Tag Archives: food service

True Garden: Solving the Southwest’s Water Crisis With Innovation

True Garden’s greenhouse is located near Phoenix, Arizona.

True Garden’s greenhouse is located near Phoenix, Arizona. (Click photo to enlarge)


True Garden greenhouse

Thinking Green: True Garden’s greenhouse optimizes natural, convection-based, roof venting for energy efficient climate control. (Click photo to enlarge)

Phoenix, Arizona-based True Garden is the premier vertical aeroponic food farm in the Southwest U.S. This first-of-its-kind facility, operated by solar power, was designed in partnership with Future Growing® LLC with a vision to drastically reduce the region’s agricultural water consumption while making local, living produce available year-round in the hot desert regions of Phoenix and the Southwest US.

True Garden is the first high-tech greenhouse in the U.S. capable of producing most cool season food crops year-round—even in the scorching desert, where temperatures reach 120 degrees during the day and 90 degrees at night during summer months. The greenhouse uses very little energy in the winter months by operating in a naturally vented mode. During the hotter summer months, the greenhouse utilizes a combination of smart and efficient technologies to affordably keep the greenhouse at optimal temperatures, both during the day and night.

Future Growing co-founder Jessica Blank with True Garden co-founder Troy Albright.

Future Growing co-founder Jessica Blank with True Garden co-founder Troy Albright. (Click photo to enlarge)

As the centerpiece of its state-of-the art greenhouse, True Garden founders Lisa and Troy Albright selected Future Growing’s® vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® technology because Future Growing® has a very successful and proven track record–establishing hundreds of urban farms with its vertical aeroponic technology across the country–and the vertical tower farm is ideal for small urban settings like this one.

Utilizing Future Growing’s® aeroponic technology which re-circulates valuable water, True Garden uses 95% less water, 90% less space, and no harmful chemical, pesticides, or herbicides like Roundup®. The technology benefits urban growers and consumers alike, since the aeroponic plants grown in Tower Gardens® are more nutrient-dense than traditional produce. They grow extremely fast, and the Tower Gardens® yield “living” produce with the roots still intact. You cannot buy produce that is fresher and more hyperlocal than that.

24 day old “living” basil ready for market.

24 day old “living” basil ready for market. (Click photo to enlarge)

Understanding that the current U.S. water crisis is more serious than any other time in our history, Lisa and Troy are dedicated to implementing technologies like Future Growing’s® vertical aeroponic growing system that empower local farmers, eliminate food transportation, and use significantly less water than conventional farming. In addition to urban farming, True Garden is dedicated educating the public and empowering homeowners to grow the same way in their own back yard. Local food, living produce, tours, events, and classes at True Garden can be found at www.TrueGarden.com.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


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California Farmer Finds Solution To The State’s Water Crisis In Local Food

Today, I would like to share with you the story of how Niels Thorlaksson, an amazing Tower Garden® farmer in Santa Barbara, transformed his life from a job that he was not passionate about to living his dream of growing food for the masses with the most energy-efficient and sustainable farming method on the planet. With the severe drought in California, more farmers are looking for similar sustainable, earth friendly growing solutions—and Tower Garden® vertical food farming technology,which uses 90 percent less water on 90 percent land, provides that chemical-free solution for feeding Americans, today and into the future.

Niels Thorlaksson’s backyard has 100 aeroponic Tower Gardens®. (Click photo to enlarge)

Here is Niels’ story, in his own words:

“My Dad, Erik, has always been an avid gardener, which started my interest in growing my own fruits and vegetables when I was just a little kid. We would plant a garden at home with tomatoes, squash, and zucchini, to name just a few. It was fun eating fresh produce that we had grown, and we enjoyed sharing our harvest with friends too. Growing up, we spent our Saturday mornings visiting the local farmers’ market. I loved trying all the cool local foods, and seeing new offerings with each season. These values of growing my own food and supporting local farmers stuck with me and are still very important to me.

For the past three years, I had been working for a large company in downtown Los Angeles. I realized that my job wasn’t who I was or what I stood for. I knew that I wanted to be involved with something that was making a bigger impact on our world, and do something I really loved. But I had no idea what it was going to be.

Niels holds a harvest of fresh Tower Garden® lettuce. (Click photo to enlarge)

This realization coincided with my introduction to the Tower Garden®. I was fascinated by the technology and loved the ability to save signficiant water, space and time while growing. My family and I decided to purchase one Tower Garden®, and we set it up next to our tomato and squash garden in the back yard.

However, I soon learned that Tower Gardens® were being used for much more than for home growers. I found out that they are being used for commercial food production to support the sustainable and local food movements. I wanted to see how it worked with my own eyes, so I went on tours of several Tower Garden® farms.

Seeing how the Tower Gardens® can directly impact people’s lives in such a positive way was the final piece of the puzzle. I helped set up several small farms in southern California, and saw that other people shared my values. This is when I decided I wanted to get involved and start a project of my own.

Land is extremely expensive in my area, so I currently have 100 Future Growing® Tower Gardens® in my own back yard. Watering grass has given way to watering food, which is grown and used locally. My part-time hobby expanded my vision and passion for local growing, in what has become a successful, full-time business.

Click photo to enlarge.

Click photo to enlarge.

I am blessed to be working with some of the top restaurants in Santa Barbara region, and my five-star produce undoubtedly keeps me in that position. I work directly with the chefs to deliver exactly what they want to see on their menus. I can grow special varieties they can’t find in farmers’ markets. When I get my orders, I can deliver them the same day, since most of the restaurants are a few minutes away from my farm in downtown Santa Barbara. In fact, I am the closest farm to downtown!

I hope our Tower Garden® farm will inspire people to change the way they think about the food they eat, where it comes from, and how it is produced. With many of the problems we are facing in the future, I believe the Tower Garden® is essential to improving the way we access our food.”

Everyone at Future Growing agrees with Niels that the vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® growing system is necessary to support the populations of today and the future. With its recirculating water system, the Tower Garden® technology saves an incredible amount of time, water, and energy and—most importantly—produces the best-tasting, sustainable produce around. I commend Niels, along with all the other Future Growing® farmers, for following their passion and building a business that not only improves their lives, but also the lives of everyone around them and the planet.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


Major Employment Opportunity: Future Growing And Associates To Hire Over 250 In 2014

Over the past decade, Future Growing® LLC has pioneered and led the modern urban farming movement, installing vertical aeroponic food farms utilizing patented Tower Garden® technology across North America. With more than 100 successful urban farms in the U.S. and Canada, Future Growing® leads the way in the local food growing movement, which has become a mainstream trend.

Harvesting Lettuce

Harvesting lettuce at a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm. (Click photo to enlarge)

Our philosophy is simple: In a world where land and resources are limited, we grow more food in less space by growing up instead of out, just like a modern city! By growing locally—right where food is consumed—we reduce our carbon footprint, employ local people, and produce chemical-free food that taste great, is extraordinarily fresh, and is highly nutritious!

Adjusting nutrient timing cycles at a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm.

Adjusting nutrient timing cycles at a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm. (Click photo to enlarge)

We are looking for talented, dedicated individuals who have the same passion that we do for the sustainable urban agriculture movement. Future Growing® and Future Growing® farms plan to fill a minimum of 250 positions in 2014, and more than 1,000 by the end of 2015.

Future Growing® is located in central Florida and will be filling several positions in that region. In addition, Future Growing’s® clients will be filling various farm positions from coast to coast. Please review the positions below and find the opportunity that suits you best!

Click here to visit Future Growing’s “Careers” page and to upload your cover letter and resumé. We look forward to having you on our team in 2014!

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


Future Growing Positions In Central Florida:

  • Sales and development for vertical aeroponic farms (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • IT (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Marketing (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Horticulturists/Biologists (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Manufacturing and warehouse managers (Minimum 2 year degree, 2 years experience, and/or equivalent)
  • Manufacturing and warehouse laborers (Minimum 2 years experience)

Urban Farm Positions Across The US Utilizing Future Growing® Technology:

  • Professional growers (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Farm managers (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Greenhouse managers (Minimum 4 year degree, 2 years experience and/or equivalent)
  • Farm laborers (Minimum 2 years experience)

Award-Winning Chef Grows High In The Sky Of Los Angeles For His Second Successful Roof-to-Table Concept

John Sedlar: Esquire Magazine Chef of the Year 2011

In 2011, renowned Chef John Sedlar received the prestigious “Chef of the Year” award from Esquire magazine for his cutting-edge neo-Latin cuisine. Sedlar is growing high in the sky of downtown Los Angeles for his second innovative roof-to-table concept, the Rivera restaurant on 1050 S. Flower Street, which features a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm.

Chef John explained: “In 2012, while sharing my passion for Latin food traditions with business friends Bill Chait and Eddie Sotto, I began to imagine a restaurant that would celebrate Latin food in all its diverse variety. Bill and Eddie immediately got it, and together we very quickly evolved a vision for a fun, approachable, casual restaurant where guests could explore the world of Latin food and drink.”

Chef John Rivera Sedlar

Chef John Rivera Sedlar

Chef John Sedlar

Chef John Sedlar at work in Rivera’s kitchen. (Click photo to enlarge)

That vision became Rivera, which not only takes its name from Sedlar’s Hispanic family name but also evokes the waters that flow through space and time to interlink the culinary traditions of Spanish-speaking Europe, North America, and South America.

“I feel I’ve come full circle,” says Sedlar. “I’m happy to be back in the kitchen, cooking and sharing the food that I love.”

During a television interview which took place at his rooftop Tower Garden® farm, Sedlar explained his motivation for aeroponic rooftop growing: “I couldn’t find what I needed from the farmers—or from the markets—the things that I needed for our urban Latin kitchen downstairs.” Gesturing toward the Tower Gardens® surrounding him, he continued: “So we searched, and we bought this!”

Being a steward of the environment, Sedlar is also very passionate about the reduced carbon footprint of his local food in a drought-stricken state.

Edible flowers and lavender

Edible flowers and lavender.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Because they are using the chemical-free, sustainable Tower Garden® system, 90 percent less water is used for growing. Sedlar and Chait know the restaurant’s food is safe and clean from harmful chemicals and diseases commonly found on modern farms.

“Here, we’re utilizing space that would otherwise be ‘fallow land’, as it were. And in terms of cost, the towers are much more efficient at producing crops per square inch than any other system, because we are growing up instead of out,” Chait said. Bill has a vision to see all 16 of his restaurants producing a lot of their fresh food vertically in roof-to-table settings such as Rivera’s.

To view more images of the Rivera vertical rooftop farm, click here. You can also view an image gallery of Sedlar’s “Cielo Verde” rooftop Tower Garden® farm by clicking here.

I would personally like to thank our fellow farmer, Chef John Sedlar, for being an innovative leader in the West Coast local food movement. Together we are changing local food one rooftop at a time. If you visit Los Angeles, please take some time to experience the amazing Rivera downtown.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


“Meet Your Makers”

Welcome to a “green” future, growing healthy and sustainable food with aeroponic technology! Over the past decade, Future Growing® has pioneered the vertical aeroponic farming movement across the United States. Our vertical growing technology is so modern and innovative, that it has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED points on certified green buildings.

With more than 100 successful projects across North America, Future Growing® modular farm technologies now come in all sizes and shapes. Our Tower Garden® farms are located in a myriad of locations, from conventional commercial greenhouse structures, to skyscraper rooftops in Manhattan, to farms in airport terminals. Behind each of these successful farms is an extraordinary individual with a passion for local, sustainable food and modern agriculture.

Meet one of these extraordinary urban farmers in the “Meet Your Makers” video segment below.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC


Top 2014 Food Trends Feature Green Movement

Montecito Urban Farms

Farm to table in 50 steps or less.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Those of us deeply committed to the “green” movement have developed an acute awareness about the food we eat, consumer purchasing trends, and the current status of our planet’s resources. Those committed to living sustainably and ensuring a high quality, chemical-free food supply for our children’s future are aware of the truth. We are not fooled by the million dollar advertising campaigns and propaganda put forth by big business.

So many people today are frustrated and even enraged with the “do nothing” government, big business, and big agriculture. The battle will not be won with tricky politics and big money; instead, it is being won by simple, honest choices.

Strawberry Tower Garden

Children eat what they grow.
(Click photo to enlarge)

The truth is that this modern green movement is the largest movement of its kind in the history of the world that was not pushed forward by government or religion—or by any other big institution, for that matter. The movement is grassroots: it is you and me, it is one person at a time, making choices of integrity and thoughtfulness, leading to the unstoppable mass we have today.

Gourmet dishes

Creative cuisine with phytonutrient-rich food.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Congratulations to all of you who are committed to the local food movement and a sustainable way of life. Click on the link below to see what the National Restaurant Association predicts will be the top menu trends for the coming year in its annual “What’s Hot” culinary forecast. You will see trends brought about urban farmers and aeroponic growers, along with consumers who are demanding a healthier, more eco-friendly food supply.

Together, we are making a significant impact on consumers’ health and eating habits in 2014 and beyond!

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC



How Tower Gardens® are Teaching Kids the Future of Growing

Since 2006, Future Growing® has been partnering with the nation’s leading schools to create healthier lunches and hands-on science lessons. It’s gratifying to see Future Growing®’s aeroponic technology being welcomed by education, because we know firsthand how students of all ages benefit from learning to grow food in their own schools. These kids will soon be the decision-makers of the 21st century, and will be faced with serious choices on managing our future supplies and quality of water, air, and soil.

Hope4Kids 02

Hope 4 Kids Preschool believes in healthy eating and healthy living. (Click photo to enlarge)

Here are some of the innovative schools—ranging from preschools to colleges—using Future Growing®’s aeroponic technology to teach students about how to grow healthy, sustainable Tower Garden® produce and nourish their bodies in a healthy way.

Hope 4 Kids Preschool in Santa Barbara, Calif., believes in healthy eating and healthy living, and is the first preschool in the world to have a commercial Tower Garden® farm.

Hope4Kids 06

Hope 4 Kids offers tasty and nutritious meals and cooking activities.
(Click photo to enlarge)

The staff at Hope 4 Kids reports: “We love our commercial Tower Garden® farm because it is so simple and always produces amazingly tasty and nutritious fruits and vegetables!

“Tower Gardens® produce far more colorful, better tasting, better smelling, and incredibly nutritious fruits and vegetables. The Tower Garden® is definitely a step toward future gardens, as it is a wonderful, clean, and efficient way to produce utterly delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables.”

Hope4Kids 04

The first preschool in the world to have a commercial Tower Garden® farm.
(Click photo to enlarge)

The school offers tasty and nutritious cooking activities for students, teaching them how to make and eat healthy foods such as Tower Garden® salads, guacamole, pico de gallo, and kale chips. To learn more about Hope 4 Kids’ Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm, click here.

In Destrehan, La., Harry Hurst Middle School’s “Green Team”, led by seventh grade teacher Julie Rexford, was awarded the Healthy Community Grant from the Keep Louisiana Beautiful organization in 2013.

The grant allowed the middle school to start an aeroponic Tower Garden® farm. Students participate in growing produce on campus that is served within the school cafeteria. What an innovative way for students to experience what high quality, chemical-free produce actually tastes like!

This system allows students to participate in every aspect of sustainable gardening. For more information about the Hurst Middle School project, click here.

Newman School

After Newman’s food services director, Trudi Ruppenicker (center of photo) saw another Tower Garden® farm in New Orleans, it did not take long for Newman’s administration to acquire one for their own food service program. (Click photo to enlarge)

In New Orleans, Isidore Newman School’s foodservice director, Trudi Ruppenicker, worked with Sage Dining to bring a Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm to the school.

Students help germinate the seeds and harvest the produce. The students can also learn about sustainability, water conservation, the life cycles of plants, and the benefits of locally sourced foods. Special signs on menu items containing home-grown foods inform the diners and generate more interest in the program. Click here to view the rest of the photo gallery.

The Green Bronx Machine has become an urban farming revolution in Bronx classrooms. Stephen Ritz, a Bronx-born-and-bred public school teacher, is creating a revolution in his community by introducing students to something unexpected—aeroponic farming.

By teaching his disadvantaged students where food comes from and how to grow their own, he is also helping them grow life skills and cultivate brighter futures.

The Green Bronx Machine recently received funding from Progressive Insurance’s “Apron Projects” to build a Tower Garden® farm. Ritz and some of his students are featured in a YouTube video clip, which can be viewed below:

University of Florida

University of Florida scientist researches hydroponic systems for small family and urban farms.
(Click photo to enlarge)

The University of Florida’s Agricultural Extension Center in Live Oak, Fla., is working with sustainable “green” technologies from Future Growing. The Tower Garden® technology has been used in the facility’s research since 2007.

The Extension Center also offers a course where students learn soil-less growing techniques and are given a tour of the research facility to see the growing systems in operation.

From its inception, Future Growing® has cultivated relationships with schools all over the country, recognizing that the health of our bodies—and our planet—will be in the hands of these bright young students.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC