Rather than ‘Figure Out More Ways to Blow People Up’, Former NASA Engineer Seeks Solution to Feed World

When NASA ended its space shuttle program in 2011, a lot of the engineers and systems technology staff ended up heading to defense industry contracting firms. But Douglas Mallette, founder and CEO of Cybernated Farm Systems, says he wanted to help feed the world rather than “figure out more ways to blow people up.”

So he founded Cybernated Farm Systems with the idea of building a fully self-generating and sustainably-operating greenhouse growing system that could feed precisely 634 people for 30 years, leave a small carbon footprint and provide nutritious, organic, fresh food in a world of rising poverty and hunger. Read more

Fish and Greens Grow Together on Rooftop Farm in Winter Gardens, Fla.

Photo Credit: Green Sky Growers.

Traveling from farm to market has never been a shorter trip than it is for the produce grown by Green Sky Growers, a rooftop aquaponic farm, in Winter Gardens, Fla. The farm’s main client is a restaurateur housed in the same building. Delivering fresh produce is a mere one-minute commute in an elevator.

The unique aquaponic operation arose through the personal vision of Bert Roper, an aquaculture expert from Winter Gardens, Fla., whose ancestors settled the area more than a century ago. Although Roper passed away in late 2012, his legacy lives on. It’s visible in the lush, edible greenery that draws nutrients from a rooftop pond atop a multi-rise, 3,000 sq. ft. warehouse. Read more

Vertical Farming Operation Takes on Challenge of Providing Local Food to Urban Communities

Photo Credit: Local Garden.

In a world where climate change continues to wreak more and more havoc on growing seasons and arable land becomes increasingly scarce and expensive, viable farming alternatives are the Holy Grail of sustainable agriculturists.

Local Garden of Vancouver, BC, a subsidiary of the vertical farming technology company Alterrus, is the latest challenger to the intractable problem of providing local fresh produce for future urban communities.

The company (they only launched production three months ago) is using the VertiCrop™ growing system created by Alterrus to raise baby greens, arugula, basil, spinach, kales and bok choy in a system that cultivates 10 times the amount of crops as traditional agriculture in the same amount of space, but uses 90 percent less water and terrain. And it does so on top of a parking garage in the middle of downtown Vancouver. Read more

With 90% of its Crop Pre-sold and a Land Lease Rate of $1 Per Year, a Vertical Farm Rises in Wyoming

If you’ve ever ventured west into the beautiful rolling hills and breathtaking rock formations of windy Wyoming you may note an absence of green fields. Home of wandering elk herds, wild mustangs and ubiquitous antelope, Wyoming boasts the freshest air and streams in the nation. Fertile soil is another thing entirely. That’s why the ‘outside of the box’ thinking of the folks at Vertical Harvest, a three story vertical hydroponic greenhouse operation that will be located in the town of Jackson, means so much to the equality state. Read more

Video: Scaling Sustainable Agriculture Solutions

At the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation conference this past fall, we held a panel discussion that examined the potential for sustainable farming solutions and technologies to feed a growing population. The panel featured the following panelists: Thaddeus Barsotti of Farm Fresh To You; Casey Houweling of Houweling’s Tomatoes; Dan Gibbs of Home Town Farms; and Miguel Jardine of VermiSoks. Check out the video of the panel proceedings below:

To Power Hydroponic Operations on the Cheap, Ag Startup Seeks to Turn Wind into Water

Scarcity of clean water poses an enormous threat to food security around the world. Both in the developing world, including China and India, and even here in the United States, farmers increasingly face the arduous challenge of obtaining sufficient clean water to grow crops. Faced with this daunting challenge, the team behind the GreenTop platform developed an innovative system that uses wind power to capture atmospheric water moisture, which in turn is used to grow fruits and vegetables hydroponically. By creating an affordable, scalable technology that relies solely on renewable energy, the GreenTop platform enables farmers to boost food production, particularly in developing countries where the climate is arid, arable land scarce and access to clean water limited. Read more

To Introduce Youth and Locals to Sustainable, Locally Produced Food, Entrepreneur Grows Upward

The words are right there on Alegria Fresh’s homepage: “Food is thy medicine; medicine is thy food.” This quote from Hippocrates could easily serve as part of the hydroponic vertical farm’s mission statement.

With a background in biochemistry and oncology, Erik Cutter—managing director of the Laguna Beach startup—decided during pre-med school that pharmaceutical drugs are not the answer to our nation’s health problems. “When I graduated with a degree, I did not believe in pharmaceuticals as a means of preventative health,” explains Cutter. “For me, it’s always been about preventative medicine and how food could do that. I don’t believe people have the information they need. I think we spent the last 50 years being disconnected from where food comes from. So, I decided to utilize the knowledge I have gained to help people obtain the truth about healthy foods and understand how important it is to know where your food comes from.” Read more

LAST DAY to Lock in the Rooster Special Price for the Seedstock Sustainable Ag Conference at UCLA

There is only ONE DAY LEFT to lock in your ticket at the Rooster Special Ticket Price for the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference (details below) at UCLA. The conference has recently added a number of new sponsors including Whole Foods Market, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Wine, the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Entrepreneur Association and Net Impact Branch. Read more

Seedstock Brings Together Innovative Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurs

The Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference, to be held at UCLA Anderson School of Management on October 24, will feature a Who’s Who lineup of Speakers and Sponsors

Los Angeles, CA — Some of the best-known names in sustainable agriculture will bring their innovative products and ideas to the Seedstock Sustainable Agriculture Innovation Conference, a one-day event focused on highlighting the economic benefits of growing food sustainably.

The conference, which will take place at UCLA Anderson School of Management, will examine how innovative farmers and entrepreneurs are turning their passion for sustainability into business opportunities. Read more

Bronx Educator Grows Organically Engaged Citizens

Stephen Ritz, Founder of The Green Bronx Machine

There’s a lot to the Stephen Ritz story. As told in rapid fire by the man himself the whole quickly disperses like an exploding star. He’s a kid from the South Bronx, the world’s oldest 6th grader. As an athlete in a different life he spent time in NBA camps. For a spell he would consume two-dozen eggs a day. Yes, he has had a critical health issue – more than one even. “I would have eaten myself to death,” he says letting the words hang in the air. He is high energy. He is a teacher. He is a parent. He is the originator and driving force behind an agriculture educational project called The Green Bronx Machine. Read more