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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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greenhouse production

Industry Leaders Set to Present at Nevada Indoor Agriculture Conference May 14-15, 2014

March 20, 2014 |

Presenting subjects ranging from window farming to food security and lighting systems, the Indoor Agriculture Conference features two full days of education on controlled environment technologies, aero/hydro/aquaponic best practices and business models, automated nutrient systems, future trends, and financing options … Read More

Hydroponic Farm Grows Summer Tomatoes and a Sustainable Work Force Through Long Maine Winters

March 11, 2014 |
Photo Credit: Backyard Farms

Photo Credit: Backyard Farms

One thing most people can agree on: pale supermarket tomatoes do not taste like the tomatoes grown in the backyard in summer. That’s why Backyard Farms strives to produce fruit so delicious that it tastes like it was just plucked from the backyard garden—even during a long Maine winter.

According to Tim Cunnis, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Backyard Farms, the company formed in 2006 to provide a more local alternative to mediocre tomatoes trucked in from thousands of miles away. Read More

New York Nonprofit Builds On-site Greenhouses in City Schools

March 3, 2014 |
An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects. Credit: Ari Burling

An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects.
Credit: Ari Burling

NY Sun Works, a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools, partnered with a small group of parents at PS 333, The Manhattan School for Children, to found The Greenhouse Project Initiative in 2008.

“Through our Greenhouse Project Initiative, we use hydroponic farming technology to educate and teachers about the science of sustainability,” says Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works director and director of education programs.

The Greenhouse Project was founded because parents and educators within New York City’s K-8 public school system were concerned about what they perceived to be shortcomings in the systems’ environmental science program. 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

Beylik Family Farms’ Embrace of Hydroponics Proves Out-of-Box Thinking Can Sustain Multi-Generational Farm

September 5, 2013 |
Photo Credit: Beylik Family Farms

Photo Credit: Beylik Family Farms

Beylik Family Farms has proved that out-of-the-box thinking on agriculture can be rewarded with a multi-generational business model – one that keeps the family on the farm without even getting their hands dirty.

“Back in 1971, hydroponics were not a proven technology,” current family farmer Scott Beylik said. “We are light years away now from how we started out. And we get better yields than ever.”

Beylik’s dad was an aerospace engineer and his grandfather was a plant biology teacher at Culver City High School back in the early 70s when they got an idea to work for themselves. Grandpa Beylik researched growing hydroponically in an industry that couldn’t imagine year-round greenhouse production with no dirt involved. Read More

Circle Fresh Farms Ties Network of Hydroponic Farms Together to Grow Local Food Movement in Colorado

August 20, 2013 |

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Circle Fresh Farms, in Colorado, likes to say they were born from a vision of founder Buck Adams based around sustainability, local foods and greenhouse farms, which pretty much describes the seven-year-old company.

But that amiable description leaves out the extended version, which illustrates Circle Fresh’s efforts to transform an industry towards more locally produced foods, in ways that sustain and restore the health of the land and local communities, with a business model that increases opportunities for participants, while benefiting local retail stores. Read More

Armed with a Trowel, VSAT Program Aids Veterans in Launching Sustainable Startups

May 30, 2013 |

“We believe the next wars are going to be over food and water. So who better to train than our military in water conservation and food production?” – Karen Archipley

Archis+Acres+LogoReturning military often find themselves struggling to return to normality after serving overseas. Colin Archipley, co-owner of Archi’s Acres in Escondido, CA knows exactly how they feel. He served three tours of duty during the Iraq War that began in 2003. Between his second and third deployment, Colin, along with his wife Karen, bought an inefficiently run avocado farm. Besides starting their own very successful living basil hydroponics farm on the site, the empathetic couple created an incubator for transitioning veterans. What they created became known as the Veterans Sustainable Agriculture Training or VSAT program, a way to help veterans train for self-employment in the peaceful profession of hydroponic farming. Read More

Waste Reuse, Health and Nutrient Density Core to Arizona-based Aquaponic Operation

May 20, 2013 |
Mark Rhine and Marlo Ibanez, co-owners of Rhibafarms. Photo Credit: Rhibafarms.

Mark Rhine and Marlo Ibanez, co-owners of Rhibafarms. Photo Credit: Rhibafarms.

Five years ago Mark Rhine and his business partner Marlo Ibanez, co-owners of Rhibafarms, had a broadband company in Phoenix, Arizona. They fielded a $225,000 a month payroll, traveled constantly and ate junk food only as an afterthought. Then they cashed in their company, bought a farm – Rhibafarms – and saw their health turn 180 degrees.

“We both lost a ton of weight, lowered our blood pressure and cholesterol and stopped taking medication,” Rhine said. “All because we started eating the organic food we grow. So all we want to grow now is very nutrient-dense food.” Read More