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Category — Entrepreneurs

Montreal is fertile ground for urban agriculture entrepreneurs

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Exterior of the rooftop greenhouse at Lufa Farms in Laval. Dario Ayala / Montreal Gazette File Photo

Urban agriculture projects are often not-for-profit, but the entrepreneurial spirit is also thriving in this sector.

By Donna Nebenzahl
Montreal Gazette
August 1, 2015

Excerpt:

And in Montreal West, a small enterprise called Bio-cyclette has uncovered a horticultural treasure along the edge of the railway tracks. Looking for more space to grow vegetables for their commercial urban farm, Annie McLaughlin and partner Konstantinos Hirtle-Kattou discovered the prolific fruit and vegetable plots that had been planted decades ago by Montrealers of Italian origin.

“These folks started farming there in the 1950s,” McLaughlin says, “and they’ve done some magic. Now they’re getting older and a lot of the land is riddled with weeds.”

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August 14, 2015   Comments Off on Montreal is fertile ground for urban agriculture entrepreneurs

NASA astronauts just ate food grown in space for the first time

For the first time in history, astronauts have eaten food grown in space.

By Joseph Stromberg
VOX Space
August 10, 2015

Excerpt:

As part of NASA’s VEG-01 experiment (nicknamed “VEGGIE”) aboard the International Space Station, they sampled red romaine lettuce that’s been growing in a specially designed chamber since early July, under the care of astronaut Scott Kelly. After Kjell Lindgren carefully cleaned the greens with sanitizing wipes to ensure they were clean, the duo and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui first tasted them around 12:45 ET on Monday — before trying them again with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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August 11, 2015   Comments Off on NASA astronauts just ate food grown in space for the first time

Urban farming bug bites long-time garden store owners in Cleveland

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A view inside Grace Brothers Urban Farm, Garden and Pet, located off W. 65th street in Cleveland, OH

“When I went to Ohio State for landscaping and horticulture, I never dreamed I’d be selling chickens and chicken feed one day,”

By Marcia Pledger,
The Plain Dealer
July 13, 2015

Excerpt:

Until three years ago, Grace had never been around a live chicken. Now he finds himself doing things like clipping chickens wings, so they can’t get away. He’s made new relations with all sorts of vendors ranging from Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs who sell him fresh eggs, butter, cheese, bacon, and pickles to gourmet items like bloody Mary mix and soaps. He also works with about 20 farmers who participate in the store’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.

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July 23, 2015   Comments Off on Urban farming bug bites long-time garden store owners in Cleveland

Seedsheet

seedbed

We offer 41 varieties of 100% organic non-GMO seeds for the pinnacle of delicious and nutritious

Excerpt from press release:

The Seedsheet is an ideally designed, pre-fab garden including seeds and soil that’s embedded within a weed barrier sheet. With a simple unfurling, a customer can lay their Seedsheet atop soil and effectively start an entire garden, as easily as making their own bed, in less than a minute. It is truly “plug and plant.” No measuring, no seeding, and no weeding.

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July 23, 2015   Comments Off on Seedsheet

Chicago to start urban agriculture produce bus in food deserts

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Angela Dejun, 33, shops for produce onboard the Fresh Moves bus parked outside the Lawndale Christian Health Center in 2012. Now the project is back. (Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Friday took another crack at launching a produce bus project that aims to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to parts of Chicago

By Bill Ruthhart
Chicago Tribune
July 10, 2015

Excerpt:

Asked what’s different about the program this time around, Allen didn’t hesitate: “We grow our own food.”

Under Food Desert Action’s previous business model, the foundation purchased produce and turned around and sold it on the buses, operating on thin price margins. Allen argued she has far less overhead than that previous setup since her nonprofit Growing Power, which started and still operates farms in Milwaukee, provides much of the food the bus will sell.

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July 20, 2015   Comments Off on Chicago to start urban agriculture produce bus in food deserts

A Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side in Berkeley


Mark Bittman samples plants growing along the sidewalks of Oakland, Calif., with Philip Stark and Tom Carlson from the University of California, Berkeley.
Not only can wild edibles be sold at markets and to restaurants, they’re essential in maintaining soil health

By Mark Bittman
New York Times
Jul. 9, 2015
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

With Stark and Carlson, everything was different. We parked our car at a corner in West Oakland and within seconds these gents were pointing out sow thistle, mallow, dock, sourgrass, and nearly everything else you see here. Most of it was good enough to eat on the spot; some of it would’ve benefited from cooking. A portion … well, I’d ignore.

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July 10, 2015   Comments Off on A Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side in Berkeley

Thesis: Business models in urban agriculture

wagroofPhoto by By Shuang Liu

Great diversity in their business operations was found among the 46 projects.

By Shuang Liu
Master thesis – Rural Sociology
for degree of the Master in Organic Agriculture at Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Via the blog of Han Wiskerke
Prof.dr.ir. J.S.C. Wiskerke
Professor and Chair of Rural Sociology
Feb 2015

Excerpt:

In this research, I took urban agriculture as a revenue generating and job creation activity by focusing on more market-oriented projects. I tried to describe individual urban agriculture business operations under the framework of the business model. An online questionnaire was distributed worldwide followed with statistical analysis. The questionnaire was designed using nine business building blocks from Business Model Canvas. Based on the reported business characteristics, a cluster analysis was performed in order to find patterns underlying the diversity of their businesses. In total 46 respondents from 18 countries across 6 continents completed the questionnaire and as sucht contributed to the results of my thesis.

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July 7, 2015   Comments Off on Thesis: Business models in urban agriculture

The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries off Noli, Italy

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June 27, 2015 Fontanesi checks on the immersed biospheres. The underwater greenhouses take advantage of the high carbon dioxide levels, allowing the plants inside to grow at accelerated rates. Photo by Olivier Morin.

The company plans to roll out a much smaller aquarium version of the biospheres that people can experiment with in their own homes

By Robert Gebelhoff
Washingtonn Post
June 30, 2015

Excerpt:

But this is no ordinary greenhouse: It’s 20 feet under water, anchored to the floor of the sea just off the coast of Noli, Italy.

This is Nemo’s Garden, an experimental project in its fourth year, operated as part of the family-run Ocean Reef Group.

The balloon-like biospheres take advantage of the sea’s natural properties to grow plants. The underwater temperatures are constant, and the shape of the greenhouses allows for water to constantly evaporate and replenish the plants.

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July 6, 2015   Comments Off on The world’s most beautiful greenhouses are underwater, and growing strawberries off Noli, Italy

National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant Aims to Assure Food Safety in Urban Gardens of Detroit

waynesUrban garden at Wayne State University. Photo by Julie O’Connor.

A team of researchers led by Wayne State University has recently launched an initiative to determine the prevalence of contaminants in urban agriculture soil in Detroit

Newswise
Wayne State University Division of Research
June 24, 2015

Urban gardens are becoming more commonplace across Detroit and other major urban cities throughout the United States. These gardens offer a source of free or inexpensive healthy food for the public and educate community members about food production and rehabilitating the local ecosystem. The revolution of urban agriculture has the potential to address many economic, environmental and personal health issues.

With urban agriculture gaining popularity for improving local and sustainable food systems, the question of food safety has become a growing concern. To ensure the safety and sustainability of this food supply, there is a need for more information on physical, chemical and biological contamination in urban agricultural environments, particularly contaminants such as heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, foodborne bacteria and more.

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July 4, 2015   Comments Off on National Institute of Food and Agriculture Grant Aims to Assure Food Safety in Urban Gardens of Detroit

Oregonians can now add four cannabis plants to their backyard vegetable gardens


Should I grow marijuana indoors or outdoors? | ‘Growing Grass’ (Part 1) In the first video of our growing marijuana series, we met with cannabis farmers, Michelle and Tyson Haworth, who explain the pros and cons of indoor and outdoor growing.

“If you leave them out in weeks of rain,” he said, “you will just get rotten marijuana.”

By Noelle Crombie
The Oregonian/OregonLive
June 27, 2015

Excerpt:

You’ve got to be 21 or older to possess and grow cannabis in Oregon and your yard should be a private place where neighbors and passersby can’t easily see your plants.

Oregon’s new marijuana law allows people not only to possess marijuana, but also to grow it at home. Every household may have up to four marijuana plants.

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June 29, 2015   Comments Off on Oregonians can now add four cannabis plants to their backyard vegetable gardens

Rooftop Reds Is Bringing Brooklyn’s First Rooftop Vineyard To The Brooklyn Navy Yard

wine

The first harvest from the Navy Yard roof is due to be ready in October 2016 and bottled for release by Autumn of 2017, but the first bottles of Rooftop Red — made from grapes grown in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York — are on sale now

By Heather Chin
Fort Green Focus
June 10, 2015

Excerpt:

Brooklyn entrepreneur and oenophile Devin Shomaker is pioneering New York City’s first ever “commercially viable rooftop vineyard,” Rooftop Reds, which partners with Finger Lakes-based Point of the Bluff Vineyards for distribution of bottles produced on the roof of Building 275 inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Word has been circulating since early 2014, when Shoemaker and co-founders Chris Papalia, Evan Miles, and Thomas Shomaker launched their Kickstarter funding effort, which was successfully funded by 203 donors of $16,820 total.

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June 17, 2015   Comments Off on Rooftop Reds Is Bringing Brooklyn’s First Rooftop Vineyard To The Brooklyn Navy Yard

Butterfly farm takes flight in Louisville, Kentucky

butBlair Leano-Helvey. (Photo: JAMES BRUGGERS/THE COURIER-JOURNAL)

She sells the butterflies for education and events, including weddings. Releasing butterflies at special events is better for the environment than releasing balloons, which litter and can harm wildlife, she said.

By James bruggers
Courier Journal
June 5, 2015

Excerpt:

Blair Leano-Helvey is bringing a new twist to Louisville’s growing urban agriculture scene. She’s started a butterfly farm.

“It’s just like any other farm,” she said. “It’s just that we have very small livestock.”

And colorful, too.

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June 14, 2015   Comments Off on Butterfly farm takes flight in Louisville, Kentucky

Urban missionary brings faith, hope and food to troubled inner city, South Dallas

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Bonton Farm-Works — an urban farm in the middle of a South Dallas food desert — exists to provide residents in the economically blighted area fresh produce, jobs and the possibility of life-transformation. (Photo by Ken Camp)

A former business exec turns his experience into an urban farming ministry aimed at providing physical and spiritual sustenance for those in need.

By Ken Camp
Baptist News
June 2, 2015

Excerpt:

When he talked to neighbors about making healthier decisions regarding diet, he learned they had no choices, other than from which liquor store or convenience store to buy junk food. Anyone wanting to shop at a full-service grocery store using public transportation had to endure a three-hour round-trip by bus.

So, Babcock bought the empty lot next to his house and planted a garden. He offered its produce to anyone willing to help tend it.

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June 8, 2015   Comments Off on Urban missionary brings faith, hope and food to troubled inner city, South Dallas

California’s Pollinate Farm & Garden Shop in Oakland

At 9:00 in the morning, Yolanda Burrell opens the store.Click on image for larger file.

Pollinate Farm & Garden is getting national attention from Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution documentary project.

By Alex Gaterud
fasthorseinc.com
May 28, 2015

Excerpt:

Birgitt Evans and Yolanda Burrell, dissatisfied with the growing gulf between people and the origins of their food, are on a mission to put the power of food back into consumers’ hands.

In 2013, they launched Pollinate Farm & Garden, a buzzing shop in Oakland featuring everything from a nursery to a chicken coop – and even a beehive in the backyard, from which the store produces and sells its own honey.

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June 3, 2015   Comments Off on California’s Pollinate Farm & Garden Shop in Oakland

The Kitchen Garden Goes High Tech

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Graphic by Christopher Silas Neal.

Of course, people don’t need technology to grow their own food. Urban gardeners have used cheap plastic gardening plates, pots and even casserole dishes to grow herbs and other foods.

By Jennifer Jolly
New York Times
May 19, 2015

Excerpt:

CounterCrop and Niwa, which retail for about $320 to $350, offer a wired step up from a window planter box — no dirt or green thumb needed. Each device lets you plant and grow a small crop of fresh vegetables.

CounterCrop is a self-contained, miniature garden with its own watering setup and advanced LED lights that mimic sunrise, sunset and seasonal shifts in nature. It’s nearly two feet long, one foot wide, and takes up the same amount of space as a medium-size microwave oven.

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May 19, 2015   Comments Off on The Kitchen Garden Goes High Tech