With rising food costs and a bad economy, it is not easy for parents or schools to provide affordable nutritious meals, but as the incidence of childhood obesity continues to rise it is important that we try.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said a record 40 million Americans, or 1 in 8, may not be able to eat without government assistance. In addition to rising food costs, the majority of produce we are buying is less nutritious than in the past. In our current system we pick our produce weeks early so that it can ripen on the way to market. As a result, vegetables and berries are lacking most of the nutrients they develop in the last two weeks of ripening on the vine And the moment the produce is harvested it starts to lose nutrients. When you combine picking produce early with the loss of nutrients while transporting the produce to market, you get the negative effect that people must consume more today than in the past to acquire the same amount of nutrients.
My company Home Town Farms has a real solution that can solve most of these problems plus offer additional benefits. We moved the farm back into the city and urban areas using vertical Hydro-Organic growing systems. This is a fancy way of saying we use controlled growing in living soil. We will build these farms in the center of each community with direct sales to the people The bottom line is we can offer fresh, locally grown vine ripened organic vegetables and berries at conventional non-organic prices. This will allow every family in America access to “Whole Foods” quality of produce at affordable low prices.
Related to our overall food problems is the low quality of school lunches. We need to find a way to help our schools improve the quality of the food they feed our kids.
The problems we have are not the fault of the schools. They are given an unhealthy low budget and with a small budget come few choices and lower quality food. Now our kids are showing us the unhealthy effect with the fastest increase in child obesity in our history. We have been stuck in an old system that makes it extremely difficult for budgets to go up and food prices to go down. The solution is to change the system!
We have specifically designed a model that can help school districts across the country provide more nutritious, better tasting, locally grown vegetables and berries to our kids while reducing their food costs and providing a substantial amount of cash that the schools can use any way they see fit. This program does not require any investment or resources from the school other than land. Instead of forcing school districts to beg or sell their souls for money to companies who supply sweets and other unhealthy food to our kids, we help schools to take control of their future. The schools can now use positive ways to raise the much needed cash and at the same time provide more nutritious food for the kids, a win for everyone!
The benefits of commercial vertical organic urban farming are many:
Benefits to the Community
HomeTown Farms' farming methods offer many benefits to the communities it serves:
- Lower costs means that all consumers can afford locally grown organic produce.
- Higher food nutrient content since produce is vine ripened.
- Local sustainable jobs that stay local.
- Local supply of food in case of food shortages or disruption in the food supply.
- No chemicals in your food by eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides.
- Less processing and handling increases food safety.
Benefits for the Environment
The growing technologies we use work above ground and are not dependent on existing ground soil, we use our own living soils. Compared to conventional farming methods, the growing systems that Home Town Farms use generate remarkable environmental benefits.
- 85% less water required.
- 90% less fuel consumption.
- 90% less carbon footprint because of reduced fuel consumption.
- 80% less fertilizer consumed.
- 70% less land required.
HomeTown Farms and commercial vertical organic urban farming is not your usual “Clean” or “Green” company or industry but it saves more natural resources and reduces more pollution than any other industry in this country. It also provides additional benefits such as local jobs, improved food quality, reduction in harmful pesticides and herbicides, food security and affordable locally grown organic produce.
We use existing proven equipment and methods that are combined in a new way that is very profitable which will allow commercial vertical organic urban farming to flourish and spread across this country without subsidies. We all win and the environment wins as well!