Collaboration vs. Competition for Economic Growth - Lots of talk about the economy focuses on how individual businesses compete. Generalizing from the situation of individual businesses, public officials who are responsible for the overall growth of their local economy also often talk about competition. Making their cities “competitive in the world economy” or enabling their “residents to compete" are frequent phrases you hear. MORE

Modern but Still Countryside - In 1884 Van Gogh depicted the potato farmers of the southern Netherlands turning soil by hand. Today, things are different. Dutch farmers are still growing potatoes, and there is still open land. But the people in and around the small city of Eersel are creating a new kind of rural – the modern countryside. MORE

Why the World's Salad Bowl Wants to go High Tech - If you’re eating a salad for lunch today, there’s a good chance it came from California’s Salinas Valley, the rich agricultural area an hour’s drive south of Silicon Valley where more than two-thirds nation’s leafy greens are produced. There’s also a decent chance it got to your plate with the help of a robot. MORE

On Smaller Farms, Including Organic Farms, Technology and Tradition Meet - I spent yesterday morning at a remarkable meeting of young farmers meshing tradition and technology to sustain healthy soils and produce bountiful crops in a changing economy and climate. They had gathered for a “pre conference” ahead of the seventh Young Farmers Conference hosted by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in the lower Hudson Valley the rest of this week. A recurring theme was that the best way to sustain America’s smaller farms, both organic and conventional, is through an intensified focus on technology. MORE

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