Rich hipsters in urban farming and terminator crops as pest control in vertical farms

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Two articles flew across my radar this Valentine’s Day and President’s Day weekend and I think you’ll find them pretty interesting.

Hipster Farmers and
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Fresh Water Greens: A Hydroponic Success Story

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With over 100 years of farming experience, when the Villari family decides to take us behind the curtain of their hydroponic business, you know it’s bound to be good.

Their success started with a 16 year old boy’s 75 mile walk in 1910. Sal Villari had just come from Italy with just a few words of English and enough money to buy cattle in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the only place he could market his cattle was in Philadelphia and the only way he could get there was on foot. Since then the Villari farm has grown; from traditional Lancaster pasture land to a quintessential Italian vinyard, the fourth generation of Villaris are now making a splash (ha!) in hydroponics.

In this interview and case study:

  • Regina and Joe Villari take us through their business and answer some of the most common questions the Urban Vertical Project gets about hydroponic farming.
  • I summarize their data and compare it with some of the other operations we’ve looked at in order to give you the most information and context possible to plan your own endeavor.
  • I examine the cost/ sq foot of a ground-level hydroponic greenhouse and compare that with a rooftop vertical farm.
  • We also look at a really effective marketing technique Regina and Joe are using that just might blow the lid off of the organic label.

A Hydroponic Success Story

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Hacking USDA organic for your vertical farm

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The National Organic Standards Board keeps making the same, big mistake. They don’t want to give vertical farming a place in organic agriculture. This piece examines their arguments and how enterprising vertical farmers may be able to get around them.

how to get usda organic certification for vertical farms
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3 Principles of Permaculture Made Better by Vertical Farms

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“Permaculture is a philosophy of…protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labor.”

—Bill Mollison

By now, I’ll have started my month in Chile on an organic, permaculture farm called CIHOL.  My hope is to work with CIHOL to find a way to reconcile the sterile perception of vertical farming with the holistic, resilient philosophy of permaculture design.

3 Principles of Permaculture

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