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June 2013

Other News

Robo-Wheelchair Climbs Stairs

"Wheels are the most efficient way to get around, but they can't take you everywhere. This new robotic wheelchair designed in Japan can go almost anywhere, however--it can swivel its axles up and down to climb up stairs, onto curbs or over obstacles." Popular Science

Farming Helps Bring Peace to Veteran

"When Burt Haugen returned to the U.S. after 13 months in Vietnam, he expected to put his memories of combat behind him and go to college. But the memories did not fade, and he was unable to concentrate on his studies. At the same time, his father was having health problems, so he pitched in at the family dairy .... He credited two things with helping him deal with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome -- the hard work of dairying and the connections he has made with fellow Vietnam vets." Capital Press

Food Safety Savvy for Small-Scale Farmers

"Paul Vossen, University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor, says that small scale farmers are very interested in food safety regulations, and specifically, ‘how is this going to affect me?’ Vossen teaches core common sense methods to reduce the potential for food safety problems in produce, which are defined in what he calls the four Ws: water, wildlife, waste and workers. He also suggests that growers have a means by which products leaving their farm can be traced. 'As long as you’re going to do all of these things, you might as well document it,' said Vossen. 'You can become self-certified, then become certified by a third-party auditor.'" Country Folks Grower

Vertical 'Pinkhouses:' The Future Of Urban Farming?

"The idea of vertical farming is all the rage right now. Architects and engineers have come up with spectacular concepts for lofty buildings that could function as urban food centers of the future. 'The idea of taking a skyscraper and turning it into a vertical farming complex is absolutely ridiculous from an energy perspective,' says horticulturist Cary Mitchell of Purdue University, who's been working on ways to grow plants in space for more than 20 years. The future of vertical farming, Mitchell thinks, lies not in city skyscrapers, but rather in large warehouses located in the suburbs, where real estate and electricity are cheaper." New York Now