Five Acre Solar Panel Array, Water Conservation Help Hydroponic Tomato Operation Generate Sustainable Return

Casey Houweling, CEO of Houweling’s Tomatoes at the Camarillo, CA greenhouse facility

The owner of Houweling’s Tomatoes has more than plump, red, juicy fruit on its mind—the hydroponics greenhouse tomato grower is also thinking about the planet.

Casey Houweling is the owner of the Delta, British Columbia-based company, which derives from a business his father started in 1956. While the company is headquartered in Canada, much of the sustainable magic happens at its Camarillo, Calif., year-round greenhouse growing facility, where renewable energy is produced, heat is generated and water is conserved.

At the glass greenhouse facility—which covers 125 acres of land—five acres of photovoltaic solar panels provide one megawatt of electricity, which is equivalent to removing 300 cars from the road, according to the company. Electricity is used on-site and also sold to the grid. Read more

In Creating Fleet of Sustainable, Urban Farmers, Milwaukee-based Growing Power Seeks to End World Hunger

Will Allen, CEO and founder of Growing Power, Inc., has a straightforward goal – to end world hunger.

“It’s a lofty goal, but that’s how things should be,” said Allen, a sharecropper’s son who was a professional basketball player when he rediscovered his love for agriculture. “The only way to end world hunger is the local food system that we used to have. … Everybody would buy local food if it was available. We don’t have the infrastructure right now, so one of the things I wanted to do is prove that this could be done and this could be cash-flowed.” Read more

In Partnership with NYC High School, Cornell U. Builds and Enhances Sustainable Agriculture Technology

Students at culinary arts-focused Food and Finance High School in New York City learn more than just how to cook up a good fish fillet—they also learn how to grow the fish along with other foods using real-time, applied science and Cornell University technologies.

The high school is home to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension (CUCE), New York City Hydroponics, Aquaculture, Aquaponics Learning Labs, where students learn how to grow their own tilapia and other fish species, more than 10 different types of lettuce, Chinese cabbages and herbs. The food is used in the campus cafeteria, in the school’s culinary classes and in its student catering program, said Philson A. A. Warner, founding director of the CUCE learning labs. Warner is also CUCE New York City’s coordinator of science, technology and sustainable agriculture. Read more

Wyoming Hydroponic Tower Co. Seeks to Facilitate Sustainable Food Production and Make Farming Less Expensive

Basil growing in a ZipGrow Tower

Nate Storey and business partner Paul Bennick want to make farming more efficient, sustainable and affordable for the private and commercial greenhouse grower. To do so, the partners founded Bright AgroTech, LLC, a mission driven company that develops modular hydroponic production towers to not only increase production in hydroponic and aquaponic systems, but also facilitate sustainable food production.

“We got into it to make farming less expensive,” Storey says.

The product that Storey, a PhD candidate in agronomy at the University of Wyoming, along with Bennick, a Wyoming Army National Guardsmen who served two tours in Iraq and grew up on a ranch, developed to reduce costs is called the ZipGrow Tower™. Read more

Re-Imagining Agriculture Event in Los Angeles to Focus on Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship

(Los Angeles, CA, February 2, 2012) – A growing crop of agricultural entrepreneurs is beginning to sprout in Southern California. Compelled by a desire to meet the food and energy demands of a world population forecast to peak at 9 billion by 2050, these entrepreneurs are endeavoring to re-imagine a more sustainable, healthy and profitable future for agriculture – from the development of high tech farms that utilize the latest hydroponic and aquaponic technology to grow food cleanly, efficiently and without chemicals to urban farming models that seek to bring scalable food production back to cities.

To explore this flight to innovation in agriculture, please join Seedstock, a sustainable agriculture media company, in association with the Entrepreneur Association and the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies on March 7, from 6pm – 9pm at the UCLA Anderson School of Management for the event, Re-Imagining Agriculture: Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship in Southern CaliforniaRead more

Atlanta’s Bioponica Seeks to Close Loop on Hydroponic and Aquaponic Farming

The term sustainable farming has been creeping steadily into the vernacular, popping up in business plans, on food blogs, and at local farmers’ markets around the country. David Epstein, D.O. and Kenneth Lovell, P.E. of Bioponica™ hope to usher new farmers into the world of sustainable agriculture through their unique design and method of soilless, closed-loop, farming.  Read more

Wisconsin’s Future Farm Packs Sustainable Punch with Cow Powered Aquaponics Operation

The owners of aquaponics-focused Future Farm Food and Fuel, LLC know how to maximize their resources.

The company’s operations take place out of a 27,000-square-foot greenhouse in Baldwin, Wisc., which houses fish tanks and growing bays that contain herbs and vegetables. Tubes run back and forth between the tanks and growing bays, recirculating water, otherwise known as effluent. Read more

New Orleans-based Recirculating Farms Coalition Seeks Solution to Food Deserts in Sustainable Production Systems

Marianne Cufone says she was drawn to New Orleans because of its incredible heart and resilience. Cufone is the executive director of New Orleans-based Recirculating Farms Coalition (RFC), a non-profit organization comprised of a collaborative group of farmers, educators and various organizations committed to building eco-friendly farms that use clean recycled water to grow local, accessible, fresh food and create stable green jobs.

A native of Tampa, she explains that she also chose New Orleans as the coalition headquarters because “one of the things that is noticeably absent in the area is the availability of healthy food. We are all about growing healthy fresh food in places where it is needed.”  Read more

Burgeoning San Diego Startup Slings Locally Grown Hydroponic Butter Lettuce with Roots Intact

Pierre Sleiman of Go Green Agriculture has turned a seed of teenage curiosity into a full-grown farm.

The Sleimans have never been farmers. When a friend proposed the idea of a hydroponically grown farm to Pierre’s father about ten years ago, he quickly brushed off the idea. However, fifteen-year-old Pierre saw potential.

“From that point on, I have been interested in turning it into a viable business,” Sleiman said. For several years, he explored hydroponics—a method of farming where plants are grown in nutrient rich water rather than in soil. He said that he found most of the existing hydroponic farms to be large-scale facilities that shipped their products over large distances. He had a different vision: small-scale greenhouses focused on just one product—locally distributed butter lettuce. 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