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Food pioneers regenerate cities


An urban food pioneer is transforming abandoned buildings in Minnesota into breeding grounds for sustainable fish and organic greens.

Urban Organics opened the doors of its first aquaponics farm, built inside an old Minnesota brewery, in 2014. The venture was backed by global water firm Pentair, which fitted out the Hamm’s Brewery site with an innovative water filtration system and industry leading reuse technologies. And the pair have built on that relationship with the regeneration of Minnesota’s Schmidt brewery, which will be able to supply ‘275,000 lbs. of fresh fish and 475,000 lbs. of produce per year to the surrounding region’ this year. The ‘USDA-certified-organic farm’ extends Urban Organics reach as it begins to expand a business with tech that could have a global impact.

“We started this venture as social entrepreneurs who wanted to figure out how to bring a reliable source of healthy foods into areas that had to rely on food transported in from far away,” explained Dave Haider, co-founder of Urban Organics. “It turned out that our wild idea also made a lot of sense to a community hungry for organic, sustainably-raised food, and to other innovators around the world who had been asking the same questions we were. By collaborating with Pentair, we’re able to contribute beyond our immediate region—we’re able to test and perfect the technologies that will make a global impact advancing the field of large-scale commercial aquaponics.”

Farming in the city is a growing trend. By 2022 it is estimated the vertical farming market will be worth more than $6 billion. And America is leading the way. Aero Farms is making progress with its vision to combat the ‘global food crisis with technology’. While an urban food accelerator in the heart of New York,  Square Roots, led by entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, is helping innovators take forward their ideas for developing indoor farming businesses – inside shipping containers located in Brooklyn.


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