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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Marianne Peters

Aquaponics Entrepreneur Establishes Facilities in St. Paul, Minnesota; Markets Inventions Globally

January 30, 2014 |
Dave Roeser, President of Garden Fresh Farms Photo Credit: Karin Martinson/Studio Caswell, Minneapolis

Dave Roeser, President of Garden Fresh Farms
Photo Credit: Karin Martinson/Studio Caswell, Minneapolis

In 2010, Dave Roeser sold his two businesses, leaving him with an empty warehouse in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Along with his wife and son, he created Garden Fresh Farms, transforming his building into a profitable and innovative aquaponic operation.

The company’s indoor farm produces rainbow trout, tilapia, herbs, and greens for its own CSA as well as area colleges, corporate dining facilities, restaurants, and grocery stores. Roeser has also begun to market his patented equipment and agricultural techniques to growers as far away as Japan and Siberia.

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South Carolina First-generation Hydroponics Farmer Learns By Doing

January 27, 2014 |
Tyger River sells at local farmers' market. Photo by Ryan Oates

Tyger River sells at local farmers’ market.
Photo by Ryan Oates

Sometimes what appears to be a detour ends up being the right road all along.

Ryan Oates owns Tyger River Smart Farm, a hydroponic farm in Duncan, South Carolina. He grows a variety of lettuces, chard, kale, and basil in his 28 x 45-foot greenhouse that he sells to farmers markets, restaurants, and retailers. New to the industry and a first-generation farmer, Oates harvested his first crop in 2013.

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From Four Acres Under Glass to 400, Two Brothers Turn Risky Hydroponic Venture into Sustainable Success

January 9, 2014 |
Photo Credit:Wayne St. Denis

Gianni Mucci (left) and Bert Mucci proudly display Mucci Farm’s hydroponic tomatoes.
Photo Credit: John Regnier

Shortly after immigrating to Ontario, Canada from Italy in 1961, brothers Tony and Gino Mucci planted their first vegetable crop on rented land. In 1969, they built a wood frame greenhouse, and in 1975, they put four acres of crops under glass—a risky venture during a time of high-mortgage rates, as well as high fuel and labor costs.

The investment paid off. Today, Mucci Farms continues to make investments in its profitable business, especially in the area of sustainability.

Located near Kingsville, Ontario, Mucci Farms is still family-owned and operated, growing and marketing 400-acres of hydroponic non-GMO produce across North America. Read More

Oregon Farm Grows Organic Chestnuts for Roasting o’er an Open Fire

December 23, 2013 |
Dried Chestnuts Image Credit: Ladd Hill Farms

Dried Chestnuts
Image Credit: Ladd Hill Farms

This time of year, the airwaves fill with the soothing voice of Nat King Cole crooning about chestnuts.

Though this seasonal treat is not as common as it used to be when you could buy a handful from a sidewalk vendor or pick a bowlful from your own native tree, it is still possible to find fresh chestnuts to roast, boil, broil, or tuck into casseroles. Ben and Sandy Bole have owned Ladd Hill Orchards since 1988.

When they purchased it, the property was a neglected walnut orchard sixteen miles south of Read More

Seeds of Tomorrow Project Brings Fresh Produce and Ag Education to Remote Guatemalan Town

December 17, 2013 |
Image Credit: Seeds of Tomorrow Project

Image Credit: Seeds of Tomorrow Project

When Casey Houweling traveled to Tactic, Guatemala in the summer of 2012, he saw firsthand the poverty, illiteracy, and hunger faced by the people in a country torn by decades of civil war. Houweling, President and CEO of Houweling’s Tomatoes, made the trip at the behest of his daughter Rebecca, a nursing student who had served there alongside the staff at a school run by Impact Ministries.

Rebecca was convinced that Houweling’s Tomatoes had the resources to help improve life for Tactic’s residents. Houweling had his doubts, however. Read More