Tag Archives: farmers market

Ready, Set, Go: Spring Is Coming To Connecticut

Future Growing® vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® farms range in size from 10-tower turnkey micro-farms to large-scale acreage located under controlled environment greenhouses. Because of the modular nature of the technology and extraordinary growing power of the system, we see our farms popping up in incredibly unique and diverse locations. The Iron Towers urban farm in Middletown, CT is certainly no exception!

Jessica Solé with freshly harvested “living” lettuce.

Iron Towers owner Jessica Solé with freshly harvested “living” lettuce. (Click photo to enlarge)

The Iron Scissors Salon and Spa underwent an extreme makeover in 2013. People passing by the salon couldn’t help but notice the large vertical garden—the first of its kind in Connecticut—in the salon’s front parking lot.

Owner Jessica Solé says the garden is an extension of her philosophy that clients should leave her establishment looking and feeling their best. “We’re very cutting-edge here, and wellness is a big trend,” Solé told the Middletown Press. “Our mission is to get people to feel their best, inside and out.”

“The growing system is cutting-edge also, using aeroponic Tower Gardens® to grow the plants instead of soil. The system was developed by Future Growing®, a company Tim Blank founded following his work at Disney’s exhibit on The Land at EPCOT Center Theme Park. The Tower Garden® is a completely self-contained system that can be used anywhere. Once plugged in, the unit recycles the water every 15 minutes, creating a soothing ‘waterfall’ sound effect. There are no weeds to deal with, and the system lends itself well to natural and ecological pest control. Iron Towers’ plants grow much quicker than they would if they were grown in soil,” Sole told the newspaper.

Jessica Solé with newly harvested “living” kale.

Jessica Solé with newly harvested “living” kale.
(Click photo to enlarge)

While most produce Americans consume produce that is contaminated with pesticides, Iron Towers does not use any pesticides in its operation. “We love to take lettuce right off the towers and feed our clients, knowing that they are eating high quality, chemical-free plants,” Solé said.

This spring, the Iron Scissors Tower Garden® farm is expected to start growing nearly 500 plants, including squash, hot peppers, tomatoes, mixed lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, zucchini, cucumbers, dill, basil, and arugula. The salon is expanding to offer counseling on health and nutrition, and installed a juice bar. Produce from the farm is available at a mini farmers’ market, and — in a first for the Tower Garden® — will be used in masks for the spa, and in salads for its clients.

The Iron Scissors staff,

The Iron Scissors “Tower Team”. (Click photo to enlarge)

The Iron Towers urban farm will be open in mid-April and will have fresh produce, seedlings, and gardening classes available throughout the spring and summer. Iron Towers Farm is located in front of the Iron Scissors Salon at 330 South Main Street in Middletown, CT. You can also call Iron Scissors at 860-344-8418.

Keep up the great work, Iron Towers!

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


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Future Growing® Hits a Home Run with Aeroponic Tower Garden® Farm!

Giants Garden

An artists’ rendering of the Giants Garden, a 3,000-square-foot organic garden slated to open this summer at AT&T Park. Believed to be the first of its kind at an American sports venue, the edible garden will supply produce for some of the parks’ concessions and serve as an open-air dining area and community classroom.
Image courtesy of EDG Design Group. (Click photo to enlarge)

Future Growing’s® Tower Gardens® are set to knock it out of the park this summer, when Giants Garden, a 3,000-square-foot vertical organic garden, opens at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Believed to be the first of its kind at an American sports venue, the edible garden will supply produce for some of the parks’ concessions and serve as an open-air dining area and community classroom.

The ballpark farm won’t be Future Growing’s® first foray into the record books. Leading the local food movement, Future Growing® has held the record of the “first of its kind in the world” farms for the past five years.

Step Up On Vine

2013: Former President Bill Clinton toured Step Up On Vine’s rooftop farm in Los Angeles. Future Growing® opened Step Up On Vine’s rooftop farm, the world’s first aeroponic rooftop farm featuring housing units for the homeless. Step Up On Vine is also the first “green” building with a rooftop aeroponic farm, helping it to qualify as LEED “Platinum” by the U.S. Green Building Council. (Click photos to enlarge)

Rouse's Supermarket

2012: Future Growing® opened Rouses Supermarket’s “Roots on the Rooftop” farm in New Orleans, the world’s first roof-to-supermarket aeroponic farm. (Click photo to enlarge)

O'Hare Urban Garden

2011: Future Growing® opened O’Hare Urban Garden at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, the world’s first aeroponic farm inside an airport terminal. All of the Tower Garden® produce from the O’Hare Urban Garden is hand-delivered to the airport’s eateries and the O’Hare Farmers Market inside the terminal. (Click photo to enlarge)

Bell Book & Candle rooftop

2010: Future Growing® opened Manhattan’s first roof-to-table aeroponic farm for Chef John Mooney’s Bell Book & Candle eatery. (Click photo to enlarge)

Sky Growers

2009: Future Growing opened Sky Growers in Orlando, Florida, the world’s first certified “green” building with commercially-scaled aeroponics incorporated onto the rooftop. (Click photo to enlarge)

You can learn about each of these record-setting projects and more at www.FutureGrowing.com.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC

Airports Going Green With Local Food

Harvesting freshly-picked “living” bibb lettuce.

O’Hare farm manager harvesting freshly-picked “living” bibb lettuce.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Future Growing® began working with HMSHost Corp. and Chicago O’Hare International Airport in 2010, to develop the world’s first farm inside an airport terminal. Since then, the O’Hare Urban Farm has become the most successful and productive farm inside an airport. The Farm not only supplies the airport’s high quality and celebrity restaurants, such as Tortas Frontera Grill by Rick Bayless, but also supplies the successful Farmer’s Market at O’Hare.

O’Hare is also home to the International Airports Going Green Conference, which was held last week and boasted a record attendance of 400. Airports Going Green is one of aviation’s leading sustainability forums, bringing leaders together to discuss how airports, airlines, and the aviation industry as a whole can grow while minimizing impacts to the environment.

O’Hare and Future Growing® have been at the forefront of this sustainability and eco-friendly revolution in the aviation industry, pioneering the world’s first commercial aeroponic farm inside an airport.

I am pleased to see that other airports have begun following O’Hare’s example and have incorporated growing as a sustainable component in their overall green initiatives. Check out this recent blog I came across, which reveals how local food is being grown in airports across the U.S.!

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


While rushing to board your next flight, you might not expect farmers’ markets and urban farms among the airport’s fast food joints, mani-pedi stations, and newsstands. At four U.S. airports, however, travelers are encountering exactly that. Check out how the local food movement has arrived at airline terminals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

JetBlue’s Pop-Up Farmers’ Market at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport:

From October 29-31, JetBlue hosted a pop-up farmers’ market at New York’s JFK in partnership with GrowNYC, which operates the city’s 52 greenmarkets. The market, located beyond security in Terminal 5, featured items designed to appeal to both passengers boarding a flight and arriving travelers who wanted to pick up something healthy to eat or give as a gift. The products were all grown or made in New York state, including baked goods, grains, honey, jams, maple syrup, fruit, pickles, tomato sauces, wine, beer, and hard cider. The market also included education stations, a harvest-themed photo booth, a bike blender for people-powered smoothies, a compost pile with live worms, and a recycling game.

Farmers market at JFK Airport

A pop-up farmers market at the JetBlue terminal at New York’s JFK airport. (Photo courtesy of JetBlue.)

“When you think of an airport, farms and composting do not automatically come to mind,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability. “We are connecting the two because we know sustainability is an ongoing cycle. The nutritious scraps of food we compost in T5 are returned to the ground to help make New York produce.” The airline started a composting program in May with Air Ventures, the franchisee that owns and operates the Jamba Juice and Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in the terminal, and Royal Waste Services to separate and haul nearly 300 pounds of food waste each day for composting. Food scraps are transported to McEnroe Farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley, where it is composted into nutrient-rich soil and used to grow produce.

While the JFK farmers’ market was a short-term test, the airline has not ruled out hosting the concept again in New York or in other cities.

O’Hare Airport’s aeroponic garden:

At O’Hare Airport’s Aeroponic Urban Garden, plants are harvested year-round and supply airport restaurants. Installed in the summer of 2011 as a joint collaboration between the Chicago Dept. of Aviation and HMSHost Corp., O’Hare’s 928-square-foot aeroponic garden is the first of its kind to be located in an airport.

O'Hare Urban Garden

O’Hare International Airport’s Urban Garden.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3, the plants are suspended in 26 vertical towers that employ sustainable “green” technology, developed by Future Growing LLC, to grow more than 1,100 plants, including a variety of culinary herbs, gourmet lettuces, leafy greens, and other vegetables. The plants are harvested year-round and supply airport restaurants such as Tortas Frontera, Wolfgang Puck, and Wicker Park Sushi, meaning the produce may go only 20 feet from farm to table. In addition, some of the “living lettuce”—with roots intact for premium freshness—is harvested, packaged in biodegradable clamshells, and sold to airport guests. By avoiding the need to transport produce over long distances, the O’Hare Urban Garden plants can be picked at the peak of ripeness, thus providing both greater nutrition and more flavorful produce.

Some of the O’Hare Urban Garden’s living lettuce is packaged in biodegradable clamshells and sold to guests at the airport’s “farmers market”.

Some of the O’Hare Urban Garden’s living lettuce is packaged in biodegradable clamshells and sold to guests at the airport’s “farmers market”.

Producing and purchasing locally grown foods supports the Chicago Dept. of Aviation’s commitment to sustainability by strengthening the local economy and job market, providing a unique learning opportunity for travelers, and reducing urban sprawl, traffic congestion, habitat loss, and pollution from transportation of produce.

Napa Farms Market at San Francisco Airport

Napa Farms Market inside Terminal 2 at San Francisco Airport. (Photo: Vickie Clampett.)

Napa Farms Market inside Terminal 2 at the San Francisco Airport:

Modeled after San Francisco’s famous Ferry Building Marketplace, the 5,000-square-foot Napa Farms Market inside Terminal 2 at the San Francisco Airport opened in April 2011. The market’s mission is to sell fresh, sustainable products from local brands like Equator Coffee, Tyler Florence’s Rotisserie, Cow Girl Creamery, Kara’s Cupcakes, Vino Volo, and Acme Bakery. The market was developed by Tastes on the Fly, four Bay Area restaurant entrepreneurs who joined forces in 1999 to develop and operate food-and-beverage concepts in U.S. airports. To ensure authenticity, they worked with retail marketplace developer Steve Carlin, who spearheaded the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace and founded Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.

Plans for Farmers Market To Go at Los Angeles Airport:

After nearly 80 years at Third and Fairfax in Los Angeles, the Original Farmers Market is expanding with a new location at Los Angeles International Airport. Scheduled to open early next year in Delta Air Lines Terminal 5, the mini market will offer selected goods from Original Farmers Market sellers, including wines and cheeses from Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market, nuts and nut butters from Magee’s House of Nuts, authentic Mexican cuisine from ¡Loteria! Grill, baked pastries and desserts from T & Y Bakery, Bennett’s Ice Cream, spices from Dragunara Spice Bazaar, and treats for traveling pups from Three Dog Bakery. In addition to the market, meals-to-go and on-site dining will be available. The airport market also will have iPads and kiosks that provide fun facts about Market merchants and their shops.


The article quoted in this week’s blog post is courtesy of Sustainable America (www.sustainableamerica.org), an organization which supports growing, buying, and eating more locally sourced, fresh food, as well as initiatives like locating farmers’ markets and urban farms in unexpected locations to increase people’s awareness of and access to local food systems. Alternative farming methods, which currently total about 3 percent of U.S. food production, have the potential to increase our food supply while reducing energy use. To help head off an impending food and fuel crisis, Sustainable America aims to reduce U.S. oil consumption by 50% by 2030 while increasing U.S. food availability by 50% by 2035.

Tower to Table Starts at Home

Each week, I am privileged to share about a new or current vertical urban farmer making a positive difference in a unique way. However, this week I am breaking the trend and sharing another side of the Future Growing® story, one which demonstrates how homeowners are evolving into one of the fastest-growing sectors of the local food movement today.

Thanks to the partnership Future Growing® established with Juice Plus® for our residential/homeowner division in early 2011, the patented, vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® has now become the most widely-used and successful form of outdoor hydroponics in home gardens across the United States and Canada.

Tower Garden

Tower Garden® vertical aeroponic growing system.

Tim Blank, creator of the Tower Garden

Tim Blank, developer of the Tower Garden® and founder/CEO of Future Growing LLC, blends freshly-harvested vegetables.  (Click photo to enlarge)

How did this all happen? Years ago, before the local food movement had really emerged into what it is today, we began developing the patented Tower Garden® into the world’s first, simplified, “plug-and-play” outdoor aeroponics vegetable garden. Our vision was that every family in America and across the world would someday have the opportunity to grow healthy fruits and vegetables in the comfort of their own back yards or balconies.

We believed that the future of health care would have to transform from “disease care” to establishing healthy lifestyles for disease prevention. Modern science has now shown that more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet—replacing processed foods, sugar, dairy, and meats—leads to a longer and more robust life with less chronic disease. It is really just that simple.

To help enable families to garden in the modern era, where both parents work and space is limited, gardening had to become fun, simplified, and easy to do—which has now become the Tower Garden® way. Through the process of living a healthier life, each family is also reducing its carbon footprint, water, and land use, while consuming produce that is extraordinarily healthy, nutritious, and free of harmful chemicals or diseases often found in today’s food supply.

Tim Blank speaks at Juice Plus conference

Tim Blank speaks at the recent Juice Plus+ Leadership Conference in Orlando, FL.  (Click photo to enlarge)

Last weekend, I attended and presented at the Tower Garden Juice Plus Leadership Conference at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, Florida. What an amazing event! More than 5,000 health and wellness individuals attended, including several hundred medical doctors, nurses, and health professionals.Tower Gardens at preschool

Walking the halls of this event, I observed the extraordinary vitality and health of people that consume a diet filled with fruits and vegetables. I had the opportunity to learn from several of the country’s top doctors about current research and the practical application of adding more fruits and vegetables to our diet. I was excited to learn from Dr. Bill Sears, “America’s Pediatrician”, who spoke on children’s health.

Dr. Bill Sears

Dr. Bill Sears


Dr. David Katz

Dr. David Katz

Then, Dr. David Katz enlightened the audience as he spoke about “Sense, Science, and Bridging the Gap of our Nation’s Diet”.

Dr. Sears and Dr. Katz were just a few of the amazing doctors presenting at the conference. The common thread all the expert health professionals shared was that eating more fruits and vegetables is essential to good health, and we now have an established mountain of modern science to prove that.

If you want to learn more about the amazing Tower Garden® for home use, you can visit http://www.TowerGarden.com. Our mission: Inspiring Healthy Living Around the World.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


California Entrepreneur Leads Rooftop Tower Garden® Farm To Extraordinary Success

Chapala Gardens

This week, I am re-posting a blog I shared in April, about Chapala Gardens’ rooftop farm. Since my visit this spring, Jake Kelly’s farm continues to expand and realize significant success.

This extraordinary young woman has really become an important part of the local food scene in Santa Barbara, Calif. If you live in Santa Barbara and want to buy local food, you can find Jake and her delicious, chemical-free local produce at the Sunday Farmer’s Market in Goleta from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Chapala Gardens is also open for shopping on Tuesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and on Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

For Chapala Garden’s address and directions, visit www.ChapalaGardens.com. If you live on the east coast, see Jake in Orlando, Florida on Thursday, October 17. She will be providing training on the patented Tower Garden® technology at the Tower Garden/Juice Plus Fall Leadership Conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, October 17 through October 19.

Chapala Gardens

Chapala Gardens’ rooftop farm in Santa Barbara, CA. Almost a ton of produce can be harvested annualy from this small rooftop. (Click photo to enlarge)

Now in its second year of operation, Chapala Gardens has been extraordinarily successful in making local, healthy, chemical-free, low-carbon footprint food readily available to its friends and neighbors in Santa Barbara.

Behind every successful “green” business is a person with a passion, and that is certainly true for 25-year-old Jake Kelly, the head grower for Chapala Gardens. Jake has been passionate about growing healthy food since she was young girl. She grew up in Waldorf Education, where farming was part of the curriculum. After she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, she went to Europe to work and learn on organic farms.

Jake Kelly

Jake Kelly holds a bouquet of lettuce.
(Click photo to enlarge)

While she was away, her parents Joy and Sandy decided to open California’s first vertical aeroponic Future Growing® rooftop farm. When she returned home, Jake immediately took on the role as head grower of Chapala Gardens and launched the thriving business.  Jake was recently nominated for Young Female Entrepreneur 2013 in Santa Barbara CA.

Now, Jake’s rooftop farm is home to 40 commercial Tower Gardens® with 44 plants per tower.

Jake’s successful business has 3 main areas of focus:

  1. Providing food for the community through the local farmers market.
  2. Leading a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.
  3. Educating and training people how to do the same thing right in their own back yard.
Jake Kelly

Jake Kelly with freshly harvested “living” lettuce.
(Click photo to enlarge)

As a young woman with a big heart who cares about the planet and humanity, Jake is on a mission to show people that there is a solution to the environmental challenges we all face with new and innovative green technologies.

At a recent health and wellness event, Jake shared, “We are simply running out of water in California and no one knows what to do! I do know what to do, and I have a solution. I can grow an enormous amount of plants vertically on my rooftop and patio with as little as five percent of the water as the farmers up the road. I don’t use contaminated water, herbicides, or harmful chemicals. My food is nutrient-dense, clean, and free of harmful pathogens. We can all do this; it is really simple and it’s the right thing to do!”

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


Let’s All Welcome National Kale Day: October 2, 2013

Kale growing at Montecito Urban Farms

Kale power at Montecito Urban Farms, Summerland, CA. (Click photo to enlarge)

Last spring, a band of kale lovers that included Dr. Drew Ramsey, formed a team to spread the message about the benefits of kale. Kale and other farm-fresh, nutrient-dense, whole foods are arguably more available than at any time in recent history.

“Team Kale”, composed of chefs, nutritionists, doctors, farmers, food advocates, parents, health coaches, and activists, went to work building http://www.nationalkaleday.org, a site that is full of recipes, resources, and a free “Kale Hero” Toolkit.

Iron Towers Urban Farm

Iron Towers Urban Farm in Middletown, CT.
(Click photo to enlarge)

The inaugural National Kale Day was October 2, and President Barack Obama has been petitioned to officially make Kale Day the first Wednesday of each October. You can aid this effort by visiting http://www.nationalkaleday.org/petition.

Kale at Montecito Urban Farms

Kale “Tower of Power” at Montecito Urban Farms, Summerland, CA.
(Click photo to enlarge)

On this remarkable date, the “Kale Heroes” celebrated kale around the country and the world. School cafeterias, hospitals, restaurants, and farmers’ markets participated.

I had a chance to visit with Dr. Ramsey during the Google event on that day. See what the excitement was all about!

Tim Blank

Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC

El Encanto Hotel by Orient-Express Becomes the First in the Portfolio to Boast a Futuristic Vertical Aeroponic Farm

Each week, I have the privilege of sharing a new urban growing adventure that revolves around a vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® farm by Future Growing®. I am always amazed by where the adventure takes us and the new and exciting venues that will be home to one of our farms. This week is certainly no exception, as the world-renowned Orient-Express adds a Future Growing® farm to its El Encanto Hotel in Santa Barbara, California.

The Orient Express

The Orient Express

The Orient-Express story, in their words:

“There’s often more to a name than meets the eye. We’re fortunate that ours has symbolized the world’s most romantic railway journey for over a century. But today it stands for so much more.

“Since the acquisition of Venice’s Hotel Cipriani in 1976, new hotels, trains, and river cruisers worldwide have joined our collection. Many of these, such as The Ritz in Madrid, St. Petersburg’s Grand Hotel Europe, and Rio’s Copacabana Palace, are destinations in their own right.

“Beach resorts, safaris, restaurants, and luxury trains have joined the portfolio as it has expanded over the years. All have their own names and personalities and are managed by local teams who regard them as ‘their’ properties. The teams are encouraged to innovate and to contribute new ideas.”

The El Encanto Hotel truly embodies the Orient-Express vision of local management contributing new ideas and innovation at each location. In the news article below, Chef Patrice Martineau of El Encanto shares how “fresh”, “seasonal”, and “local” have become the undisputed culinary buzzwords at top temples of haute cuisine.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


Hotel Restaurants Get to Gardening, by http://www.departures.com

Over the last few years, some hotels around the world have turned to on-site kitchen gardens, growing herbs and maybe the occasional tomato, to stay abreast of the “fresh and local” trend. But these early efforts often felt like window dressing—initiatives that didn’t affect the food all that much. You might find some homegrown basil on a caprese salad or a few microgreens atop a sous-vide heritage-breed pork loin, but it seemed like hotels continued to procure most major produce by more conventional (read: “corporate”) means.

Patrice Martineau

Chef Patrice Martineau of El Encanto, who is holding a tray of seedlings at his Tower Garden® farm.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Not any more. A handful of hotels, both new and old, have begun building more serious chef’s gardens—quasi-farms that are leading to big-picture reevaluations of restaurant concepts and top-to-bottom menu overhauls.

One of the most recent arrivals is at iconic El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California (800 Alvarado Place; 805-845-5800; http://www.elencanto.com), which reopened this spring after a seven-year, $134 million renovation by Orient-Express. Here, chef Patrice Martineau planted not one but two gardens: A traditional plot for the likes of eggplant and peppers, and a vertical Tower Garden® farm started in partnership with Montecito Urban Farms.

The Tower Garden® farm was sourced from Future Growing LLC, and is used to grow a variety of lettuces, kale, arugula, herbs, and edible flowers. On the inside of each growing tower, plant roots are suspended roots in midair, letting them soak in a natural, nutrient-rich solution that allows them to mature faster than normal. The results have turned up in a dish of Provençal-style vegetables, chilled tomato soup and lemon-basil risotto, with more planned for autumn.

Spring also saw the addition of a large garden on the park-like acreage of Il Salviatino (21 Via del Salviatino; 39-055/904-1111; http://www.salviatino.com), a three-year-old villa hotel just outside of Florence, Italy. Chef Carmine Calò—who has worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants—designed a growing space for the necessities of Italian cooking. Already the 300 plants (eggplants, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers) are producing a quarter of the vegetables used in the restaurant, whose concept Calò will adapt as the vegetation develops and expands. Fall menus will feature dishes using yellow pumpkin, black and savoy cabbages and chard. By spring 2014, Calò says he expects nearly two thirds of the restaurant’s produce to come from the garden, with new plantings of celery, carrots, spring onions, garlic and zucchini.

In the English countryside, on the pastoral border between Dorset and Northampton, the country house hotel Chewton Glen (New Forest District, New Milton; 44-14/2527-5342; http://www.chewtonglen.com) debuted an expansive chef’s kitchen garden last year, plus a newly planted orchard of some 200 trees. Overseen by an in-house, full-time gardener, the plots provide the hotel with thousands of pieces of fruits and veggies every week, including radishes, beans, ruby chard, black kale, fennel, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, herbs and edible flowers. Chef Andrew Du Bourg’s stuffed zucchini flowers were one of the most popular items on the menu this summer; this fall he’ll pair homegrown borlotti beans with a dish of braised lamb brisket and crispy sweetbreads.