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.
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.
Growing Power, Inc., a non-profit urban sustainable agriculture organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been awarded $425,000 to erect 150 hoop house gardens on vacant lots in the city of Milwaukee. Hoop houses are inexpensive greenhouses constructed using a plastic roof that is wrapped over flexible PVC piping. Growing Power has promised to match the $425,000 contribution from the City of Milwaukee’s Common Council with its own funds. Growing Power’s hoop house initiative called “Growing Capacity for the Green Economy” will create 150 new jobs over the next 3 years in the emerging field of urban sustainable agriculture for unemployed residents in Milwaukee. The initial phase of the project will focus on hiring around 20 people to construct the hoop houses.