Urban Farming – Helping to Solve Our Food System Crisis

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by mike speights, co-founder – The Foodery

October 20, 2012

Each day we take witness to evidence of the causes and ramifications of our country’s badly broken food system- the diabetes and obesity epidemics, rising medical costs and lack of sustainably raised food to name a few.  One can easily get overwhelmed when considering the sheer magnitude of the problem.  But thankfully each day individuals and businesses are stepping up to do their part in solving the crisis in some very traditional and non-traditional fashions. 

This past week, one such company, FarmedHere , announced plans to expand their urban farming operations in Chicago with a new 90,000 square foot vertical farming facility.  You might be asking yourself- “farming facility?”  Well, FarmedHere is not a farm in the traditional sense.  They grow USDA organic certified produce indoors utilizing various alternative growing systems such as hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics.  Their growing methods are some of the most sustainable, reducing the use of both energy and water, shortening the growing cycle and because they’re indoors, produce can be grown year-round.  What’s also interesting about the recent FarmedHere announcement is that it’s supported by Whole Foods via their Local Producer Loan Program.  Whole Foods is a devoted supporter of farmers and food artisans, providing up to $10 million annually in low-interest loans to budding businesses.  The program issued a loan of $100,000 to FarmedHere. 

We know that part of the answer to our food system crisis is simply more farmers- today a mere 1% of our population considers themselves farmers versus 20% some 80 years ago.  But we also need to be open to using alternative growing practices such as aquaponics- a methodology that dates back to the Aztecs.  These practices fit perfectly into the urban landscape, massively reduce the travel time of our produce (saving energy) and offer prospects for a new industry and jobs. 

Take a peek at the following video explaining their aquaponics growing method, which is a food production system combining aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water):

Redefining Roots [Episode 3] “Farmed Here” from A Sustainable Reality on Vimeo.

© 2012 The Foodery.  The Foodery is committed to farms that utilize sustainable farming practices- both traditional and non-traditional.  We utilize their sustainable, organic, local produce to craft and deliver meals for busy professionals and families who value pure food.