A Day at the Aquidneck Growers’ Market

Video by Growing Organics RI

MIDDLETOWN,R.I._ In two weeks the Aquidneck Growers’ market will be moving outdoors to accommodate more vendors and larger crowds. Currently the market is being each Saturday morning throughout the winter at Newport Vineyards offering a variety of vendors.

Aquidneck Growers’ market provides a place for vendors with a variety of different foods to come and sell their products. Pat’s Pastured and Aquidneck Farms bring high-quality pasture raised meats and were two of the biggest sellers, bringing a large quantity of product to the market. Not far behind was The Local Catch, bringing seafood caught directly from Rhode Island or Southern Massachusetts water for distribution directly at the market.

Produce accounts for 43 percent of all organic food sales in our country, and with three different produce vendors at the market you can see why. 16 vendors at the Aquidneck Growers’ Market throughout the winter are from Rhode Island, with one vendor coming from Westport, Massachusetts.

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The vineyard offered its own products to market goers, allowing tastings outside and selling full bottles inside. Market goers were all very friendly and you felt a local atmosphere inside. Each vendor knew exactly where the product was grown and felt a personal pride in presenting it at the market, something that is not available at your local grocery store. The local food movement is expanding, Aquidneck Growers’ Market will look to continue its success as it moves outside at the winery and Wednesday’s in Newport to accommodate a larger market.

Newport Vineyards Celebrates, Twenty Years of Excellence

Video via Bottles Providence

MIDDLETOWN, R.I._ Newport Vineyards, the largest grower of wine grapes in New England has been producing wine from their winery in Middletown for twenty years. Brother’s John and Paul Nunes began planting grapes at the location in 2002, and opened the doors in 2004. The brand was initially established in 1995, but the location was purchased later.

When visiting the winery John Nunes spoke about the importance of preserving the land that his family has owned for so long.

“We,ve been able to preserve over 80 acres of farm land that has been in my family since 1917,” said Nunes.

“I think people want to know where their food and wine come from. Its important to our customers, so it is important to us.”

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Photo by Chris Carnese

Nunes has stressed the importance of not only local wine, but also local food. Hosting the Aquidneck Grower’s market at his indoor facility throughout the winter since opening his winery, 20 years ago.

The attention to detail and care that the Nunes brothers show to preservation of their land and vineyards is paying dividends. In 2008, the Newport Vineyards Riesling wine won best in show, beating out 458 wines at the Jefferson Cup Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition. The vineyard currently uses 75 percent French Oak barrels, with plans to increase above 80 percent French Oak barrels in the future. Newport Vineyards hosts private and public events at the winery, including tours and tasting. An upbeat environment that offers customers a local wine that they can be confident in buying, Newport Vineyards and the Nunes brother will be present in Middletown for many years to come.

Robert Quinn Looks for Help In Expanding Scholars at Risk

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Photo By Chris Wade

BRISTOL, R.I._ As the Executive director of Scholars at Risk, Robert Quinn is looking to expand awareness about his organization. The first place that Roger Williams digital journalism student’s identified as a weakness, was the organization and Quinn’s social media presence.

Scholars at Risk removes scholars from areas of high risk, and provides them with a “sanctuary” in another location until the area of unrest or situation is resolved. Many people in the academic community would jump at the opportunity to help scholars, but the problem is many people are unaware of the organization.

Scholars at Risk on twitter has under just over 700 followers and lacks an interactive social media experience. In order to keep followers interested in what you are saying, you need to show interest in their work.

The organizations website has a few videos, but according to Quinn they cannot share all the stories of scholars that they have assisted due to concerns that families in the troubled areas may be harmed. Speaking at Universities is the easiest way for Quinn to reach scholars and educators in the same setting, but traveling across the country is not practical.

Video Via Tunisia Live

Quinn could create interactive videos featuring stories from scholars willing to speak compiled into the same setting. Creating the videos would be cost-effective, while pushing a compelling message across to interested parties.

Quinn and Scholars at Risk have the potential to change the lives of many. Getting the word in the public is the organizations biggest hurdle. Using some simple suggestions from Roger Williams students, Quinn can bolster his social media presence and reach more people, as he admitted was a problem of his. Bolstering his digital presence on the website will allow people that view his website to gain knowledge of the mission of Scholars at Risk without simple staring at text.

Best Natural Market in Rhode Island, The Green Grocer

Video by Chris Wade

PORTSMOUTH, R.I._ Voted the best natural market in Rhode Island, The Green Grocer located in Portsmouth takes pride in providing consumers with organic and local products at the market. In the store you can find many products from the vendors at the local farmer’s markets on the shelves.

After serving four years in the Army and a tour in Desert Storm, owner John Wood returned with Gulf War Syndrome. Following a Doctor’s suggestion Wood eliminated many of his environmental toxins and began introducing a high vitamin and mineral diet. With motivation to join the local food scene, John Wood opened The Green Grocer to attest to what diet changes had done for him.

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Photo via Chris Carnese Flickr

According to a USDA report, organic food sales totaled $28.4 billion in 2012 and will reach an estimated $35 billion in 2014. As consumers continue to monitor what they consume daily, and turn to healthier diets, numbers have risen. Even with the steady increase in organic food consumption, organic food only accounts for 4 percent of total food sales. As the most affordable option, produce accounts for 43 percent of organic food sales.

The Organic food trend is expected to continue in the coming years, with the market projected to grow 14 percent from 2013-2018. Due to the health concerns surrounding processed foods and diabetes, markets like The Green Grocer will continue to see expansion in the near future.

Monsanto Vice President Attends Food Sustainability Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C._ Michael Frank, the Vice President of Monsanto a company that uses a controversial Genetically Modified seed to grow their products, sat down at the Planet Forward Summit for an interview with founder and host of the conference Frank Sesno. The two went back and forth while many in the crowd felt that some of the important questions remained unanswered.

Responding to a questions regarding the “super weed,” a weed that would become resistant to pesticides, Michael Frank felt some pushback from a student in the crowd. The student felt that his question had been dodged by Frank and he sought an answer. Frank responded by saying that he “cannot answer all the questions” due to a time restraint.

Televisions at the summit showing the Planet Forward twitter feed were sent into a buzz throughout the segment. Many people across the country feel that genetically modifying the makeup of seed, as Monsanto does, is unethical. The company has been known to sue farmers for having traces of the Monsanto seed on their land, forcing many local farms to close down.

Interviewing at a conference where many of the people would be against you prior to speaking was a move to change the minds of the crowd. Michael Frank brought up points that it has not been through scientific testing that GMO crops have a negative impact on the health of consumers. Immediately a tweet panned onto the screen from someone in the crowd stating that this was due to the fact that Monsanto commissions their own testing means on the products.

Monsanto will continue to face pushback for the practices that the company uses, even if it is found to be safe. Many consumers feel that genetically modifying a product is unnatural and wrong, putting local farms in jeopardy. As we continue to expand our population, research into GMO and non-GMO options to feed our planet will continue.

Planet Forward Summit Looks At Innovations for the Future

Via Planet Forward Youtube

WASHINGTON, D.C._ A two-day feeding the planet summit brought together students from over 20 Universities across the country to discuss food and innovation at George Washington University. Students submitted video and written submissions showing work that they had produced to a Storyfest competition and a shot at a $500 cash prize and a chance to travel to Italy with Planet Forward’s creator and host Frank Sesno.

Two winners would be selected , one winner from host George Washington University, and another winner selected from the remaining submissions. Students were told to research, and find sustainable options for the future of food. Options that can not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also help feed the estimated 9 billion people that will be living on earth.

Chris Policinski, the President and CEO of Land O’Lakes spoke at lunch and believes that we need to use all our options to feed the planet, Genetically Modified Organism’s and non-GMO’s alike.  Many of the conference attendees believe that turning to GMO’s is not the answer that we should be searching for, but rather making the most of the land that we have available.

Student submissions focused upon using what we currently consider waste as fuel or compost for farms. One farm that attended the summit, Fair Oaks Farm uses cow and pig waste to fuel the farms entire operation. Anaerobic digesters at the farm transform waste into fuel that will provide for the farm and all of the delivery trucks that it owns. The digester captures all the methane from the manure, saving it from the environment and putting it to work on the family dairy farm.

Pat’s Pastured, To GO!

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Photo via Chris Carnese Flickr

MIDDLETOWN, R.I._ Each Saturday morning at the Aquidneck Grower’s market, Pat’s Pastured is offering customers a taste of their high-quality meats. Bringing a mobile grill to the market each Saturday brings the grass-fed and free-range difference directly to the customers at the market. After the customer’s taste a breakfast sandwich outside, they can head into the market and purchase the same products that they have just sampled.

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Photo via Chris Carnese Flickr

At the mobile grill Pat’s Pastured offers breakfast sandwiches made fresh to order, with each product sold for retail inside. Priced at eight dollars a sandwich you may feel cheated as a customer, until you taste the difference. Pat’s Pastured has been running business on Briggs-Boesch farm in East Greenwich, Rhode Island since 2002. Allowing animals to naturally graze the fields, and eat the products that they have been accustomed to eating, makes an enormous difference in the product.

Switching to grass-fed beef, instead of eating beef that is corn-fed saves 17,333 calories per year, in addition to numerous health benefits. Animals are meant to graze naturally, and eat grass out of the field. Pat’s Pastured company slogan says it all.

“Pasture raised, free-range, and grass-fed goodness from Li’l Rhody”

Pat’s Pastured attends the Aquidneck Grower’s market weekly selling their products made to order or inside out off coolers to customers. Similar to Aquidneck Farm, they offer a store on site at the farm selling their product. Instead of stating that their product is better than the competitions, they support one another. As the two suppliers of grass-fed beef in Rhode Island, they both advocate for the grass-fed difference and praise the product that one another brings to the market each week.