Sustainable Agriculture Institute Arms Returning Veterans with Tools to Become Farmers of the Future

colin-and-karen-archipley-of-archis-acres-and-aisa

Colin and Karen Archipley, the co-founders of Archi’s Acres and Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA). Photo Courtesy of Archi’s Acres.

Returning military often find themselves struggling to return to normality after serving overseas. Colin Archipley, co-owner of Archi’s Acres in Escondido, CA knows exactly how they feel. He served three tours of duty during the Iraq War that began in 2003. Between his second and third deployment, Colin, along with his wife Karen, bought an inefficiently run avocado farm. Besides starting their own very successful living basil hydroponics farm on the site, the empathetic couple created a sustainable agriculture training center called Archi’s Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (AISA) to help ease the transition of service members from military to civilian life. The courses offered at the institute are open to civilians as well as veterans giving everyone a way to serve their local community while building a sustainable business that will support their family.

The AISA learning center is based in Valley Center, California, near San Diego, and offers its students instruction in everything from sustainable agribusiness and farming production methods to business development and planning during a six-week course on founders’ Colin and Karen Archipley’s farmland. Read more

Georgia Organic Micro Farmer Squeezes Plenty from Small, Urban Lot

The Armenian Tigger Melon is a favorite of Frazer Love, who grows several unique varieties of melon on his urban micro farm, Perpetual Harvest. Photo Credits: Frazer Love

The Armenian Tigger Melon is a favorite of Frazer Love, who grows several unique varieties of melon on his urban micro farm, Perpetual Harvest.
Photo Credits: Frazer Love

Getting through the first season as a new farmer can be daunting, but Perpetual Harvest owner Frazer Love faced the challenge with a commitment to organic growing.

As Love explains: “When we contribute positively to our community, our community sustains us as a naturally created cycle.”

Love took a chance when he left his job in October 2012 to become a micro farmer. A micro farm, according to Love, is an urban plot of land no bigger than 4 acres dedicated to producing fruits, vegetables, and, at times, poultry.

To start his farm, Love built twelve 16-square-foot raised beds on his home property in Athens, GA, and installed a custom irrigation system featuring a feeding barrel for compost tea and ball valves on each bed to control water flow.

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Startup Converts Former Twin City Brewery Building to Aquaponic Facility

Fed by nutrients provided by cultivated tilapia, a crop of parsley thrives. Photo by Fred Haberman

Fed by nutrients provided by cultivated tilapia, a crop of parsley thrives.
Photo by Fred Haberman

As perhaps much does in Minnesota in the wintertime, the aquaponics start-up Urban Organics began with ice.

Pond ice, that is.

That’s because Fred Haberman, a public relations expert, dedicated social entrepreneur, and founder of The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships got to talking with his “ice man,” David Haider.

It came to light that the two had a common dream: to bring farms to the Twin Cities’ food deserts.

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Nonprofit Combats Poverty in Orphanages by Teaching Aquaponics, Food Preservation

: A view of an aquaponics facility in Mexico built with help from Aquaponics & Earth (photo taken by Teresa Musser)

: A view of an aquaponics facility in Mexico built with help from Aquaponics & Earth (photo taken by Teresa
Musser)

In 1979, John Musser embarked on an expedition into the rugged far reaches of America’s southern neighbor to visit Mexican orphanages, where he witnessed both hungry children and food waste.

Upon his return, Musser founded the Texas-based non-profit Aquaponics & Earth and stepped up to the challenge of helping orphans in Mexico and across the world secure adequate nutrition. Through hardware and education, Musser’s organization enables orphanages to become self-sustaining, freeing themselves from dependence on food aid. Read more

New Hydroponic Organic Gardening Kit Seeks ‘Paradigm Shift for Produce’

Photo courtesy of Mobile Farming

From garden towers to upside-down tomato hangers, the concept of a ‘grow your own’ kit is nothing new.

But the folks at Mobile Farming think they may finally have created a hydroponic gardening system that’s affordable, realistic and accessible to everyone with Garden Stand. The unit is American-made, MIT-patented and grows enough organic vegetables and herbs to feed a family of four. And according to its creators, we can expect to see it on the retail market as soon as summer 2014. Read more

Organic Aquaponic Farm Embraces Environmental and Economic Sustainability in Oregon’s Evans Valley

Jericho Romaine Lettuce growing in the aquaponic system at The Farming Fish in Oregon. Photo Credit: The Farming Fish.

Jericho Romaine Lettuce growing in the aquaponic system at The Farming Fish in Oregon. Photo Credit: The Farming Fish.

Embedded in the bucolic Evans Valley just outside of Rogue River, Oregon is The Farming Fish, a 40-acre certified organic farm. Thirty of the acres remain wild and wooded so owners Michael Hasey and Olivia Hittner can harvest native edibles like mushrooms, berries, and ferns, while the remaining 10 acres are made up of pastureland for livestock, vegetable row crops, an orchard, and an aquaponic farming operation.

Although Hittner realizes aquaponic farming is not a “silver bullet,” she and Hasey do see it as an integral part of our agricultural future. In a world of scarce resources, aquaponic farming conserves natural resources like water while still producing a greater food output, says Hittner. As a result, Hittner sees aquaponics as a way to close the hunger gap and preserve resources for future generations. Read more

Five-acre Aquaponic Farm in Florida Finds Market for High-end Greens

Ryan and Katie Chatterson survey aquaponic beds at Chatterson Farms.

Ryan and Katie Chatterson survey aquaponic beds at Chatterson Farms.

Ryan Chatterson has figured out that special combination of skills needed by today’s aspiring aquaponic farmer: the ability to grow and the ability to market.

Chatterson began his five-acre Florida-based aquaponics farm, Chatterson Farms, to feed his family and community with nutritious produce he calls “better than organic.”

“We follow organic standards but use no pesticides (they will kill the fish), 90% less water and can provide more food from a smaller footprint (than traditional agriculture),” explains Chatterson. “We have zero waste discharged from our facility and are extremely energy efficient which leaves more room for profit and growth.”

In addition to selling high-end greens at the local farmers’ market, Chatterson provides 35-50 families per week with fresh vegetables for their table through a home delivery club.

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Hydroponic Urban Farm Provides Year-Round Supply of Healthy, Organic Produce to Massachusetts Mill Town

Hydroponic array inside of S&S Urban Acres operation. Photo Credit: Kreativ Studios.

Hydroponic array inside of S&S Urban Acres operation. Photo Credit: Kreativ Studios.

Hidden within Durfee Union Mills Building, a historic textile mill complex in Fall River, Massachusetts, lies a hydroponic haven dedicated to providing fresh, organic produce to the local community.

S&S’s Urban Acres is a family-run operation which formed around the notion that people should have access to safe, healthy, pesticide-free food. More specifically, the Squillante family started the farm because they realized that the nutrient-void, chemical-laden food they were eating was making them and millions of other people sick.

“There was a sickness in the family that led us to look into what is really in our food,” said Brad Dean, Urban Acres’ President and Operations Manager, “We soon realized that many vegetables we were eating could cause health problems.” Dean is the son of Greg Squillante, the owner of the Durfee Mills Union Building. The Squillante family owns about 30 small businesses in the building including Urban Acres. Read more

Days Away from First Harvest, Sustainability is Lynchpin to Bay Area Aquaponic Startup

Interior of Viridis Aquaponics greenhouse in Watsonville, CA. Photo credit: Viridis Aquaponics

Interior of Viridis Aquaponics greenhouse in Watsonville, CA. Photo credit: Viridis Aquaponics

Beginning an Aquaponics business takes hard work, the right partnerships and a patient nature when it comes to organic pest control. Viridis Aquaponics is a burgeoning startup based in Watsonville in the San Francisco Bay area. The farming business has been quite a learning curve for co-owner and former construction businessman Jon Parr. A mutual friend introduced Parr to Drew Hopkins. Finding they had complimentary business skills, they began devising a business plan for a sustainable greenhouse-based farm. That plan found an investor and soon became the eight acres of grow space that now houses Viridis Aquaponics, Inc. The company is days away from its first harvest. Read more

Circle Fresh Farms Ties Network of Hydroponic Farms Together to Grow Local Food Movement in Colorado

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Photo Credit: Circle Fresh Farms

Circle Fresh Farms, in Colorado, likes to say they were born from a vision of founder Buck Adams based around sustainability, local foods and greenhouse farms, which pretty much describes the seven-year-old company.

But that amiable description leaves out the extended version, which illustrates Circle Fresh’s efforts to transform an industry towards more locally produced foods, in ways that sustain and restore the health of the land and local communities, with a business model that increases opportunities for participants, while benefiting local retail stores. Read more