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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture

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Hydroponics

5 Farms Pushing the Boundaries of Indoor Agriculture

October 23, 2014 |
Bright Farms Courtesy of Bright Farms

Bright Farms
Courtesy of Bright Farms

Indoor farms are the new and innovative way to grow greens. Modern indoor farms are quite large and filled with state-of-the-art technologies – they aren’t the tiny greenhouses of yesteryear.

We’ve rounded up five, indoor farms to give you a taste of what some of the most innovative growing organizations are producing.

1. Bright Farms 

Bright Farms has built its state-of-the-art farming facilities in seven cities. Bright Farms specializes in creating farms that conserve land and water. The Farms also are designed to “eliminate agricultural runoff” and to “reduce greenhouse gas emission from transportation.” Bright Farms has partnered with CropKing (specialists in controlled environment agriculture), Hort Americas (provides products to greenhouse growers), NetSuite (software company), and Nexus Greenhouse Systems (produces affordable greenhouse structures) to ensure it produces top-notch facilities Read More

Cityblooms’ Automated Hydroponic Micro-farm Grows Nutritious Produce on Plantronics Company Campus

September 30, 2014 |

CITYBLOOMS conference seedstockSANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Plantronics Inc. (NYSE: PLT) is pioneering the use of on-site food production to boost employee nutrition as part of the company’s global commitment to sustainability.  Through a joint project with Santa Cruz-based Cityblooms, a prototype computer-automated farm has been installed at the Plantronics headquarters and is being powered by the company’s existing solar energy system.

The hydroponic micro-farm produces bi-weekly harvests of premium leafy greens and vegetables for the on-site cafe operated by Bon Appetit Management Company, a national leader in socially and environmentally responsible food service. “By locating these micro-farms close to the point of consumption, we measure farm-to-fork distances in yards, rather than miles,” said Nick Halmos, Cityblooms founder. “We eliminate the financial and environmental costs associated with food waste and food transportation.” Read More

Take the Seedstock Hydroponic Growers Survey Now!

September 18, 2014 |

hydroponic survey pictureAre you an indoor grower utilizing a hydroponic, aquaponic or aeroponic growing system?

If so, you should really take our survey. It will take you about 5 MINUTES and for your efforts we will provide you with a with a complimentary summary of the aggregated results. The information that you submit will be anonymized. 

Survey Link: http://bit.ly/1rg7IEZ

Seedstock is in the process of conducting a survey to obtain information and data from existing growers about the Indoor Agriculture sector inclusive of hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic growing operations and more.
Read More

Seedstock 3rd Annual Sustainable Ag Innovation Conference Packs Punch with Stellar Slate of Expert Speakers

September 16, 2014 |
speakers seedstock conference

Top Row (left to right): Clare Fox, Los Angeles Food Policy Council; A.G. Kawamura, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Nurit Katz, UCLA Sustainability. Bottom row (left to right): Michel Algazi, Freshology and Food Centricity; Sasha Kanno, Long Beach Local and Farm Lot 59; Rickey Smith, Urban Green.

Local food policy, urban agriculture strategy, and business model innovation are just a sample of the informative fare to be served up at the 3rd Annual Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference – “Reintegrating Ag: Local Food Systems and the Future of Cities.”

The comprehensive, expert-rich program, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, November 11-12, at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, will focus on the economic, environmental and community benefits that result from the development of a robust local food infrastructure. Participants from local food policy experts and urban agriculture entrepreneurs to investors and thought leaders in the sustainable agriculture industry will explore new approaches to strengthen the marketplace for local food and foster the revitalization of urban areas by embracing innovation in sustainable agriculture. Read More

Radicle Farm’s Aggregated Network of Hydroponic Greenhouses Offer Living Salads to Locavores

September 10, 2014 |
postradicleCU

Photo courtesy of Radicle Farm

Named after the first root to appear from a seed, Radicle Farm Company of New Jersey is rethinking the sustainable leafy greens concept. Through an aggregated network of local hydroponic farms, Radicle offers its living salad products to the wholesale and retail market.

“We want to be large,” says Christopher Washington, Managing Director of the company that started in 2013. “All the research that we’ve done has indicated that the consumer wants to support local product; it’s not really groundbreaking. What is groundbreaking is that companies that get the most traction are private brands in agriculture.”  Read More

11 Urban Rooftop Farms Feeding America from Above

September 4, 2014 |
Lufa Farms rooftop greenhouse in Montreal is seen from overhead. Photo courtesy of Lufa Farms photo)

Lufa Farms rooftop greenhouse in Montreal as seen from above. Photo courtesy of Lufa Farms photo

As urban populations grow and the demand for local food rises, agricultural innovators see opportunity atop the roofs of city buildings. Much of this space is devoted to outdoor gardens, but rooftop greenhouses are also sprouting up in cities with cold climates.

Some are large structures used for commercial purposes, some are owned by restaurants, some assist in feeding the needy, and some are used for educational purposes. But all have one thing in common—they enable growers to grow food year-round in urban settings. Read More

Can Local, Urban Agriculture Scale? Chicago Hydroponics Farm Says ‘Yes’

September 3, 2014 |
Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Photo courtesy of Urban Till

Sustainable growing methods are part of the very fiber of Urban Till’s operations, but the Chicago-based hydroponics farm isn’t an outgrowth of the organic food movement. In fact, it actually has roots in the traditional food industry.

Founder Brock Leach comes from a background in food distribution. Before starting Urban Till with his friend, hydroponics expert Todd Williamson, he worked as manager of continuous improvement over at Martin Brower, a multinational company that provides supply chain management services to restaurants operators around the globe. Watching the increasing costs of moving edible goods along the supply line, he came to the conclusion that local production of food could be profitable, if it was done right. Read More

Rochester, Minnesota Aquaponic Startup Takes Farm-to-Fork to a Whole New Level

August 21, 2014 |
Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

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. Read More