SUNSET® Adds Ohio Greenhouse to Local Program

News Release — Kingsville, ON — Mastronardi Produce and Golden Fresh Farms, located in Wapakoneta, Ohio, are pleased to announce an exclusive agreement between the two companies to bring Mastronardi’s SUNSET® brand produce to more consumers throughout the US. This will be the 5th state that the SUNSET® brand will be grown locally in, allowing the company to reach over 75% of the United States population, delivering a local flavorful fruit in less than a 10-hour drive.

“Luis Chibante is a fantastic grower and operator. I’ve known him for years,” stated Mastronardi Produce President and CEO Paul Mastronardi. “His passion and expertise in growing will enable both of us to expand the Ohio footprint together.”

Ohio Proud allows loyal consumers to choose great tasting products that help support their local communities and ensures freshness.

“I’m excited to join Paul and the SUNSET® team with our new crop starting this fall,” shared Luis Chibante, President and owner of Golden Fresh Farms. “Mastronardi is the best growing and marketing company in the greenhouse industry, and this will give us the opportunity we need to expand the next 15 acres.”

Currently the greenhouse grows approximately 20 acres of tomatoes year-round with advanced supplemental lighting.

Urban Aquaponic Farmer and Chef Orange County Adam Navidi

Profile: Urban Aquaponic Farmer and Chef Adam Navidi Redefines Local Food in Orange County

Heads of lettuce gain their sustenance through aquaponics channels at Future Foods Farms in Brea. Photo courtesy Barbie Wheatley/Future Foods Farms.

Heads of lettuce gain their sustenance through aquaponics channels at Future Foods Farms in Brea. Photo courtesy Barbie Wheatley/Future Foods Farms.

In a county named for its former abundance of orange groves, chef and farmer Adam Navidi is on the forefront of redefining local food and agriculture through his restaurant, farm, and catering business.

Navidi is executive chef of Oceans & Earth restaurant in Yorba Linda, runs Chef Adam Navidi Catering and operates Future Foods Farms in Brea, an organic aquaponic farm that comprises 25 acres and several greenhouses.

Navidi’s road to farming was shaped by one of his mentors, the late legendary chef Jean-Louis Palladin.

“Palladin said chefs would be known for their relationships with farmers,” Navidi says. Read more

Indiana Hydroponic Farm Grows People and Produce

A group of clients is pictured inside the Growing Opportunities greenhouse. Through working in the hydroponic greenhouse over the course of 20 weeks, the low-income and/or disabled clients gain skills and confidence to enter the work world. (photo courtesy Nicole Wooten/Growing Opportunities)

A group of clients is pictured inside the Growing Opportunities greenhouse. Through working in the hydroponic greenhouse over the course of 20 weeks, the low-income and/or disabled clients gain skills and confidence to enter the work world. (Photo courtesy Nicole Wooten/Growing Opportunities)

Growing Opportunities, an urban farm in Bloomington, Indiana, puts disabled, low-income and unemployed/underemployed adults to work in its hydroponic greenhouse. As a result, it’s producing bumper crops of people with newfound confidence and skills.

A project of Bloomington’s South Central Community Action Program, Growing Opportunities works with clients who need help by teaching them both hard and soft vocational skills via the pathway of growing food. Its greenhouse is located at Stone Belt, an organization with 50 years of experience providing resources for those with disabilities. Read more

Radicle Farm’s Aggregated Network of Hydroponic Greenhouses Offer Living Salads to Locavores

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Photo courtesy of Radicle Farm

Named after the first root to appear from a seed, Radicle Farm Company of New Jersey is rethinking the sustainable leafy greens concept. Through an aggregated network of local hydroponic farms, Radicle offers its living salad products to the wholesale and retail market.

“We want to be large,” says Christopher Washington, Managing Director of the company that started in 2013. “All the research that we’ve done has indicated that the consumer wants to support local product; it’s not really groundbreaking. What is groundbreaking is that companies that get the most traction are private brands in agriculture.”  Read more

Rochester, Minnesota Aquaponic Startup Takes Farm-to-Fork to a Whole New Level

Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

Herbs and greens grow at a Fresh with Edge greenhouse. When mature, they will be taken to homes, markets or restaurants, to be harvested. (photo courtesy of Chris Lukenbill)

Many restaurants boast a farm-to-fork experience, but how many diners are able to eat food harvested right before it arrives on their table? Fresh with Edge, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, makes it possible.

Fresh with Edge has found its niche in moving the farm indoors―to homes, restaurants and grocery stores. Its secret? Removing the need for soil by utilizing aquaponics and hydroponics to grow greens on towers. Herbs and greens at Fresh with Edge grow on 5-foot vertical towers in a greenhouse system. When ready to harvest, the towers are moved to a location where they will be consumed, such as a  supermarket or restaurant.

Founder Chris Lukenbill and his wife, Lisa, came up with the idea of Fresh with Edge in 2011. Their idea grew from a desire to know where their food came from.  Neither Chris nor Lisa was raised on a farm, but both have a strong base of agricultural knowledge, gleaned from aunts and uncles. Both work in computer science, and used this skill to establish a successful aquaponics enterprise. Read more

Tennessee Church Finds Ministry in Hydroponic Farming

Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Cedar Point Church in Maryville, Tennessee started growing its hydroponic garden for two reasons: to develop a program offering a sustainable and healthy food source to its church family, and to build a sense of partnership between church members and the community.

While the garden is still in its early stages (it was started about three months ago), Kurt Steinbach, the church’s lead pastor is enthusiastic about the growing produce. Currently, Harvest Farms Co-op, the name of the church’s hydroponic gardening operation, grows several varieties of tomato, bell pepper, hot banana peppers, Anaheim peppers, green leaf lettuce varieties, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. In late June, the co-op was preparing for its first harvest. Read more

Fisheries Biologist and Mechanical Engineer Collaborate on Maine Aquaponics Farm

Image courtesy of Fluid Farms

A variety of greens are seen growing at Fluid Farms’ greenhouse, an aquaponics facility in North Yarmouth, Maine. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Gaudet)

Agriculture is an ecosystem and needs to be treated as such.

That was the conclusion reached by business partners and former college roommates Tyler Gaudet and Jackson McLeod, who grow greens and raise fish at Fluid Farms.

Fluid Farms grows in a 5,000-square foot aquaponics greenhouse in North Yarmouth, Maine. The farm sells a variety of greens to area restaurants, and will sell their first fish (tilapia) this year.

The pair avoids the “sustainability” moniker, due to their belief that no form of production agriculture is 100 percent sustainable. Instead, they strive for a system that is not strictly dependent on inputs and outputs. Read more

New York Nonprofit Builds On-site Greenhouses in City Schools

An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects. Credit: Ari Burling

An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects.
Credit: Ari Burling

NY Sun Works, a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools, partnered with a small group of parents at PS 333, The Manhattan School for Children, to found The Greenhouse Project Initiative in 2008.

“Through our Greenhouse Project Initiative, we use hydroponic farming technology to educate and teachers about the science of sustainability,” says Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works director and director of education programs.

The Greenhouse Project was founded because parents and educators within New York City’s K-8 public school system were concerned about what they perceived to be shortcomings in the systems’ environmental science program. Read more

Montreal Hydroponic Farm Raises Rooftops With Produce

Lufa Farms’ second greenhouse is in Laval, Quebec, which opened August 2013. The greenhouse houses tomatoes and eggplants.

Lufa Farms’ second greenhouse, located in Laval, Quebec, opened August 2013. The greenhouse houses tomatoes and eggplants. Photo credit:
Lufa Farms

When room to farm in a city is scarce, look up.

Montreal-based Lufa Farms built Canada’s first commercial hydroponic urban rooftop greenhouse in 2011. In the late summer of 2013, Lufa opened a second, larger rooftop greenhouse in Laval, Quebec.

Although Lufa always intended to add another greenhouse to its operation once the 2011 site opened, the company wanted to observe how the first project did first, says Lauren Rathmell, greenhouse director and founding member.

“The goal was to have by the end of our first year of production 1,000 subscribers, which is about what our first site can support by itself,” she says. “The trajectory from there was to have a goal of having 3,500 subscribers by the end of 2013.”  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