Urban Farming (urbanfarming.org), the organization that uses abandoned city lots to grow food for the hungry, was conceived when singer Taja Sevelle, a protégé discovered by Prince, moved to Detroit to record an album for Sony Records. She was devastated by the struggles of the city’s poor, already in the throes of the recession. The food banks couldn’t keep food on the shelves and were appealing for donations. She also noticed that as people fled the city there were more and more empty lots.
The word ‘sustainable’ tends to get thrown around in the marketplace, which can be confusing to consumers who want to make conscientious food choices. That’s not the case when it comes to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Through their farmers market, education and outreach programs, and framework of sustainable best practices, they’re helping set the standards for what the word can and should mean.
CUESA’s mission is to cultivate a sustainable food system by educating urban consumers and creating connections between them and local producers. Since 1999, CUESA has managed the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, a successful thrice-weekly market that requires its vendors to meet strict guidelines.
Dan Gibbs, CEO of San Diego, CA-based vertical organic farming startup Home Town Farms, doesn’t believe he’s introducing a new company, but an entire industry that will benefit consumers, the environment and the future of sustainable agriculture.
“Urban farming isn’t new, vertical farming isn’t new, but vertical urban farming is new,” said Gibbs.
To grow one million heads of lettuce using conventional agriculture methods in the US requires either 16 acres of land in the Northern states, 8 acres of land in the Southern states, or .9 acres in a traditional hydroponic greenhouse operation. Vancouver-based Valcent Products Inc. (OTCBB: VCTZF) claims that it can beat those numbers handily and produce the same amount of lettuce sustainably on just .16 acres with its patented hydroponic vertical growing system, VertiCrop™.
Seedstock Digest: Hydroponic Greenhouses Atop Super Markets, An Aeroponic System in a Grade School Classroom, Rooftop Aquaponics and more!June 16, 2011 | Robert Puro
It’s Urban ‘Ponic Wednesday at Seedstock and that means we are featuring articles that we wrote on urban agriculture startups that are making use of hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic systems. So check them out and get your ‘Ponic on!