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How This Pandemic-Proof Online Farmers Market Can Promote Sustainable Farming

How This Pandemic-Proof Online Farmers Market Can Promote Sustainable Farming

One of Americans’ favorite weekend pastimes, shopping at the local farmers market, was among the multitude of activities destroyed by Covid-19. Farmers, of course, were most affected, as many saw considerable revenue losses. But consumers lost something, too. 

We lost knowing where our food comes from,” says Gunnar Dinkla, a precision agronomist at agronomic services company Advanced Agrilytics. “Grocery stores are still an option but the personal connection with farmers got eliminated.”

Dinkla, along with teammates Kennedy Papian, a visual designer at Corteva Agriscience, and Gabriel Popoola, a postdoctoral appointee at Sandia National Laboratories, set out to solve this problem at the Forbes Under 30 Agtech+ Hackathon this past weekend. The group was tasked with discovering how farmers could achieve both sustainability and profitability through regenerative agriculture, which, in turn, could help restore the health of America’s soil.

Thus, Marketplace was born. The team proposed building an online platform to connect sustainable farmers with equally like-minded sustainable consumers. Their website would function first and foremost as an online farmers market, where consumers could search for local produce or meat in their areas and be connected to farmers who are selling their products. Much like in-person markets, farmers would pay a vendor fee for access to Marketplace.

If I’m a consumer and I want strawberries that are organically grown and the farmer uses this certain sustainable practice, I could search that and find that that farmer is 27 miles away,” Dinkla says.

It would also operate as a social networking site, much like LinkedIn, Papian says. Farmers could connect with fellow farmers to share sustainable farming tips and tricks, as well as interact with consumers to answer questions about their products and farming practices. 

“If a farmer has a surplus of tomatoes one week, he could put it

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Nobel Peace Prize Underscores The Need For Sustainable Market Solutions To Global Hunger

Nobel Peace Prize Underscores The Need For Sustainable Market Solutions To Global Hunger

Today, the Nobel Committee bestowed this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on the World Food Programme, citing its herculean efforts to combat hunger, especially in war-torn areas. In doing so, the Committee stated that it “wishes to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.”

As COVID-19 threatens to push 132 million more people into extreme hunger (and has already pushed 100 million people into its corollary, extreme poverty), it’s more critical than ever to invest in sustainable market solutions that strengthen rural livelihoods. So let’s turn our eyes toward smallholder farmers, then come back to the role of small business and entrepreneurship. First, some numbers:

  • Two billion people—26% of the global population—experienced hunger or food insecurity in 2019, with 690 million of them facing chronic hunger. Worse yet, this number has been rising over the last five years.
  • 75% of the world’s hungry are smallholder farmers and their families, despite the fact that they produce a significant amount of the world’s food.

Smallholder farmers—particularly in sub-Saharan Africa—are the face of hunger. But let’s be clear: The problem is not that there isn’t enough food to nourish everyone; the problem is that too many can’t afford to put food on the table. Global action to reverse this trend and get back on track for the UN’s 2030 “zero hunger” target must therefore have rural livelihoods at its center.

To build sustainable livelihoods, smallholder farmers need at least three things: access to reliable incomes, resources to invest in the growth and health of their farms, and support to tackle livelihood shocks like COVID-19 or climate change. But the typical smallholder farmer lives hundreds of miles from accessible markets, leaving them with few choices but to sell their crops

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New Florida Bank to Support Sustainable Businesses, Solar Panels

New Florida Bank to Support Sustainable Businesses, Solar Panels

(Bloomberg) — A new community bank in central Florida will lend to businesses committed to sustainability and consumers trying to make their homes more eco-friendly, in an effort to tap into millennials’ concern about climate change.



a view of the net: Newly installed solar panels sit on the roof of an apartment block operated by Gesobau AG in the Pankow district of Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. Germanys energy transition strategy, the Energiewende, has brought about a dramatic shift over the last decade in the nations power supply.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
Newly installed solar panels sit on the roof of an apartment block operated by Gesobau AG in the Pankow district of Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. Germanys energy transition strategy, the Energiewende, has brought about a dramatic shift over the last decade in the nations power supply.

Climate First Bank, which plans to open its doors in St. Petersburg next year, will seek to expand to other parts of Florida and to cities such as Austin, Texas, founder Ken LaRoe said. The bank will offer interest-rate discounts for sustainable projects such as LEED-certified building construction, and dedicated loan options for home solar panels or energy-saving retrofits.

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There’s a void for such financing as large banks pay lip service to environmental concerns without changing their practices, LaRoe said. He called announcements by bigger rivals “lots of greenwashing.”

“Millennials vote with their pocketbooks, and they care about climate change,” LaRoe said in an interview.

U.S. banks have trailed European rivals in committing to environmental goals. When Europe’s largest banks signed onto a framework of climate targets for lending portfolios, they weren’t joined by major U.S. lenders. Yet U.S. banks have also signaled they’ll move to set similar targets as they come under pressure to cease financing the fossil-fuel industry. JPMorgan Chase & Co. said this week it plans to set such goals next year, to be achieved by 2030.



a view of the net: Newly installed solar panels sit on the roof of an apartment block operated by Gesobau AG in the Pankow district of Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. Germanys energy transition strategy, the Energiewende, has brought about a dramatic shift over the last decade in the nations power supply.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
Newly installed solar panels sit on the roof of an apartment block operated by Gesobau AG in the Pankow district of Berlin, Germany, on Monday, Sept. 28,

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