Category Archives: Sustainable Food Systems

It’s too darn hot.

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If you have been keeping up with Northern California’s weather, you know we’ve been in a heatwave lately, and it is expected to last for several more days. This heat is cause for concern, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a food security and health perspective.

The massive winter storms which coated towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range after years of drought  is now melting too fast. That means waterways could flood and damage the vital crops in the Central Valley.  Find out more about this through our project, Maven’s Notebook.

The heat can be dangerous in other ways too. Young children, elderly people, pregnant women, people with disabilities and animals are especially vulnerable to the heat.

Here are some tips to beat the heat:

  • Get wet. Hang a wet sheet over a window, which is what the rangers do at Death Valley National Park. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water.
  • Block sun. Closing curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat that passes into your home by as much as 45 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Eat cold. Although barbecue is ubiquitous with  warmer temperatures, it works against you on hotter days.  When it’s too hot to cook, consider cold soups or rely on electrical appliances instead of those cooking methods that generate more heat.
  • Swig it. Staying hydrated is important. You can think beyond water to other foods that will keep you in the cool, including watermelon, peaches, celery, and cucumbers.

We Salute Our Projects Who Make a Difference on National Farm Animal Day

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When we think of animal welfare, we often turn to our pets: mainly dogs or cats. But on National Farm Animal Day, it’s time to take a look at some of the other animals in our lives: the farm livestock, which includes 9 billion chickens, 244 million turkeys, 93 million cows, 65 million hogs and 6 million sheep, among others.

Yet billions are not being treated humanely. That’s why we are saluting some of our amazing projects working to help:

  • Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative –  brings together sustainable farmers, environmental, public health, social and economic justice, and animal welfare organizations to work on systemic change required to establish a sustainable and just animal agriculture system.
  • Change Food – helps individuals change the way they eat by raising public awareness and educating consumers about opportunities to shift the U.S. food supply to a sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible by all.
  • Kitchen Table Advisors – provides farmers with business and financial advising and help farmers access the tools, knowledge and resources they need on their path to becoming resilient and viable businesses.
  • PiggyBank – provides an open forum, where the public will have access to information on all heritage breed pigs and access business plans written by other farmers.

Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions – Hiring an Alliance ED

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iStock_000028045480_DoubleThe Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions (the “Alliance”) welcomes applications for  the new position of Alliance Executive Director, available immediately.

About The Alliance
The Conservation Alliance connects leading conservation organizations with businesses that together represent over 80% of the North American grocery and food service markets. Members and collaborators work together to solve sustainable seafood’s biggest  challenges so that oceans and the businesses that depend on them can thrive while advancing vibrant and resilient ocean and freshwater ecosystems that contribute to improved livelihoods and food security.

The Alliance Executive Director position is newly-created and is a critical next step in an Alliance-wide capacity-building initiative. With community energy, a robust and challenging work plan, and a growing pipeline of interested potential new member organizations, the Alliance is at an important inflection point in its programs and services. The Alliance seek an entrepreneurial and well-connected Executive Director with a track record of experience in the conservation community. The Executive Director, alongside the Steering Committee and its contractors, will capitalize on this growing momentum by strategically leading the Alliance in weaving together the strategies of member organizations, incubating new ideas and elevating the Alliance as a key leader within the sustainable seafood movement.

To learn more or express interest, view the full announcement here.

 

Root Solutions and the Story of Stuff

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RSIt’s very exciting to see one of our projects, Root Solutions, featured for the cool work that they are doing, and what better place to be featured than on the Story of Stuff Project blog?

Root Solutions is dedicated to providing conservationists and policy makers with tools and resources informed by the proven methods of behavioral science, allowing them to create more effective campaigns, polices and strategies that reflect how people process information and make decisions. With techniques like, “green nudges,” people can be motivated to use behavior that is  both good for them and good for the environment.

The project is the brainchild of Nya Van Leuvan and Rod Fujita, who met at the Environmental Defense Fund where they led the introduction of decision science to their colleagues. The project is also producing a book called “Choices for Change: Using Behavioral Insights to Save the Planet,” which they hope will help policy-makers, advocates, and the general public understand how to frame and encourage behavior that makes conservation a part of our daily lives.

Read more about how behavioral science can improve conservation outcomes at the Root Solutions  website and on the Story of Stuff blog!

T4CI welcomes Ocean Outcomes!

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O2 boat

T4CI is proud to welcome Ocean Outcomes (O2) as a new project partner. Ocean Outcomes’ mission is to improve the sustainability of commercial fishing by teaming up with fisheries to implement science-based improvements to management, supply chain policy, and other business practices. Working on the ground in fisheries in Japan, Russia, and the Pacific Northwest, O2 is dedicated to educating commercial fisheries in the tangible economic benefits of instituting sustainability measures industry-wide.

Ocean Outcomes have implemented several successful projects prior to joining T4CI, from protecting wild salmon with the help of one of the world’s largest chum fishery to fighting salmon poaching in eastern Russia. O2’s vision of a world with healthy aquatic ecosystems, a plentiful and profitable wild seafood supply, and thriving fishing communities is something we can all aspire to help create and T4CI is excited to partner with O2 to help accomplish that.

Learn more about Ocean Outcomes:

TCI welcomes the nationally recognized “Animal Welfare Approved” program

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The  Trust for Conservation Innovation (TCI)  and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) are pleased to announce that the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) program has officially become a program of TCI’s “A Greener World” project, effective November 1, 2014.

“Promoting high welfare, animal-sensitive standards of animal husbandry in farming is a major objective of the Animal Welfare Institute,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “As an organization with a long history pioneering standards for high-welfare farming practices, AWI developed the Animal Welfare Approved program, establishing standards predicated on the principle of fitting the farming system to the animals, rather than the animal to the system.  The program has since flourished. Today, Animal Welfare Approved has come to be the most highly regarded food label in the nation in terms of animal welfare, with an increasing number of farmers, exceptionally high standards that are continually evolving, and a growing team of well-trained, knowledgeable staff and consultants.”

TCI is a nationally recognized nonprofit that incubates and accelerates program capacity for initiatives that conserve, protect and sustain a resilient world. TCI’s portfolio includes projects in sustainable food and agriculture systems, wildlife conservation, energy efficiency and urban infrastructure, marine and fisheries conservation, and conservation technology. Serving as an umbrella organization, TCI provides a cost-effective, shared administrative backbone that includes comprehensive human resources and financial management, insurance and risk management, grants administration, fundraising support, and fiduciary oversight.

AWA will continue its groundbreaking work in auditing and certifying farms according to the highest welfare and sustainability standards as part of TCI’s “A Greener World” project.  “A Greener World” seeks to define and support sustainable agriculture in the broadest sense, educating today’s consumers about the environmental and social outcomes of their food purchasing decisions, and using robust and trusted farm certification to help reconnect food producers and consumers. As part of “A Greener World,” AWA will build on its success in certification and educational outreach, while expanding to offer even more resources to farmers and consumers. AWI will remain an important ally of the project and will have representation on the AWA Advisory Board, which provides oversight for the program’s standards and operations. 

“This is an exciting time for the AWA program and our community of famers,” said Andrew Gunther, program director of AWA. “TCI will provide us with essential financial, administrative, and legal support, allowing us to focus our energies on what we do best. As we explore new areas of growth for our certification program, we look forward to continued collaboration with AWI. We are grateful for the stewardship provided by AWI over the past eight years, and for the encouragement they are giving us as we enter the next phase of our growth plan.”

The Animal Welfare Approved logo is a trademark of the Animal Welfare Institute and is licensed to the Trust for Conservation Innovation for the exclusive use of the Animal Welfare Approved program, a program of A Greener World.

Food Commons Fresno is recruiting local talent

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Opportunities Immediately Available

The Food Commons Fresno project is launching a vertically integrated, community-owned and operated enterprise to produce and deliver locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents in the Fresno region. The project is the first prototype of the Food Commons initiative, which is bringing national resources and expertise to bear on the creation in Fresno of an innovative, values-based model for operating, financing, ownership and governance of regional food production assets and infrastructure.

We are currently seeking independent contractors to fill the roles described below beginning immediately. Continue reading

Welcome, Sane Energy Project!

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TCI is excited to welcome Sane Energy Project to our growing portfolio of projects.  Based in New York, Sane Energy Project works to encourage a rapid transition to renewable energy and zero fossil fuel dependence.  Sane’s education and action initiatives focus around five main issues: (1) the threats to New York State from encroaching shale gas infrastructure, (2) the danger that fracking poses to our foodshed, (3) the danger of radon in shale gas, (4) sustainable options for boiler conversions, and (4) the true feasibility of converting to renewable energy as the only sane energy future.

Learn more about Sane Energy Project.

Welcome, East Bali Watershed Initiative!

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It’s our pleasure to welcome East Bali Watershed Initiative to our growing portfolio of projects.  Indonesia’s 17,000 islands face tough decisions on how to provide basic services to inhabitants without irreparably damaging its rich natural resources and biological diversity.   East Bali Watershed Initiative is working to protect, restore and support environmentally sustainable economic development in East Bali.

Learn more about the East Bali Watershed Initiative.

Learning More About The Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative

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steve-schwartzBringing Disparate Religious Congregations Together Over a (Locally/Sustainably Grown) Meal: An interview with Steve Schwartz, Executive Director, Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative

How do you accomplish such an ambitious mission?

We help people start community gardens, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture farms) relationships with local farms, and we help people who are working on these types of food system projects network with other congregations. For instance, there is a Lutheran church in Santa Rosa who is interested in learning about how to support local food – there might not be a Lutheran congregation in the same area, but there might be a local Buddhist or Jewish congregation that is doing something similar and can help. Our first conference was in April with 25 congregations represented, including Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists. Continue reading