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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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agriculture startup

A Head of Lettuce from 1,000 Miles Away, or a Sack of Greens from the Vertical Urban Farm Across Town?

January 2, 2013 |

Photo: FarmedHere

In a perfect world of competitive business, twenty-first century startups have some high hurdles to overcome: the ideal is to offer a product that is beneficial for the consumer, leaves a negligible carbon footprint, has a sustainable operating model and contributes socially and economically to the community at large.

FarmedHere might be the poster boy for such a business.

The two-year-old startup grows salad greens, herbs and fish in a multi-stack, vertical agriculture setup, using aquaponic and aeroponic cultivation methods in an abandoned industrial warehouse about seven miles from downtown Chicago. Read More

Abandoned Lot Turned Urban Farm in Philadelphia Brings Fresh Food to Where Its Needed

December 11, 2012 |

The nursery at Greensgrow Farms. Photo: Greensgrow Farms.

Fifteen years ago, before the modern urban agriculture movement really got going, Mary Seton Corboy and Tom Sereduk found themselves in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, starting a farm in the abandoned lot of a former galvanized steel plant. When they began looking for a property for their farm in 1997, they soon realized that what was mostly available was rundown industrial space. They ran with it.

When they first discovered the property, it was abandoned space; now it is the site of Greensgrow Farms, an initiative of the Greensgrow Philadelphia Project, which helps to develop green businesses, while filling abandoned spaces and revitalizing its neighborhood. “We are structured as a non-profit organization. Greensgrow Farms is our major project, and here we run a nursery, farm stand and CSA throughout the year. Our non-profit arm looks at ways to bring fresh produce into underserved neighborhoods, with the hope of eventually creating small businesses,” says Mary Seton Corboy, founder and Chief Farm Hand at Greensgrow Farms. Read More

Vegetables in the Sky; Startup to Bring Year-Round Hydroponic Production to Urban Rooftops

December 10, 2012 |

Although the Swartz family has been farming for three generations, Joe Swartz’s Sky Vegetables in Amherst is very different from the typical farm of his father and grandfather.

When his grandparents, John and Anastasia Swartz immigrated to the United States from Poland, they settled on a 40-acre homestead where they raised dairy cows, tobacco, onions, vegetables, and five children. Their sons, Walter and John Swartz took over the farm and expanded production to 300 acres of rented land in Amherst and surrounding towns. Read More

Hydroponic Urban Ag Startup Seeks to Create Scalable, Sustainable and Affordable Model to Feed Cities

December 4, 2012 |

Cityblooms Microgreens. Photo Credit: Cityblooms

Cityblooms is a food revolution waiting to happen. The Santa Cruz startup is now developing a comprehensive system to grow hydroponic microgreens on a commercial scale, but it came from humble beginnings.

The company was founded in 2001 by Nicholas Halmos, then an undergrad at Brown University. He was working on a junior year entrepreneurial project, when he and his friends decided to experiment with hydroponically grown tomatoes, and a light bulb turned on.

“I have been into urban agriculture longer than most,” Halmos said. “Even though I never particularly had a green thumb and we had no idea what we were doing.”

He started by buying a tomato plant at Home Depot, washing off the soil and encouraging hydroponic growth in a setup in his bathroom. The plant exploded with fecundity and Halmos began having dreams of feeding an urban nation. Read More

Fledgling Sustainable Farm Operation in Temecula, CA Seeks to Raise Free Range Broilers Right

November 13, 2012 |

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” – Hippocrates

Photo: Primal Pastures

To that nugget of wisdom, Paul Greive of Primal Pastures likes to add: “If food is your medicine, then farmers are your doctors.” Greive and his extended family own and operate a small farm in Temecula, California that raises organically-fed chickens that are so “free-range,” the young farmers haul their chickens to greener pastures regularly, allowing their jumbo-sized broilers to roam, peck and scratch over generous plots of constantly renewed grassland on their five-acre farm.

It’s part of their goal to provide the healthiest meat poultry available in Southern California – food that they feel good about providing their children and (eventual) grandchildren. Read More