New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Entrepreneurs

Mushroom Mini Farm Sold in Whole Foods, Home Depot

mushm

What started as curiosity about urban farming has turned into a passion for “undoing food”

From Back to the Roots website:

In a college class, we learned that mushrooms could grow on recycled coffee grounds. After watching hours of how-to videos and turning our fraternity kitchen into a big science experiment, we eventually decided to give up our corporate job offers to instead become full-time mushroom farmers. What started as curiosity about urban farming has turned into a passion for “undoing food” and reconnecting families to it through fun, delicious and sustainable “ready to grow” and “ready to eat” products.

What type of mushroom does the Mushroom Mini Farm grow?

Our mushroom mini farm grows gourmet Pearl Oyster mushrooms. They’re commonly found in Europe and Asia and are used increasingly in a variety of cuisines for their velvety texture, smooth taste, and dense nutrient content.

[Read more →]

March 24, 2015   No Comments

LED powered CounterCrop coming to kitchens in July

Successful Kickstarter campaign raised $132,911.

Features & Benefits

Sleek Design – It’s the modern way to grow your food. CounterCrop’s clean lines and industrial design make it look great on any kitchen counter. Whether you’re whipping up mojitos with fresh mint or cutting enough greens for an entire salad, your CounterCrop is a great conversation starter when hosting dinner parties too.

Clean, Controlled Growing – Forget the dirt. CounterCrop’s self-contained, advanced hydroponic system delivers water and light at just the right time. Not to mention, with indoor gardening, you won’t have to worry about inclement weather or outdoor pests destroying your food.

[Read more →]

March 20, 2015   No Comments

Minneapolis Restaurant’s Basement Tilapia Farm!

resttal
See video of aquaponic farm here.

Gandhi Mahal restaurant owner hopes basement aquaponic farm is just the beginning.

By Eric Roper
Vitamn
3/9/2015

Excerpt:

In a humid room beneath Gandhi Mahal restaurant, local officials watched Thursday as owner Ruhel Islam plunged his arm into a tank and threw a wriggling tilapia into a bucket of ice water. The waste from those 100 fish helps fertilize the surrounding beds of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, celery and spinach.

“Should I go for one more?” Islam asked the crowd, jammed into the 650-square-foot room.

Aquaponics is a growing business in the Twin Cities and across the country, but local operations are typically large-scale production facilities that sell to grocery stores and restaurants. One of the most prominent examples in the urban core is at the former Hamm’s brewery in St. Paul, which is now filled with thousands of fish and plants.

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March 18, 2015   No Comments

Toledo, Ohio, City council hears from urban farming groups

This restaurant grows some of its own food.

If local residents bought just 5-percent of their produce from local gardens and farms that could inject $305 million into the local economy.

By Bill Hormann
13 ABC
Feb 25, 2015

Excerpt:

El Tipico is one of those small, family- owned restaurants that has built its reputation on good food.

Since 1968, the owners have grown their own and do their best to buy local produce…

But they need to buy more.

[Read more →]

March 8, 2015   Comments Off

Noocity Growbed from Portugal

It consumes up to 80% less water than conventional cultivation systems.

From their Indiegogo page:

The Noocity Growbed is an unique and efficient self-watering and self-fertilizing (optional) gardening system. Easy to assemble and low maintenance, it allows you to plant a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and medicinal herbs anywhere.

Through the supply tube you fill the water reservoir. Points of capillarity allow plants to obtain the water they need, when they need it, while the ventilation area guarantees perfect oxygenation of the root zone, resulting in stronger, healthier and more resilient plants.

[Read more →]

March 4, 2015   Comments Off

‘Freight Farms’ Grow Local Flavor, Year-Round

frfar
Containers on roof.

At this point, their business is breaking even.

By Jeremy Hobson
Here and Now
Feb 17, 2015

Excerpt:

In a city, you can grow enough produce using this technology to make a scaleable business. So you can sell wholesale as well as retail and have a real business,” Shawn told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.

The couple is currently growing greens including kale, cilantro, mustard greens and wild mint. Like a library of plants, the greens are neatly organized in towers of leafy green. Mustard greens, with their wasabi-like finish are something that restaurants request.

[Read more →]

February 27, 2015   Comments Off

What nobody told me about small farming: I can’t make a living

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People say we’re “rich in other ways,” but that doesn’t fix the ugly fact that most farms are unsustainable

By Jaclyn Moyer
Salon
Feb 9, 2015
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Whenever a customer asked how things were going, I replied, Great. I thought about the sinking ship, and never said, Well, we’re making ends meet, but we work 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and pay ourselves only what we need to cover food and household expenses: $100 per week. I didn’t tell anyone how, over the course of the last three years since Ryan and I had started our farm, I’d drained most of my savings. I didn’t admit that the only thing keeping the farm afloat was income Ryan and I earned through other means — Ryan working as a carpenter and I as a baker.

[Read more →]

February 11, 2015   Comments Off

Microsoft’s Café 34: Success with urban farming

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Photo credits: Scott Eklund. Pictured in image, Jessica Schilke.

The pair hopes to grow 100 percent of the Microsoft’s microgreens in house, or about 270 trays per week, by the beginning of the next fiscal year in July.

By Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff
February 9, 2015
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Welcome to Dining Microsoft’s urban farming experiment, where microgreens are used as a topping on pizzas and other dishes served at the café. They’re also often the finishing touch on entrees served in the adjacent “in.gredients,” a space created for local restaurateur John Howie and is currently home to guest chef Maria Hines of Tilth fame.

The greens, available in the café’s “Gather” salad bar, are often the first to go, says Jessica Schilke, urban farming specialist for Microsoft’s Dining and Beverage Services. “We get lots of great feedback about how they taste,” she adds.

[Read more →]

February 10, 2015   Comments Off

Real Food Farm in Baltimore continues to grow crops in the winter, employs city residents

Hearty greens like kale, spinach and arugula grow quite well during the winter.

Megan Knight
ABC2
Jan 16, 2015

Excerpt:

Real Food Farm sits on about six acres in Clifton Park, just off The Alameda. In the summer, it is a bustle of activity, with volunteers working under the hot sun harvesting crops. While it’s not quite as busy in the winter, but that doesn’t mean the farm gets a break.

“We’re here in an urban environment on smaller scale so we need to maximize our space and extend the growing season to have some income coming in the door year round,” said Tyler Brown, farm manager at Real Food Farm.

[Read more →]

February 6, 2015   Comments Off

From music man to urban farmer

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Green City Acres, a commercial urban micro farm in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

By Shayna Tanen
Gainsville Com
January 23, 2015

Excerpt:

He generates around $50,000 a year on about one-quarter of an acre of land, and he will show Gainesville residents how to make money by starting their own suburban micro farms.

“You can start farming anywhere and produce a considerable amount of product with really simple techniques,” Stone said.

[Read more →]

February 1, 2015   Comments Off

San Diego restaurant grows its own food on nearby farm

jollTheir one acre farm in Julian.

Girard Gourmet owners operate their very own one acre farm in Julian, sourcing fresh produce

By Jacob Jiron
Vertical PR Marketing
Jan 29, 2015

Excerpts:

As the “farm-to-fork” movement continues to gain momentum in the restaurant scene, the owners of Girard Gourmet in San Diego dare to take the concept to the next level. Owners, Francois and Diane Goedhuys, own and operate their very own one acre farm in Julian, sourcing fresh produce to include stone fruit, banana squash and a variety of herbs, which they incorporate into their seasonal dishes and libations.

[Read more →]

January 29, 2015   Comments Off

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.

[Read more →]

January 16, 2015   Comments Off

Asheville City’s Patchwork Urban Farms Fundraiser – North Carolina

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

From CommunityFunded.com
2015

Itemized Budget:

Soil Bank – animals
Integrate small animals as soil building systems
$5,000

Soil Bank – microbes
Fix our backpack sprayer, and fund our microscope and soil microbiology montoring so we can bring soil biology to super-vibrancy
$1,000

Soil Bank – biochar
Research and Development of an urban biochar facility
$2,000

Soil Bank –
OM Organic Matter additions to soil
$500

[Read more →]

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
Triblive
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014

Excerpt:

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.”

[Read more →]

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

SALA
2014/15

Excerpt:

“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.

[Read more →]

January 8, 2015   Comments Off