Community College Hort Professor Prepares Students to Work in Indoor Greenhouses of the Future

Students in Professor Valerie Loew's Horticulture class at Fullerton College in Orange County, CA. Photo courtesy of Fullerton College.

Students in Professor Valerie Loew’s Horticulture class at Fullerton College in Orange County, CA. Photo courtesy of Fullerton College.

When it comes to Controlled Environment Agriculture [CEA], Valerie Loew wants the U.S. to catch up with Europe and China before it’s too late.

“The rest of the world is so far ahead of us, because they are so limited with their own resources,” says Loew, who is professor and horticulture department head at Fullerton College in Southern California. “They are taking advantage of this technology way before us because we have sunshine and we have water; but we really don’t. Between Europe and China, the amount of greenhouses they have is just off the charts. We need to start catching up.” Read more

An Indoor Farm and Urban Ag Center in the Middle of a Food Desert – Q&A with Duron Chavis

Aeroponic towers and hydroponic growing systems being used at Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center. (Photo courtesy of Duron Chavis)

Aeroponic towers and hydroponic growing systems being used at Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center. (Photo courtesy of Duron Chavis)

In the economically depressed and food insecure City of Petersburg, VA, a former YMCA building long neglected, but not forgotten, has become a beacon of growing hope in the community. Over the past two years the building has been refurbished and transformed into a high tech indoor farm and urban agriculture research center to provide workforce development training and increase food access through the production and distribution of high quality, fresh produce to area residents.

The center known as Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center is run by Duron Chavis, a community advocate and Indoor Farm Director at Virginia State University – College of Agriculture. Seedstock recently spoke to Chavis to learn more about the origin of Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center and its indoor farm, its goal, the sustainable methods employed in the indoor farm’s operation, and more.    Read more

Urban Farming Startup Sees Opportunity in Aeroponic Tower to Increase Local Food Production in New Orleans

Image Credit: VertiFarms

Image Credit: VertiFarms

Fresh produce in New Orleans usually arrives from places like California or Florida. One company wants to change that.

Vertifarms began providing aeroponic farms for New Orleans food businesses in 2011, when company co-founders Doug Jacobs and Kevin Morgan-Rothschild began partnering with Florida-based FutureGrowing to bring aeroponic tower systems to restaurants, markets, grocery stores, and non-profit organizations that want to grow their own local crops.

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Seedstock to Cohost Nevada’s First Indoor Agriculture Conference to in Las Vegas on April 24

Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development Takes Steps to Help Move Forward Governor’s ‘Grown in Nevada’ Program

(Las Vegas) — The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Seedstock, a social venture dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable agriculture, have announced they will co-host the first Nevada Indoor Agriculture Conference on April 24 in Las Vegas.  The University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Desert Research Institute are also key participants in the event.

The conference, designed to offer practical advice to those interested in growing food indoors on a commercial scale, will address various aspects of this increasingly popular farming choice as it relates to Nevada’s desert environment. Read more

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

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

Aquaponics Skeptic Turned Believer Hopes to Bring Growing Method to Homes and Urban Areas Across America

Photo: Courtesy of Sylvia Bernstein

In an emerging field like aquaponics, there are few who can call themselves experts. Sylvia Bernstein is one who can. In addition to authoring Aquaponic Gardening: A Step by Step Guide to Growing Fish and Vegetables Together, which has been in Amazon’s top ten gardening books since it came out in October, she is the founder and current vice chairman of the Aquaponics Association and the president and founder of The Aquaponic Source. The Aquaponic Source is a resource for everything aquaponics, from systems and supplies to information, tips, fish and an online community. Read more

Innovation and Business Savvy Define Alabama-based High Tech Farm’s First Year

Flat Rock, Ala (population: 4,000) recently became home to an innovative hydroponic-based farm that plans to spread their method of growing sustainable, local produce across the state, and possibly further.

Flat Rock Growing Company (FRGC) is the product of collaboration between former social worker Tommy Wood and Blake Peek. “Most people think having a psychology degree doesn’t really make sense for a farmer,” says Wood. “But after spending five years as a social worker I was able to see things from a community standpoint. I was able to see how things fit together and when the idea of a farm came up, I knew this was my chance to write some wrongs.” Read more

Sustainable Ag Startup Sees Aeroponic Technology as Key to Re-integrating Agriculture into Urban Environs

Eating locally within a hundred mile radius is certainly an impressive feat. But imagine the convenience of picking fresh produce from a farm that’s only a hundred feet away, or even ten, while still living in a crowded city.

The Waters Wheel, a Los Angeles-based company, aims to do just that by bringing the farm to your doorstep or rooftop by using aeroponic tower farms – recirculating systems that use clean recycled water in place of soil to grow food. Read more

Vertical Farming Startups Seek Profit by Bringing Sustainable Agriculture to Cities

It’s Vertical Farming day over at Seedstock and we’re celebrating with a digest that features stories on a number of vertical urban agriculture startups that have the potential to play an outsize role in furthering the goals of sustainable agriculture.  Enjoy your reads!

Rooftop Farm Couples Science with Sustainability

Finding fresh, high-quality produce in Montreal is a challenge. The long and winding road that produce typically travels from farm to market in this city means that it must be harvested far before it’s ripe in order to survive long shipping distances. The downfalls of the current supply chain – heavy fuel use, food safety risks, and the lack of personal connection between farmer and consumer – inspired Mohamed Hage, president and founder of Lufa Farms, to develop a model urban farm that would provide local, sustainable food to city dwellers.

Growing a Million Heads of Lettuce on a Pin

Vertical Agriculture System

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™.

Home Town Organic Farm Goes Vertical in the City

Vertical Organic Urban Farming System

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 the vertical urban farming industry, Home Town Farms plans to build one-half to three-acre greenhouses on the rooftops, abandoned lots, and corners of urban areas in densely populated U.S. cities.

TerraSphere Systems: Sustainable Vertical Farming is a Reality 

Vertical Farm System

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.

AeroFarms: Urban Agriculture Aeroponic Systems

AeroFarms systems do not require vast swaths of arable land to grow food.  They can be placed in refurbished industrial buildings and stacked vertically, one on top of another reaching up to 60 times the footprint in annual production. Seedstock recently spoke with Ed Harwood, CEO of AeroFarms, whose company has created an aeroponic growing system (a controlled environment agriculture system that grows produce without soil and without sun, all year round and in any location) with the potential to revolutionize and jumpstart the nascent urban agriculture movement and help to sustainably meet the food needs of a growing world.

Greenhouses in the Sky, Oh My

Creating something out of nothing. Isn’t that the magic of farming? Taking things that don’t seem to mean much by themselves – dirt and seeds and water – and creating sustenance. Lately, skyfarmers like those at Sky Vegetables are trying to do that with even less. They’re taking the soil and even some of the water out of the equation, and substituting in an underused resource – roofs. In doing so, they hope to create value, jobs and local produce where before there was nothing.

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Seedstock Digest: Hydroponic Greenhouses Atop Super Markets, An Aeroponic System in a Grade School Classroom, Rooftop Aquaponics and more!

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! Read more