Sustainable Agriculture Startup Profiles
Students at St. Philip’s Academy, an independent K-8 school in Newark, NJ grow their own salad greens. They use an aeroponic growing system installed in a fourth-floor classroom in which they plant, harvest and package such leafy greens as Chinese lettuce, arugula and komatsuna for delivery to their cafeteria. “It’s kind of amazing – it doesn’t get more local than this,” said Frank Mentesana, a St. Philip’s Teacher and Program Facilitator.
St. Philip’s aeroponic growing system is part of a pilot project being managed and run by an urban farming startup called EcoVeggies to trial a growing system developed by AeroFarms
Mike Yohay, CEO of San Francisco-based urban agriculture startup Cityscape Farms, was raised in Brooklyn, NY where he grew up with almost no knowledge of where his food came from or how it was grown. This all changed for Yohay when he went off to study at Grinnel College in Iowa. There he saw firsthand the pollution and topsoil erosion caused by large-scale agribusiness operations. He was also troubled by the fact that despite its rich soil, Iowa exported most of the food that it produced and imported most of the food that it consumed. Yohay also worked in Costa Rica’s La Amistad rainforest, where he participated in low-impact organic farming that supported a local community.
(updated 04/11/12) As the push to “go green” in urban architecture has intensified over the past decade, so-called green roofs and green walls have gained in popularity. These vegetation-covered walls and roofs can reduce cooling costs, mitigate air pollution and add beauty to the neighborhood.
But the promise of green walls goes beyond just looking cool and staying cool. Green Living Technologies International, LLC (GLTi) is exploring how these architectural innovations might actually meet our growing need for food and inspire a new wave of urban sustainable agriculture.
Chances are, if you’ve ever looked into aquaponic systems, the sustainable food production systems that combine aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crustaceans, or crayfish in a controlled environment) with hydroponics (soilless plant cultivation in water), you have probably heard of Nelson and Pade, Inc.
Nelson and Pade, Inc. is literally synonymous with aquaponics. Try googling the term ‘aquaponics,’ or better yet, enter http://www.aquaponics.com/ into your browser, and there you will find the company. It has owned the url since 1996.
The idea for TerraSphere Systems’ vertical farming technology all started with a few marijuana plants.
In fact, Nick Brusatore, Co-Founder and Inventor of TerraSphere Systems, began developing his unique hydroponic technology system for medical marijuana cultivation in Canada (Canada began offering medical marijuana to eligible patients in 2003).
After working with their hydroponic technology for a while, Brusatore and his partner William Gildea began to think about population growth and quickly perceived the wider agricultural marketplace opportunities for their product to address future food shortages.