Tag Archives: The Vertical Farm

Stepping Up for the Homeless of Los Angeles

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I am excited to announce the opening of a new rooftop farm in the heart of Los Angeles supporting the area’s chronically homeless.

Step Up on Vine

Step Up on Vine. (Click photo to enlarge)


Step up on Vine, a Platinum LEED-certified, 34-room permanent housing facility for the homeless featuring an expansive Future Growing® rooftop aeroponic farm, is the result of a $12 million renovation of an abandoned hotel in Hollywood.

I firmly believe that the homeless should have access to the same quality nutrition and food that everyone else has access to, and this ground-breaking new facility does just that. For 25 years, the Step Up on Second organization has provided psychosocial rehabilitation and support, including permanent supportive housing, to people affected by severe and persistent mental illness in the Los Angeles area.

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Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Bryant, Tod Lipka, and Bill Clinton. (Click photo to enlarge)

The Step Up Foundation, led by president and CEO Tod Lipka, decided to support the city’s homeless even further by adding a Future Growing® rooftop farm, which provides a year-round supply of fresh, chemical-free lettuce, fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the rooftop. You cannot get fresh, sustainable produce that is more local than produce that was picked a few feet from your apartment! Importantly, the farm is also providing vocational training and horticultural therapy for the homeless.

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Chives. (Click photo to enlarge)

The vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® farm allows for a huge amount of produce to be grown in a small footprint, while still providing room for a peaceful and healing sanctuary for the building’s tenants in the middle of a busy metropolitan environment. The rooftop farm significantly reduces the carbon footprint of food and contributes to the building’s LEED points by using up to 95% less water, 90% less space, and safe food-grade growing materials.

Tim Blank and Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Tim Blank. (Click photo to enlarge)

As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative Call to Action, we are excited to share that the Clinton Global Initiative, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation, Step Up Foundation, and many other contributors have taken this multi-year project to reality. A special thanks to Aileen Getty and the Getty Foundation for her vision and passion for extraordinary health, which made this opportunity possible. I would also like to thank Tod Lipka and the entire team at the Step Up Foundation for their tireless efforts paving new territory in developing a local food program for their homeless housing.

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President Clinton’s tour of the rooftop. (Click photo to enlarge)

After former President Bill Clinton visited the rootop Tower Garden® farm during Step up On Vine’s grand opening, he said, “It’s just a blessing to me that my friends…wanted this to be a LEED certified building. And when I was going through it, Rick Fedrizzi, the head of the National Green Building Council, looked at me and said, it’s not just LEED, its ‘Platinum’ LEED.  That’s the highest rating you can gain. It’s good for the Los Angeles economy and it is good for lowering your long-term energy burden.”

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President Clinton and Tod Lipka.
(Click photo to enlarge)

In addition, President Clinton was very impressed with the Future Growing vertical aeroponic farming technology. “I went up on the roof and saw the garden. I was eating out of the garden, sort of like a rabbit. It’s the way it is—you grow up in the country, you’re used to eating out of the ground, and you do it when you can! It’s really wonderful,” he said.

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An interview with Tim Blank.
(Click photo to enlarge)

Future Growing® is honored to be a part of this magnificent project that not only impacts the lives as the homeless in Los Angeles, but all those who visit and work at Step Up on Vine. To support this great organization, visit http://www.stepuponsecond.org/index.html.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC

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Redeploying the Family Farm

Evan Premer is the latest grower who is re-inventing the idea of the traditional American farm. With the help of Veterans to Farmers, Future Growing®, community grants and private support, Evan launched Colorado’s first Tower Garden®-enabled vertical farm, AeroFarmCo, in Lakewood, Colo., this March. Even though he didn’t grow up on a farm, Evan, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, was able to quickly form a successful hydroponic business after working with the Veterans to Farmers program in Denver, Colo.

Day 6_Growing UPThis innovative Future Growing® Tower Garden® farm provides a valuable contribution to the state, which has been suffering from its worst drought in decades. For the first time, there is a solution for farmers struggling to raise their crops. With its water recycling technology, Future Growing’s® Tower Garden® vertical growing system utilizes up to 95% less water on 90% less land space.  Day 5_1st seedlings planted - Copy

Because the Future Growing® vertical aeroponic system is so easy to learn and implement – even for those without an agriculture background – AeroFarmCo was able to launch a successful business in record time. “We’ve grown up fast in two months,” Evan said. “Our Towers arrived in early March, and we planted seedlings and trained at Montecito Urban Farms, all within the first week. We opened for business and began selling our greens and produce in the middle of a very cold, snowy April.”

Stemosphere event at DUAdmirably, Evan and AeroFarmCo are not keeping the knowledge of this futuristic growing system to themselves; instead, they are educating the community. In May, Chef Daniel Asher of Root Down brought in the AeroFarmCo to provide a “Tower to Table” experience for a private dinner at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In addition, the farm educated 2,000-plus kids and their families during the Stemosphere event at Denver University.Happy Customer at AeroFarmCo

Plus, AeroFarmCo recently held its first Mother’s Day sale of greens and Tower Garden®-ready seedlings! “We have walk-in customers daily too, who are buying greens, seedlings and Tower Gardens®. If people are skeptical, one taste changes the conversation,” Evan said.

In July, AeroFarmCo will help the Mayor of Denver and the Governor of Colorado welcome dignitaries from North America and South America to Denver for the Biennial of the Americas. “The Tower Garden® will provide food sustainability and quality nutrition in our family and community, for generations to come,” Evan said.

3 weeks into growingAeroFarmCo is not only helping reinvent the American farm, but the company is also reclaiming the idea of a family farm. Evan, his wife, Heather, and Evan’s mom, Esther, are all working together to grow the best locally grown produce year-round to provide to the local community. And, everyone in the community and the environment benefits, because the vertical aeroponic Tower Garden® Farm produces chemical-free, better tasting, and more nutritious herbs, fruits, and vegetables, than conventional farms.

About Veterans to Farmers:

Veterans to Farmers’ mission is to turn protectors into providers. Its founder, U.S. Marine veteran Buck Adams, understands how difficult the transition from warrior to civilian can be. “Our program is grounded on stewarding life and growing plants. The greenhouse is like a decompression chamber for these guys,” Buck said. Buck is also the founder of the largest organic greenhouse co-op in Colorado, which supplies cucumbers and tomatoes to Whole Foods Market.

In 2012, Buck was introduced to the Tower Garden® and Future Growing®. That introduction changed the trajectory of Buck’s vision for Veterans to Farmers and its program graduates. “With the Tower Garden® technology and Future Growing’s® expertise, our graduates can redeploy the American Farm and scale locally grown, nationwide. Already, in 2013, we have helped launched two of our graduates into commercial Tower Garden®-enabled farms, Buck said.Produce men

To keep up with AeroFarmCo’s happenings, “like” them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AeroFarmCo.

Tim Blank
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC