But when it comes to the economy, especially growing global trade, we often hear of great distinctions between city and countryside. Indeed, it is often assumed that most of any country’s economy can be attributed to its cities and public policy follows that assumption.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.
Farming fresh produce has always been a high-precision, labor-intensive operation compared to crops like corn and wheat. But faced with the declining availability of farm labor and a growing demand for sustainable and healthier fresh produce, agricultural producers in the Salinas Valley are working to rely less on people and more on technology. And, perhaps counterintuitively, the city of Salinas is doing its best to help them.Read more
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.Read more
Intelligent Community Forum and the Mississippi State University Extension Service Create a New Global Institute to Aid Rural Community Development
(Mississippi State and New York City, USA – December 3, 2014) – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) today announced a partnership with the Mississippi State University Extension Service (MSUES) to create a new global Institute to help rural communities thrive in the digital age.Read more
Will big data kill the small farm or save it?
An article in Monday’s New York Times profiles a farmer in Indiana, who is loaded with the latest information technology-rich agricultural gear. His sensors and large-scale data analysis, he told me, increases his return on investment by 50 percent, compared with conventional farming.Read more
Kip Tom, a seventh-generation family farmer, harvests the staples of modern agriculture: seed corn, feed corn, soybeans and data.
“I’m hooked on a drug of information and productivity,” he said, sitting in an office filled with computer screens and a whiteboard covered with schematics and plans for his farm’s computer network.Read more