Vertical Farming Campaign Kicks Off

Vertical Farming Campaign Kicks Off

Vertical Farming Campaign Kicks Off

Emma Ea Ambrose , eambrose@jconline.com4:10 p.m. EST January 2, 2017

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Austin Kasso, executive director of Red Giant Union, has a towering vision for Greater Lafayette's food production and consumption future, and the vision is vertical, so to speak.

On Monday Red Giant Union, a charity to further urban agriculture, in partnership with local startup Hydro Grow, launched a campaign to raise $30,000 to start a vertical farm in downtown Lafayette called The Tower Farms.

The vision is to take over a space at  419 North 3rd Street and install vertical tower growers that will generate fresh produce to supply the juice and salad bar that will operate at the same location.

The long term goal is to convert this space into a place where local chefs, food entrepreneurs and farmers can innovate and collaborate on issues of food security and sustainability.

“We transport most of our produce from Arizona and California, which in this day and age is not necessary anymore because we have the means and infrastructure to grow our own produce within our community,” Kasso said.

Kasso said he thinks Lafayette is ready for a vertical tower farm and doesn’t anticipate any issues fundraising the capital required to start the endeavor.

“Lafayette is ready for this. … It’s all about finding ways to engage the community,” he added.

Roughly 300 people are involved with the campaign in some fashion, according to Kasso, and he expects those numbers to grow.

The campaign goal is to raise 75 percent of the funds within two weeks and be fully funded within the month. From that point, it will take two months to set up the farm space.

Projects like this have been successful elsewhere in the country, Kasso said, referencing the Green Bronx Machine project, which takes urban agriculture techniques to children in Bronx school systems.

Urban farming practices, Kasso said “creates economic growth, healthier minds and bodies and an overall healthier community.”

The campaign went live on crowdfunding website Barnraiser and Kasso said they are still looking for corporate partners and sponsors in the community.

 Call J&C reporter Emma Ea Ambrose at 765-431-1192. Follow her on Twitter: @emma_ea_ambrose.

Indoor Harvest Corp and Alamo CBD Enter Into Discussions to Combine and Ultimately Create Medical Cannabinoids Pharmaceutical Group

Indoor Harvest Corp and Alamo CBD Enter Into Discussions to Combine and Ultimately Create Medical Cannabinoids Pharmaceutical Group

Major Vertical Farm Operator Builds Productivity, Scale and Scope

Major Vertical Farm Operator Builds Productivity, Scale and Scope