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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Abbie Stutzer

Pennsylvania Farming Startup Grows Business by Trial and Error

February 28, 2014 |
Landon Jefferies catches a break in the shade at Root Mass Farm. Photo credit: Albert Yee

Landon catches a break in the shade. Photo credit: Albert Yee

Landon Jefferies knew he wanted to pursue farming as a career, but the options in the city were limited.

So after spending a year working farmers’ markets for The Food Trust, a Philadelphia organization that works to ensure access to affordable, nutritious food and information, and three seasons as the manager of Wyck Home Farm, a Philadelphia historic home, garden and farm, he and partner Lindsey Shapiro set about launching Root Mass Farm in rural Berks County, Pennsylvania in the summer of 2011.

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Montreal Hydroponic Farm Raises Rooftops With Produce

February 19, 2014 |
Lufa Farms’ second greenhouse is in Laval, Quebec, which opened August 2013. The greenhouse houses tomatoes and eggplants.

Lufa Farms’ second greenhouse, located in Laval, Quebec, opened August 2013. The greenhouse houses tomatoes and eggplants. Photo credit:
Lufa Farms

When room to farm in a city is scarce, look up.

Montreal-based Lufa Farms built Canada’s first commercial hydroponic urban rooftop greenhouse in 2011. In the late summer of 2013, Lufa opened a second, larger rooftop greenhouse in Laval, Quebec.

Although Lufa always intended to add another greenhouse to its operation once the 2011 site opened, the company wanted to observe how the first project did first, says Lauren Rathmell, greenhouse director and founding member.

“The goal was to have by the end of our first year of production 1,000 subscribers, which is about what our first site can support by itself,” she says. “The trajectory from there was to have a goal of having 3,500 subscribers by the end of 2013.”  Read More

Planning App Takes Guesswork Out of Small-Scale Urban Gardening

January 8, 2014 |
Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

Jeremy Dore was banking on the idea that everyone can use a little help when it comes to planning next year’s garden when he came up with the idea for the Garden Planner app.

The idea for the app was sparked when he and his family started growing more of their own food in 2005. Read More

A Family Affair: Living Water Farms Brings Hydroponic Produce to Illinois

November 12, 2013 |
Image Credit: Living Water Farms

Image Credit: Living Water Farms

Living Water Farms in Strawn, Illinois is a family affair. Denise Kilgus established the hydroponic farm with her husband Kevin and their daughter and son-in-law, Natalie and Mark Schneider, in April of 2008.

Before the Kilguses founded the farm, the couple had practiced large-scale gardening for over 28 years in central Illinois. When the family started gardening, they grew only enough food for themselves. But as the years went by, they began growing on a larger scale and founded The Stewards of the Land, LLC, a local organization to help promote sustainably grown, local produce in Chicago.

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Rooftop Garden at McCormick Place Supplies Fresh Produce and Jobs to Chicago

October 31, 2013 |
Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden

Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden

As the largest “farm-to-fork” rooftop garden in the region, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s McCormick Place West Rooftop Garden has garnered quite a following in Chicago and across the Midwest since it was planted in late June. The gardening project was started to bring attention to local sustainable agriculture and to create jobs for people in the community.

SAVOR…Chicago, McCormick Place’s food service provider and funder, uses the fresh produce grown at McCormick Place for its restaurant and catering operations.

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