Tidewater Current





Original Content & Curated News Featuring Sustainable Endeavors in Coastal Virginia & beyond.

Food Safety & Sustainibility:

Embedded content at the bottom of this page includes regularly updated collections of insightful news and info about local farm markets and distribution networks.

Learn more about the Ghost Pot Partnership in this Virginia Institute of Marine Science Video

$20+ Million benefit from Ghost Pot Removal in the Chesapeake Bay

New research conducted by VIMS scientists is featured in Scientific Reports from the publisher of Nature. In the study, Donna Bilkovic and Kirk Havens estimate economic benefits to the tune of $20+ million dollars resulting from an innovative program to retrieve some of the crab pots that are lost every year in the Bay. In a multiyear program, crabbers were employed to locate and retrieve derelict pots during seasonal closures of the fishery. Up to 20% of pots are thought to be lost annually (which continue to trap both intended on non-intended species). According to Havens, “the crabbers removed 34,408 derelict crab pots during the program’s 6-year run. At the same time, harvests and gear efficiency were observed to increase dramatically." By removing 9% of lost gear, the authors surmise that harvests increased by 27%. Bilkovic notes, "crabbers harvested about 60 million more crabs due to the ghost-pot removals.” This translates into an additional $21.3 million generated for a program that cost just over $4 million.


Winter Farm Market

Looking for local produce and goods this winter? The Shore Drive Farm Market is open every Saturday. Located at 2947 Shore Drive, you can find vendors like Cullipher Farms, Full Quiver Farm, Pendulum Meats, Mannino's Italian Bistro, Lynnhaven Coffee featuring Old Church Creamery's Milk & Yogurts. Gateaux Bakery, J. Glynn Winters Photography, J. Micheal Jewelry, and Rusty Cottage.

Urban Agriculture


Image: Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Garden 2013/C. Brighton

According to Dorothy McAuliffe, "seventeen percent of all Virginians live in food deserts. At the Commonwealth's second annual Urban Agriculture Summit held in October, Virginia's fist lady noted that "local agricultural economic development opportunities are crucial" to create better food access. At the event, solutions like portable hydroponic gardens and roof-top farming were discussed. Ben Flanner, president of the largest soil based rooftop farm in the US, talked about his experience at the Brooklyn Grange. The NYC farm grows more than 50,000 pounds of produce annually. Ben Greene also participated in the event sharing his vision of highly productive shipping container systems. He designed the Farmery, a production and retail location in one that will be opening early this year in downtown Durham, NC. By growing and selling in the same spot, shipping, packaging and handling costs are eliminated. The hybrid container greenhouse facility will also host a cafe. Collaborating with Greene, Williamson Greenhouses has launched the "Cropbox," a shipable garden with a small 320 sq. ft. footprint that yields as much produce as an acres worth of land. Compared to conventional greenhouse production, the customizable hydroponic system uses 90% less water, 80% less fertilizer and no pesticides. The boxes also stack for greater production and the growing system can be managed from a tablet or smart phone. Watch this CropBox YouTube video.

Farmery pic

Image: The Farmery, Durham, NC

cropbox pic

Image: Williamson Greenhouses - Cropbox loading for delivery to remote Canada






A honey bee, with pollen attached to its hind leg, pollinating a watermelon flower. (Photo by Stephen Ausmus/USDA)

Pollinator Protection

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is participating in a national strategy to restore pollinator populations. Stakeholder listening sessions will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday February 22, 2016 in Suffolk and Wednesday, February 24, 1016 on the Eastern Shore. More Info.

20216 Beekeepers Introductory Class - February 20, 27 & March 5, 2016 from 8 AM to 2:00 PM

Learn sustainable beekeeping with an emphasis on chemical-free practices from the experts over three consecutive Saturdays.  An optional fourth Saturday open hive demonstration in the bee yard and equipment assembly demonstration is included. 

Topics include: Beekeeping Equipment for the bees and the beekeeper, Honey Bee Biology, the Colony & Getting Started, Honey Bee Pests & Diseases - Their Prevention and Control, Seasonal Hive Management, Beekeeping Best Management Practices and Honey Production and Other Hive Products. More Information.


New Soil Health Institute Established

Improved soil health is necessary to support food security,carbon sequestration and ‪‎climate equilibrium. A new Soil Health Institute is being established in Research Triangle Park, NC. The institute will work with farmers, researchers, policy-makers, industry, environmental groups and consumers to share information, collaborate on research, and develop public policy around soil health. More Info.

Polyfaces English from RegrariansMedia on Vimeo.

Cultivating Carbon Away

10.5.15 - A very simple solution to skyrocketing carbon levels could be right beneath our feet in the land. As agricultural productivity is threatened by climate change, it turns out modern farming practices are contributing to the problem. Thanks to industrial farming methods, a lot of carbon has been displaced. By rebuilding soils through sustainable farming practices, carbon balance can be restored. The rise of the organic food business is already supporting this trend. With increased demand for organic produce and meat, there's a growing groundswell of support for sustainable food production and regenerative agriculture. One proponent of carbon farming is none other than Joel Salatin of Swoope, Virginia. Read more about regenerative agriculture at Polyface Farm.

spring_hill_salmonNew Sources of Seafood Cropping Up: Aquaculture Ventures from the Mountains to Offshore

To alleviate harvest pressure on wild stocks and reduce pollution and contamination resulting from intensive coastal farm operations, sustainable aquaculture enterprises are emerging in some surprising places. From the mountains to the open ocean, ventures like a land based sea bass farm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a salmon farm in West Virginia and a Siberian sturgeon/caviar operation in the Blue Ridge mountains are explored. Read the Feature Story.

picFighting Fishy Activity in the Seafood Industry

2.2.15 - With Asian crab meat marketed as American, seafood fraud is an issue that hits close to home. Product traceability not only ensures quality and protects the interests of US fishermen, it prevents pirate activity and overfishing. In addition to dredging up complex global fishery concerns, many innovative solutions are explored. Read the Feature Story.


Monterey Bay Seafood Watch App

Updated app available for download

Whether you're at the seafood counter or the sushi bar, this app can help you make an informed decision about your meal. It can also help you locate businesses where others have found sustainable seafood. Free, up-to-date seafood recommendations searchable by common market names and access to in-depth conservation notes and reports are at your fingertips.


Global Fishing Watch is an online platform to track the activity of fishing vessels

SkyTruth, a watchdog organization, is keeping an eye on the oceans from their mountain based headquarters in West Virginia. With little oversight on the seas, illegal fishing is unfortunately rampant. By watching fishing patterns observable from satellite data, suspicious activity is monitored and reported. Read more about watching the Sea from the Stars in The Stars Come Out for the Ocean.


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