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Category — Entrepreneurs

Is solar the solution for millions of people without access to electric light?

Video via The Verge.
(Must see. Mike)

MPOWERD has developed “Luci” a low-cost, waterproof, solar-powered lantern that could replace kerosene lamps in the developing world

About Luci

How does Luci work?

Luci has three main components that make her work: (1) a solar panel that captures photons from sunlight or incandescent light; (2) a rechargeable internal battery that stores her power; and (3) 10 LED bulbs that produce her light.

Does Luci need any additional parts, such as batteries or a charger?

No – unlike some other solar lights, Luci does not require any additional parts, since her unit contains solar PV cells, a battery, and LED lights all in one.

How does Luci charge?

Luci’s solar panels charge when facing sunlight or incandescent light. In direct sunlight, Luci will fully charge in 8 hours. She will charge even when it’s cloudy outside, but it will take longer. To charge Luci in incandescent light, place the solar panel close to the light bulb – but not so close that it becomes hot. It will take longer than 8 hours to charge under incandescent light.

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January 16, 2015   No Comments

Asheville City’s Patchwork Urban Farms Fundraiser – North Carolina

The goal of this project is to raise $40,000


Itemized Budget:

Soil Bank – animals
Integrate small animals as soil building systems

Soil Bank – microbes
Fix our backpack sprayer, and fund our microscope and soil microbiology montoring so we can bring soil biology to super-vibrancy

Soil Bank – biochar
Research and Development of an urban biochar facility

Soil Bank –
OM Organic Matter additions to soil

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January 11, 2015   Comments Off

Urban flower farms gain momentum in Pittsburgh

urbflowGreenSinner owners Jonathan Weber and Jimmy Lohr have their portrait taken inside of their greenhouse in Lawrenceville. Photo by Jasmine Goldband.

Between weddings, events and deliveries, that added up to more than 6,000 stems of cut flowers and foliage in 2014.

By Rachel Weaver
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014


A Pittsburgh floral shop is planting seeds for future growth that will transform a vacant city hillside into a thriving garden.

GreenSinner is expanding beyond its Upper Lawrenceville location with a four-acre urban flower farm in Observatory Hill in the North Side.

“There’s something really appealing about being in the city,” says Jonathan Weber, GreenSinner farmer. “There are a lot of places that, because of the landscape, aren’t suited for buildings. This is currently an overgrown hillside. It hasn’t been cultivated in at least 50 years. The soil is pretty rich.”

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January 10, 2015   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture Champion, Vikram Bhatt, wins $50,000 Margolese National Design for Living Prize

Vikram copy

Margolese Prize Lecture in Vancouver BC: Vikram Bhatt, January 19, 2015 – 6:30pm to 8:30pm



“Vikram Bhatt has dedicated his life to the application and teaching of appropriate technologies for the improvement of community life, not only for Canadians but for communities throughout the developing world,” said Thom.

“His work on edible gardens and productive rooftops over the last decade has focused not only on the need for self-sufficient villages in the developing world but, also, for a critical re-evaluation of the bucolic lawn-scape in Montreal,” noted Rochon.

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January 8, 2015   Comments Off

The Rise of Hi-tech Food Farms is one of Top 5 Food and Agriculture Stories in 2014

panasPurplish-pink lighting from LED lights helps Panasonic to grow vegetables vertically arranged in shelves within its manufacturing facility. Image: Panasonic.

Panasonic, Toshiba, and Fujitsu recently expanded their businesses to include hi-tech vertical farms.

By Vaidehi Shah
Dec 17, 2014


Electronics manufacturers such as Panasonic, Toshiba, and Fujitsu recently expanded their businesses to include hi-tech vertical farms which produce vegetables such as lettuce, radish, spinach and sprouts. Panasonic set up a farm in Singapore in August which uses special LED lights to cultivate vegetables in as little as 35 days, a move that meets the government’s food security goals. Toshiba also started cultivating greens like spinach, lettuce and greens in a factory in Japan earlier this year.

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December 30, 2014   Comments Off

Smithsonian: Turning Shipping Containers Into Urban Farms

The company, co-founded by Dan Kuenzi, works with produce buyers, retailers, distributors, and hospitality firms to explore options for integrating local, indoor agriculture solutions into their product offerings.

In a clever recycling experiment, the startup Local Roots Farms is growing organic, hydroponic produce in America’s food deserts

By Megan Gambino
Dec 9, 2014


At any given time, there are upwards of 700,000 unused shipping containers in the United States. Some clever architects have hacked these 40-foot steel compartments into skate parks, libraries, emergency shelters and surprisingly beautiful homes.

But Daniel Kuenzi has a new one. The Washington, D.C.-based entrepreneur is turning derelict shipping containers into urban farms.

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December 21, 2014   Comments Off

For his mobile-farming, engineer receives Indira Gandhi Award


With the automated farming system, one can do farming right from the city

By Naveeta Singh
Dec 6, 2014


Under the automated farming system, one can do farming right from the city with the help of a mobile device or a tablet. It also needs less labour on field. “A mobile network at the farm is necessary. There is a data processing unit at the form which has a SIM card. The card will acquire data like, weather conditions, humidity, water required, among others, from the processor and transmit it to your mobile phone,” says Kesarkar.

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December 13, 2014   Comments Off

San Francisco’s Mission High and Bi-Rite Market partner in a neighborhood divided

missionMission High School vendors with Bi-Rite Market staff.

It’s a neighborhood where Mark Zuckerberg now owns a home, and a place where an affluent, whiter population is displacing lower-income residents, many of them Latino.

By Laura Klivans
Dec 3, 2014


On a windy day in San Francisco I’m at the back of Mission High School with teacher Rachel Vigil and her urban agriculture class. We’re outside on the edge of their football field. Students are moving between carefully laid dirt beds, each stretching 30 feet long.

“Listen up,” Vigil says as this class period comes to a close, “we have ten minutes before we have to head to the college center so I’d like everyone to just do a sweep of any green material that is on the paths. Please put it in the compost and pick up any gloves that are hanging out.”

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December 10, 2014   Comments Off

The Business of Urban Farming Takes Root in Detroit

brotherBrother Nature Produce. Specialty Produce Location: North Corktown, Detroit.

During his first year, Willerer earned almost the equivalent of his teaching salary.

Yahoo News
Dec 3, 2014


Greg Willerer may not seem like your average entrepreneur. The once full-time school teacher quit his job to follow his passion for farming in the most unlikely of places. Located not far from Downtown Detroit, Willerer launched his urban farming business on just one acre of land.

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December 10, 2014   Comments Off

Garden Tower Project on Kickstarter reached goal and now exceeds $273,000

Campaign sets records for the Garden Tower 2, capable of growing 50 plants in a footprint of only 4 square feet.

Press Release
Dec 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Dec. 3, 2014) – Garden Tower Project reached its goal on Kickstarter for the Garden Tower 2 in just 30 minutes and has now exceeded $273,000 in crowd funding as the campaign enters its final days. Garden Tower Project is now the third largest crowd-funding project on record for Indiana and the largest ever for Bloomington.

Backers have until midnight Sunday, Dec. 7 to support the company’s new release, which will make urban gardening possible for all, from those with limited mobility, to high-rise apartment dwellers and even entire communities facing water restrictions.

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December 3, 2014   Comments Off

‘Print’ Your Veggies? Israeli Start-Up Bringing Urban Farming to Countertops

Sea vegetable Khai-nam grows in Thailand, Myanmar and Laos

By: Tamar Auber
Nov 21


After much trial and error, the result was GreenOnyx, a countertop machine that cultivates and grows the sea vegetable automatically and then delivers the nutritious green food source at a push of a button in either liquefied or paste form.

The juice can then be used to make smoothies and the paste can be used to add nutritious to nearly any meal.

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December 3, 2014   Comments Off

Cambodia: For Those Who Can Afford It, Urban Farming Bears Fruit

A catfish forms? Part of the aquaponics system at Mr Chandara’s farm. (Neou Vannarin/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Chandara and Mr. Sophal said that if more farmers adopted their modern cultivation methods, the country’s agriculture industry would be more stable and productive.

By Neou Vannarin
The Cambodian Daily
Nov 25, 2014


The hydroponics system does away with many of the hassles of traditional farming while allowing vegetation to thrive in a confined urban setting, using only the electricity needed to power a small pump, Mr. Sophal said.

Since he first turned on the taps of his contraption in 2011 after taking a short course on hydroponics in Thailand, Mr. Sophal’s urban farming experiment has gone from a pet project to a full-fledged enterprise.

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December 1, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Farmers Trade Goods and Stories at ‘Crop Swaps’

Lila Skye, far left, and other city farmers swapped goods this month in her driveway in Richmond, Calif. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Charles Daniels, an 80-year-old retired lawn and garden shop owner, came with apples, sorrel and pepino dulce, a South American fruit that tastes like a blend of honeydew and cantaloupe.

By Patricia Leigh Brown
New York Times
Nov. 27, 2014


OAKLAND, Calif. — The Bay Area is a culinary never-never land, a place where aspiring apiarists hire beekeeping coaches, and even 7-year-olds can discuss the virtues of Himalayan salt.

That is why, on a recent Sunday, a motley group of gardeners bearing windfall harvests of habanero chiles, persimmons and prickly pear cactus fruit gathered for a “crop swap,” an urban agricultural ritual in which city farmers get together to share their surplus bounty.

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November 28, 2014   Comments Off

Student Entrepreneur Earning Buzz in Effort to Feed World’s Hungry


He thinks the use of “vertical agriculture” will allow agriculture to expand into previously non-agricultural areas – places like cities.

By Michael Martin Garrett
State College
November 17, 2014


Zeangle, and the rest of the Green Towers team, has been getting a lot of attention for a design that Zeangle thinks can solve the problem – or at least get agriculture moving in the right direction. He calls it a “living wall.”

He describes it as a vertical conveyer belt that moves around a central point powered by a water wheel. All along the wall are boxes for plants grown using hydroponics – a technique that uses water and nutrients without the need for soil.

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November 22, 2014   Comments Off

Baltimore City eyes investing in urban flower farming

Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers.

Ellen Frost of Local Color Flowers only buys flowers from within a 100-mile radius

By Yvonne Wenger,
The Baltimore Sun
Nov 12, 2014


“Flowers are a good option for people who are interested in farming but want to try something different or have a niche that sets them apart from food growers,” Frost said. “For us, it’s exciting as a viable entrepreneurial option for farmers, and to eliminate blight.”

With about a dozen urban farms operating in Baltimore, city officials are investigating other ways to use vacant lots, said Jenny Guillaume, the Growing Green Initiative coordinator for the city’s Office of Sustainability. The city started a push for more community gardens in 2011 to uplift blighted neighborhoods, give families access to more healthy food options and help unemployed residents earn money.

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November 20, 2014   Comments Off