New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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Category — Entrepreneurs

‘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.

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February 27, 2015   No Comments

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

southp

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.

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February 11, 2015   Comments Off

Microsoft’s Café 34: Success with urban farming

microgr
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.

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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.

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February 6, 2015   Comments Off

From music man to urban farmer

microsto

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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
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.”

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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

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

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
Eco-Business
Dec 17, 2014

Excerpt:

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

rootsfa
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
Smithsonian
Dec 9, 2014

Excerpt:

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.

[Read more →]

December 21, 2014   Comments Off

For his mobile-farming, engineer receives Indira Gandhi Award

indiaf

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

By Naveeta Singh
DNAIndia
Dec 6, 2014

Excerpt:

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
KALW
Dec 3, 2014

Excerpt:

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.

Entrepreneur
Yahoo News
Dec 3, 2014

Excerpt:

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.

[Read more →]

December 10, 2014   Comments Off