Pablo Alvarez and Craig Petten are Toronto natives with a combined 40 years of experience in the food industry. By starting a new aquaponic farm in their home city, the co-founders hope to both increase Toronto’s food stability and increase people’s connection with their food.
Alvarez and Petten first discovered aquaponics during their time at Humber College, where they majored in Sustainable Energy and Building Technology. After 20 years working in the hospitality industry in Toronto, the pair founded Aqua Greens. As Petten explains, their work in hospitality allowed them to see first hand the lack of connection between food and its source.
Going a Step Beyond Farm-to-Table, SF Restaurant Slings Aquaponic Fare Along with a Hefty Helping of SustainabilityFebruary 11, 2015 | Trish Popovitch
Established restaurateurs Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint have a penchant for accountability in the food industry. Their latest offering, The Perennial, is set to open this spring. It will provide tech district office workers with a lesson in sustainability as well as a locally grown lunch.
“It’s really important to us that our restaurants are not purely business concerns but also work on building community,” says Leibowitz, who has opened several restaurants with her husband including ‘Mission Chinese Food’ and now ‘The Perennial.’
“In 2012, we had a daughter and that got us thinking more seriously about the future. We started to think about ways the restaurant industry could positively engage with environmental issues,” says Leibowitz. “What would happen if we made a restaurant that brought together all of the best practices with regard to the environment and were really transparent with all our success and our failures and shared that with other restaurant owners and consumers?”
Aaron Flora has worked on creating farms with Renewable Farms for years, but he just recently embarked on his biggest project to date, with the help of a Kickstarter campaign: a mega-aquaponics farm for the city of Anaheim, California that will double as a community training center.
Seedstock recently interviewed Flora and asked him about how Renewable Farms made the Anaheim project happen, how the mega farm will remain sustainable and what he hopes this farm will achieve in the future.
How can a cold, Midwestern state grow organic produce all year, while also providing fresh fish to the local community? Those are the questions Justin Long, co-founder and CEO, and Jason Fry, co-founder, asked themselves before founding Blue Lotus Aquaponics in November 2013.
Before creating their company, Long and Fry did their research by traveling to a few Midwestern states and visiting places where people were experimenting with aquaculture techniques.
Long wanted to dabble in aquaponics because of its sustainable, high-yield nature. And Fry’s family background in commercial farming in northern Indiana helped him to flesh out the company’s overall concept.
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UrbanFarmers is on a mission to bring commercial-grade urban farming to consumers hungry for fresh locally-grown produce, and it’s doing so from the rooftops.
Based in Zürich, Switzerland, the company offers a brand of rooftop-based and modular growing systems to client businesses. It does so using aquaponics, a technology that combines plants and aquatic life forms into a harmonious recirculating habitat.
“At present, UF operates the only commercial aquaponic food production system in the EU,” Urban Farmers’ Director of Business Development Tom Zöllner tells Seedstock. “Although there are numerous initiatives and projects in almost every city, almost all of them are socially driven community-based, small-scale projects. We are not aware of anyone else that has been able to implement a large-scale, high-tech aquaponic system that sells year round into a major retailer.”
Kettering University and Metro Community Development in Flint, Michigan, are working together to build an aquaponics farm that could eventually feed area neighborhoods.
Metro Community Development first approached Kettering University to help research and plan the potential aquaponics facility, says Dr. Matthew Sanders, professor and director of the Center for Culminating Undergraduate Experiences at Kettering University.
Many restaurants boast a farm-to-fork experience, but how many diners are able to eat food harvested right before it arrives on their table? Fresh with Edge, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, makes it possible.
Fresh with Edge has found its niche in moving the farm indoors―to homes, restaurants and grocery stores. Its secret? Removing the need for soil by utilizing aquaponics and hydroponics to grow greens on towers. Herbs and greens at Fresh with Edge grow on 5-foot vertical towers in a greenhouse system. When ready to harvest, the towers are moved to a location where they will be consumed, such as a supermarket or restaurant.
Founder Chris Lukenbill and his wife, Lisa, came up with the idea of Fresh with Edge in 2011. Their idea grew from a desire to know where their food came from. Neither Chris nor Lisa was raised on a farm, but both have a strong base of agricultural knowledge, gleaned from aunts and uncles. Both work in computer science, and used this skill to establish a successful aquaponics enterprise.