Urban agriculture ventures of all different stripes – from commercial hydroponic enterprises and rooftop aeroponic farms to community gardens planted atop formerly vacant lots – are not only disrupting the food system, but also generating community and economic capital.
To give you an up close and personal look at a series of innovative urban farming operations that have emerged to tackle challenges to food access, meet marketplace demand for local food, and increase food security, Seedstock has put together the ‘Future of Food – Urban Ag Field Trip’.
Scheduled for Friday, January 27, 2017, the field trip will look at the impact of urban farming in Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, and include lectures on such topics as the past, present, and future of urban agriculture, vertical farming, and sourcing local food from urban farms.
City of Atlanta to Host Inaugural ‘Aglanta Conference: Where Growing Opportunity Meets Thriving Community’December 9, 2016 | seedstock
ATLANTA – The Aglanta Conference is a gathering to showcase urban and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) innovation in the City of Atlanta. The City of Atlanta has partnered with Blue Planet Consulting to bring together restaurateurs, grocers, architects, entrepreneurs, technologists, business owners, and urban farmers for this premium networking and knowledge sharing opportunity. Our goal is to foster Atlanta’s growth as a central hub in the nation’s $9 billion a year indoor farming industry.
The Aglanta Conference will be an intimate and invaluable environment for participants to engage with a local, national, and international audience. Through workshops, lectures, and networking sessions, the conference will cover issues across the spectrum of urban agriculture business models and technologies, with a particular focus on the emerging field of vertical/indoor farming. We will spotlight local champions already doing incredible work growing food as means of ecological restoration, social cohesion, cultural preservation, economic development, and biopharmaceutical development.
Arizona Urban Farming Startup Embraces Aquaponics to Increase Access to Healthy Food
BY VANESSA CACERES
Merchant’s Garden operates a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse; that utilizes an aquaponics system to grow lettuce, various other leafy greens, basils, …
It is believed to be a world first: a fully functioning greenhouse on wheels that plugs in much like an RV and that could offer up solutions to some of urban farming’s biggest challenges. The mobile greenhouse prototype, which goes by the name GrOwING GREEN, was born of a collaboration between architecture students at Ball State University and Butler University’s Center for Urban Ecology (CUE). It has already been recognized by the American Institute of Architects with a state award for excellence in architecture.
Timothy Gray, a professor of Architecture at Ball State, whose fourth year students designed and constructed the mobile greenhouse, points out that the mobility aspect opens up a world of possibilities, including the idea of bringing the farm to the people. As stated on their website, the prototype, “lends itself to the shifting and temporal nature of the urban farm.”
Farmers need to be good at a little bit of everything—from growing and marketing to strategic planning. Chaz Shelton of Merchant’s Garden in Tucson, Arizona, approaches farming from a slightly different angle. He earned his MBA at Indiana University-Bloomington and is using that broad business knowledge to manage his hydroponic and aquaponics operation with co-founder Bill Shriver.
Shelton’s interest in farming began more out of an interest in public health. While working with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in Pennsylvania several years ago, he often saw how poor eating led to adverse health outcomes. He solidified his idea that instead of shipping food from faraway farms into urban environments, he could bring farming into the city.
That led two years ago to the formation of Merchant’s Garden, an urban farming enterprise whose mission, according to the company website, is to “make fresh food accessible and affordable to everyone using the science of aquaponics and hydroponics.” The farm was started with the help of investors and the business accelerator organization Startup Tucson. It launched just as Shelton was finishing up his MBA.