For Eric Aguilar, the first seed of the farming dream started with a rather far-fetched idea about a high-tech spherical hydroponic farm. He was attracted to the way that hydroponics used science to achieve the goals of farming in more dynamic ways. Fortunately, the impractical part of that dream (the part with the multi-million dollar price tag) was sifted away, and the love for a science-driven farm remained.
Hundreds of years ago, the Texas panhandle was home to thousands of buffalo. After a few centuries of buffalo stomping on the ground, the soil was compacted and dense, leaving a challenge to future farmers.
Now, the land cattle country and home to thousands of acres of corn, wheat, milo, cotton, and other commodity crops grown by large farmers who have to amend the soil to make a living.
HATponics is what happened when somebody took that realization to heart.
The Upstart Farmers are a group of innovative farmers using ZipGrow technology on their farm. We get excited every time a new farmer joins the table, because each and every one of them bring unique ideas and passions with their businesses. This week, we're happy to welcome Freight Farmer Jerry Martin with his veteran run farm, Vet Veggies.
Urban farming is still pretty undefined. Everybody has a different definition of what it looks like, who it's for, and what the goals are. This can be a great thing because it means that there's plenty of undefined space left, making it easier for people to think outside the box.
You may have heard of Jeff Pernell's 'Space 200'. The compact, seismic-ready, mobile aquaponic system was built last year for the University of Montana.
Tired of the mysterious, wilted produce typical of the produce aisle in chain grocery stores, Tom Deacon, a film editor in New York, started rooting out avocado pits on a whim. A few months later he had a fleet of young avocado trees growing in the dead of winter, and an idea began to grow.
Anne Marie Blinco is a new Upstart Farmer who has big plans and big potential.
Anne Marie is located in the heart of Milton, Ontario Canada. She's excited by the prospect of growing fresh and welcoming greens regardless of temperatures, which range from -10 to 100+ degrees.
It's clear to us that Anne Marie's motivation isn't money, but rather the opportunity to develop and keep relationships with her community and to do fulfilling work that will have a positive domino effect on others.
"I have created Amaryllis to become a part of the solution of sustainable urban farming. After a career in shift work, it was time to change, from paramedic to farmer.
"It is time for me to give back. I will earn a living and share my livings. It excited me to create the programs I have, through creating my 'sponsor a youth' program, I have engaged my customers, made them feel good about buying my greens, not only because my greens are fantastic, but because my customers want to be a part of change and community. Together we are creating social change through food. "
Anne Marie's Farm, Amaryllis Garden Greens, is a Freight Farm (an acre worth of farming in a regular freight container, or 320 cubic feet) outfitted with ZipGrow Towers.
"The arrival of my freight farm has sparked an interest into our food system, how it's produced, [and] where it comes from. What is local really? My customers want local- real local. They want to know who is growing the food they are eating, they want to become more conscious, want a leader. "
Having raised four sons and been involved in sports her whole life, Anne Marie understands what a positive impact sports can have on the development of young world citizens. As part of her efforts to grow local food, Blinco is using some of Amaryllis' profits to sponsor young athletes who would otherwise not be able to compete.
We think that Amaryllis Garden Greens and Anne Marie's genuine passion are excellent additions to the Upstart Farmers! We can't wait to see what Anne Marie accomplishes in her community and beyond!
Learn more about Amaryllis on her Upstart Farmer page.
Or check her out on Facebook!
Check out Upstart University, the online training program to learning everything you need to become an Upstart Farmer. Courses made of videos, written content, quizzes, and assignments are designed to empower and equip you.
For $10 a month (redeemable at purchase), aspiring farmers have nothing to lose. Register now.