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Category — Entrepreneurs

Cincinnati, Ohio agricultural entrepreneurs are growing a big crop of tiny greens – and doing it indoors

Waterfields sells to region’s top restaurants

By Jenny Burman,
WCPO contributor
Sep 24, 2015


In Cincinnati, one of those urban farm-organics “intersections” has an entryway on a narrow alley off Baymiller Street in West End. Here, Waterfields, a company that grows microgreens — plants that are served as seedlings at about 1-1/2 to 3 inches — maintains a hydroponic facility on the first floor of former slaughterhouse. At a different location, Waterfields grows edible flowers.

Waterfields began as a service to local chefs; it now also has products available to the public at Madison’s next to Findlay Market, Clifton Natural Foods and Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield.

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October 3, 2015   No Comments

FoodChain in Lexington, Kentucky, provides education and hands-on training for indoor sustainable food production and processing

Rebecca Self of FoodChain, an urban agriculture nonprofit, posed with greens being grown along with tilapia fish in an aquaponics system. The greens and fish are sold to restaurants. By Tom Eblen.

Since September 2013, FoodChain has been producing about 30 pounds of greens and a dozen tilapia each week.

By Tom Eblan
September 20, 2015


The fish and most of the greens are bought by Smithtown Seafood. Blue Moon Farm distributes excess greens to other restaurants.

The aquaponics system works like this: waste grain from the brewery is fed to the fish, whose waste water provides the nutrients for lettuce and other greens to be grown under energy-efficient indoor lighting.

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September 26, 2015   No Comments

Seed by seed, acre by acre, big data is taking over the farm


Big-data firms can test varieties of seeds across hundreds of fields, soils, and climates. And in the same way that Google can identify flu outbreaks based on where web searches are originating, analyzing crops across farms helps identify diseases that could ruin a harvest.

By Dan Bobkoff
Business Insider
Sept 15, 2015


This is some of what big-data analytics make possible on the modern farm: Sensors can tell how effective certain seed and types of fertilizer are in different sections of a farm. Software will instruct the farmer to plant one hybrid in one corner and a different seed in another for optimum yield. It can adjust nitrogen and potassium levels in the soil in different patches. And this information can be fed to companies like Monsanto to improve hybrids.

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September 16, 2015   Comments Off on Seed by seed, acre by acre, big data is taking over the farm

World’s Most Influential Restaurant in Copenhagen to Reopen as Urban Farm

René Redzepi at the site of the new Noma just outside the border of Copenhagen’s Christiania neighborhood. Credit Laerke Posselt for The New York Time.

As a crucial part of that, René Redzepi wants to transform this decrepit patch of land into a state-of-the-art urban farm, with Noma at its center.

By Jeff Gordiniersept
New York Times
Sept 14, 2015


“It makes sense to do it here,” he said, despite visual evidence to the contrary. “It makes sense to have your own farm, as a restaurant of this caliber.” His plans are nothing if not ambitious. He will put a greenhouse on the roof. He will dig out the dank old asphalt lot and truck in fresh soil. He wants part of the farm to float.

“We’ll build a raft and we’ll put a huge field on the raft,” he said. “We need a full-time farmer with a team.”

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September 15, 2015   Comments Off on World’s Most Influential Restaurant in Copenhagen to Reopen as Urban Farm

Local farmer in Denver brings unique business to residents’ backyards in Golden

denvfSean Conway picks squash and beans at a residence in Golden on Aug. 19. Conway is a local farmer and owner of Micro Farms. He grows produce to sell at local farmers markets. (Seth McConnell, YourHub)

Micro Farms profits from plots while homeowners share in harvest

By Josie Klemaier
Denver Post
Aug 27, 2015


JEFFERSON COUNTY —Sean Conway will come to your home and tend your yard, but he is not your average gardener. Actually, he is a farmer.

Conway’s Lakewood-based business Micro Farms pedals fresh produce that is grown in small plots in residents’ backyards. Property owners do not have to do any of the work, and they get a share of the crop in exchange for allowing him to farm their land.

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September 3, 2015   Comments Off on Local farmer in Denver brings unique business to residents’ backyards in Golden

Afterhouse turns blighted buildings into urban agriculture hot spots in Detroit


Afterhouse wants to grow the city’s urban agriculture sector by putting vacant buildings to use.

By Jon Zemke
Aug 25, 2015


The Detroit-based company, which calls the Banglatown neighborhood just north of Hamtramck home, is working to take the worst of the worst when it comes to blight and turn them into new urban farming hotspots. The idea is to raze the building and turn the leftover basement into a subterranean greenhouse.

Steven Mankouche and Abigal Murray are partnering to get Afterhouse off the ground — or under it, really. Murray was inspired to launch the venture after seeing subterranean hoop houses in South America.

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September 2, 2015   Comments Off on Afterhouse turns blighted buildings into urban agriculture hot spots in Detroit

Elegant Farm is a vertical hydroponic growing system for your home

Beer Growler Elegant Farm ~ Add your favourite craft beer growler to complete the kit.

From their Kickstarter campaign:
Sept 1, 2015

It occupies 1 square foot of space, costs 3¢ a week in electricity and grows year-round. It’s also handmade in North America from 93% biodegradable and recycled materials such as rope, leather, recycled glass bottles, wood, and steel, maybe a growler and some tubing and fittings.

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September 1, 2015   Comments Off on Elegant Farm is a vertical hydroponic growing system for your home

China: They left city jobs to farm roaches in their home village

Mr Wu Songqing with the mulberry branches he uses to grow mu’er. The finance graduate moved back to his village of Guanhe in Anhui province to grow the edible black fungus because he wanted to make a difference. Photo: The Straits Times

Mr Wu’s entrepreneurial story began in 2013 when he realised – on a visit home – that villagers who were breeding silkworms in mulberry trees were discarding their branches. But these were ideal for growing high-quality mu’er.

By Esther Teo
The Straits Times
Aug 23, 2015


It’s the stuff of nightmares. A single light bulb hangs by a wire from the ceiling of a damp, dimly lit room with hundreds of thousands of cockroaches scurrying about.

Some 400,000, to be exact. They dart between cardboard and egg cartons strung together to provide the dark hiding places they prefer.

It might be creepy to most people, but these six-legged critters being bred for their medicinal properties are rich pickings for 24-year-old Mr Qian Cheng.

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August 31, 2015   Comments Off on China: They left city jobs to farm roaches in their home village

Montreal is fertile ground for urban agriculture entrepreneurs

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


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


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

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


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



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

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


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)


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 J.S.C. Wiskerke
Professor and Chair of Rural Sociology
Feb 2015


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