Atlanta Startup Brings Hyperlocal Hydroponics Across the Globe

Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

Matt Liotta- Founder Liotta stands in front of the custom built hydroponics systems featuring a proprietary LED light feature. All images courtesy of PodPonics.

“The reality is that there is just less water available for agriculture than there’s ever been. As you look to the future, the amount of food production that’s needed and the amount of water we’ll have to do it, is going to require that we grow the food with less water than we do today.”–Matt Liotta, PodPonics

Selling their tubs of mixed greens wholesale to major retailers such as Krogers, Whole Foods and The Fresh Market, PodPonics has become a name to know in the world of commercial-scale hydroponic produce. Read more

Austin, Texas Aquaponics Farm Ramps Up with Modular Shipping Container System

Jack Waite harvests at Aqua Dulce Farms. Photo courtesy of Aqua Dulce Farms.

Jack Waite harvests at Aqua Dulce Farms. Photo courtesy of Aqua Dulce Farms.

Jack Waite, founder of Agua Dulce Farm in Austin, Texas, is truly is a jack-of-all-trades.

By combining his varied background in accounting, engineering, botany and nonprofit management, he has realized his dream of running an aquaponics farm. In recent weeks, this interesting startup reached full operational capacity. Along the way, the farm’s journey has been tested with challenges and sprinkled with luck.

After looking everywhere inside Austin’s city limits for a potential facility, Waite was fortunate enough to find a friend who had a friend who had an unused three-acre farm in the city limits. The owner wanted to contribute to the sustainable ag movement but wasn’t able to do it personally. Waite entered into a very reasonable 30-year lease and began turning the land into a viable aquaponics farm. Read more

Beyond Freight: Startup Transforms Shipping Container into Turnkey Solution for Hydroponic Farming

LocalSprout’s Freight Farm located in downtown San Antonio. Photo Credit: Mitch Hagney

LocalSprout’s Freight Farm located in downtown San Antonio. Photo Credit: Mitch Hagney

Mitch Hagney is Chief Executive Officer of LocalSprout, a hydroponic farm based in San Antonio, Texas. 

When a hydroponic farm grows a head of lettuce, the story doesn’t start with a seed.

Every part of the environment has to be provided for the seeds before they germinate, including everything that nature usually gives away for free.

To make a plant’s conditions ideal, the farmer must also be a plumber, an electrician, an engineer, and a chemist. Even those growers with lots of experience often lack the construction expertise that building a hydroponic farm requires, so they turn to those whose sole business is building.

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Basil Grown Year Round in Alaska? Yes, and It’s Happening in A Shipping Container

basil from green winter farmWhat does a sustainable-minded farmer grow in Alaska where the average mean temperature is less than 30 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year? If you are Christopher and Crystal Boze at Green Winter Farms of Palmer, Alaska (about 45 minutes north of Anchorage), the answer would be basil – grown in a 40-foot-long shipping container and a 500-square-foot metal building called “the Space Station.”

“Normally, the earliest outside planting date around here is May 31st,” Crystal Boze said. “And by mid-September, everything’s gone or frozen.”

Boze and her husband quit their day jobs and launched Green Winter Farms three years ago. Their hydroponic system, set up in less than 1000 square feet of growing space, and warmed with LED grow lights, is astonishingly fertile – their yield of about 1.7 pounds per square foot of basil provides 14 local grocery stores, seasonal farmers markets and one local restaurant year-round with fresh basil. Read more

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

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

Boston-based Startup Freight Farms Aims to Reduce Food Miles in Used Shipping Containers

Nearly three years ago, Jon Friedman and Brad McNamara left their careers in marketing to research the pressing issue of food miles, or the distance food is transported from the time of its production until it reaches the consumer. “It seemed crazy that we were shipping in lettuce from California. We figured there had to be a better way,” said Friedman. To address this issue, Friedman and McNamara launched Boston-based Freight Farms, a company that aims to convert used shipping containers into modular, portable crop production units toward the end of transforming urban surroundings into a sustainable food source, increasing access to fresh local food in any environment, and creating local economies. Read more

Startup Profile: PodPonics Gives Rise to Sustainable Lettuce Enterprise In Used Shipping Containers

For Atlanta, GA-based startup, PodPonics, lettuce is everything. More than 12 chefs in the area have gone on record to say PodPonics’ greens are the best they’ve ever tasted, said Dan Backhaus, the company’s sales and marketing strategist.

“For them to get excited, you have to have pretty darn good lettuce,” he said.

PodPonics’ lettuce, by the way, is grown inside of used shipping containers that are converted into modular controlled-environment growth pods. The pods contain a proprietary growing system that combines hydroponics, advanced LED lighting, irrigation and nutrient technology with process control. Read more