and grow their markets. Topics include how different business structures would affect their organizations, what types of legal risks exist and how to manage them, and how to make local food available and accessible for all community members. Toolkit resources include best-practice recommendations for managing common risks and accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

“The Farmers Market Legal Toolkit is a one-stop resource to give market leaders an understanding of legal options before they start making decisions,” said Erin Buckwalter of NOFA-VT. “The toolkit provides a firm understanding of the legal landscape, offering an important overview of resources for farmers’ market organizers.”

NIFA supports this project through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

Read the story at Vermont Law School News and Events. USDA photo.

News Coverage 

  Fresh from the Field USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Urban Agriculture Pays Off

New research from collaboration between Arizona State University (ASU) and Google provides an assessment of the value of urban agriculture and the benefits it provides on a global scale.

“For the first time, we have a data-driven approach that quantifies the ecosystem benefits from urban agriculture. Our estimates of ecosystem services show potential for millions of tons of food production, thousands of tons of nitrogen sequestration, billions of kilowatt hours of energy savings and billions of cubic meters of avoided storm runoff from agriculture in urban areas,” said Matei Georgescu, an ASU associate professor.

Using the Google Earth Engine, the researchers analyzed global population, urban, meteorological, terrain, and Food and Agricultural Organization datasets to arrive at their global scale estimates – and then aggregated them by country. The estimated value of four ecosystems services resulting from existing vegetation in urban areas was found to be roughly $33 billion. This includes a projected annual food production of 100 to 180 million tons and energy savings of 14-15 billion kilowatt-hours.

NIFA supports this project through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

Read the story at ASU Now. USDA photo by Lance Cheung.

The Library 

Fresh from the Field clownfish

Ornamental Fish Food

Ornamental aquarium fish like the clownfish Nemo and his pal the royal blue tang Dory one day may be dining on high-quality yet inexpensive white worms grown in New England. New research from at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) has found that live white worms are well-suited for the ornamental aquaculture industry and could be an emerging commercial industry for the region.

UNH researchers conducted experiments to evaluate how low- or no-cost byproducts affected white worm production and nutrition, and if adding enrichments changed the fatty acid profile of the worms, making them a more nutritious feed. They evaluated if live white worms harbored diseases, which would put aquaculture facilities at risk. They distributed almost 250,000 white worms to facilities in the United States in exchange for feedback on their experiences using the worms.

Specifically, the researchers found white worms are an easily and cheaply cultivated, pathogen-free feed, high in protein and fat, which are readily consumed by many fishes, especially ornamentals.

NIFA supports this project with Hatch Act funding.

Read the article at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Photo Credit: Nick Hobgood.


Fresh from the Field

The Power of Plant Partnerships

Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) are using plant probiotics to increase water efficiency, improve plant growth, and increase stress tolerance in plants.

NIFA supports the research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and McIntire-Stennis Capacity Grant Program.

Watch the video to learn about the power of plant microbiomes and their impact on the environment. USDA photo.  

Tweet of the Week


Fresh from the Field tweet January 25 2018