Ask Google about healthy eating, and you will get 850 million responses in just over 1 second.
This age of instant information can be overwhelming, and much of what we discover in this seemingly endless list of links may be misleading. Where then might we turn?
The establishment of the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862 by then President Abraham Lincoln made the regulation and support of food production priorities of the federal government. Just over 50 years later, the USDA made its first attempt to provide "science-based dietary guidance to the American public" (USDA par. 1) through its first published guide to help parents to make healthy choices for their children.
Later, a little known guide from the 1940s, the Basic Seven, exhorted citizens to eat some food daily from each of the seven established groups because "U.S. needs US healthy," laughably exclaiming that people could additionally "eat any other foods you want."
In the 1950s, the food groups were reduced to 4, which remained the standard until 1979, when the USDA created a food wheel of five food groups, the fifth (fats, sweets, alcohol) now coming with a warning about excess. These five groups established the basis of the Food Pyramid/My Pyramid most of us grew up attempting to follow.
A bit busy, isn't it?
The USDA's most recent guidance is user friendly, interactive, and available at ChooseMyPlate.gov. Its transferable format of a colorful plate can help even reluctant children to make healthy choices.
Note the smaller portions of protein; notice the increased real estate given to vegetables, fruit, grains, and dairy.
Our understanding of healthy eating has grown over the years, and our healthy choices are growing too.
Look for Urban Fresh to fill your leafy green needs--coming soon to Columbia!
Recently, Chip visited Gilbert Primary School, working with more than 700 students from ages 4 to 8. As a part of the annual Farm Day event, he was charged with the task of helping these young people to learn about hydroponics.
Chip began by reviewing the things all living things needs, and he was pleasantly surprised to discover that these kids, in a community steeped in farming and agriculture, have a firm grasp on what it takes to keep plants thriving.
From there, it was just a step to getting them to see how to keep plants healthy without soil and with artificial light.
His visual aid of wheat grass growing Kratky-style in recycled plastic honey and water bottles helped the students visualize how hydroponics can work, and his coloring pages were a big help in sealing in their understanding.
Teachers also expressed interest in growing inside the classrooms. We at UrbanFresh look forward to a continued connection with Lexington One.
According to a new study published recently in Neurology, "consumption of green leafy vegetables was associated with slower cognitive decline" (Neurology par. 3). In fact, those who consumed the most leafy greens tested as "the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age" (Neurology par. 3).
Where can local folks get the freshest leafy green vegetables? At UrbanFresh -- soon -- of course!
Further, according to Urban Ag News, "the 2018 World Vegetable Map ... highlights some key global trends ... such as the growing importance of production in greenhouses and vertical farms, as well as the popularity of organic vegetables" (Urban Ag News par. 1).
In fact, food labeled organic is gaining popularity around the world, and according to HortiDaily, on November 1, 2017, the National Organics Standards Board, an advisory body to the USDA, voted to allow hydroponically grown vegetables and fruit to "remain eligible for the USDA Organic certification – a process which allows products from these farms to carry the USDA Organic label" (HortiDaily par. 1).
UrbanFresh: on the cusp of providing for your fresh organic vegetable needs to contribute to your enjoyment and your youth!
A firm in Kotzebue, Alaska, is growing kale, leafy greens, basil, and other greens vertically, hydroponically, and intensively -- much in the style of UrbanFresh. In fact, this indoor farm is the first hydroponic venture north of the Arctic Circle.
Like UrbanFresh, they are finding success. That may be where the comparison ends.
Where the Alaska group is serving a community of 3300, UrbanFresh is poised to serve the 3-state region.
Where the Alaska group has an operation that is currently held in a 12-meter shipping container, UrbanFresh will be utilizing warehouse space upwards of 10,000 square feet -- and is slated to open several facilities in the next five years.
Where startup and production costs are prohibitive in Alaska, UrbanFresh has cut costs and continues to make plans to reduce waste by applying Lean Farming principles.
Where the air in Alaska is frigid and makes moving product difficult, UrbanFresh is situated in pleasant South Carolina, and movement of the product is a breeze.
The time for vertical, intensive, hydroponic growing has come. We at UrbanFresh wish Alaska well in this venture and look forward to serving the Columbia community soon.
A study covered in a recent edition of Newsweek revealed that people who eat salads everyday stay years younger and avoid dementia.
"The study included 960 people, all between 58 and 99 years old and all without dementia. Everyone enrolled in the study was part of the Memory and Aging Project, which has been ongoing since 1979 at the Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University" (par. 3).
Look to UrbanFresh to keep you young in the new year.
2018, here we come!
Just in time for holiday food preparation, "a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine details an outbreak of E. coli in 2016 linked to flour and found that the problem may be more common than previously thought" (CNN, par. 1).
According to the data in the study, "although it is a low-moisture food, raw flour can be a vehicle for food borne pathogens" (CNN, par. 3).
The findings are so new, in fact, that the Mayo Clinic's website has yet to list raw flour as one of its risky foods.
So, be careful licking the spoon as you prepare your holiday treats, and look to Urban Fresh Farms, coming soon to Columbia, to find an array of fresh, safe leafy greens.
In June of 2015, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a white paper comparing hydroponic and conventional farming methods. Their research reveals that lettuce grown in southwestern Arizona needed less water (in liters per kilogram) and had a greater yield (in kilograms per square meter) for hydroponic growing as compared to conventional farming.
The trend toward growing hydroponically, intensively, and vertically as we do with Urban Fresh Farms is growing. According to research published in April of this year, the vertical farming market is expected to be valued at $9.9 million by 2025, just 8 short years from now.
The time for Urban Fresh Farms has come. We look forward to serving you soon!
The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 defines "Local" in the phrase "Local Food" as "(I) the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or (II) the State in which the product is produced" (H. R. 2419).
Urban Fresh Farms in Columbia, SC, is within 250 miles of Ten Major Metropolitan Areas:
That means Urban Fresh Farms is primed to have "Locally Grown" customers who are wholesalers, retailers, online retailers, local restaurants, school districts, colleges and universities, and military installations.
We look forward to serving the customers of this region soon!
Our vision at Urban Fresh Farms includes the component of educating children and adults in our community about hydroponics.
To that end, this year, as summer approached, we worked with students and teachers in Richland Two and at Montessori School of Columbia.
In April, we were the launch event for a PBL for magnet and health students at Ridge View High School. We shared with students about locally grown foods and hydroponics.
Later we returned to Ridge View to see the culmination of the PBL: Students presented their plans to create traditional and hydroponic school gardens.
In May at Richland Northeast High School, Chip helped to judge business plans by entrepreneurial students at a Shark Tank event. He shared his own experiences creating business plans, focusing on Urban Fresh.
This summer, Sarah taught the students at Montessori School of Columbia about hydroponics. They grew wheatgrass in plastic water bottles, learning about using the high-vitamin wheatgrass in smoothies while practicing the repurposing of plastic bottles that constitute a big part of daily garbage across the United States.
We at Urban Fresh look forward to next year: We will continue to educate children and adults about hydroponics and healthy eating.
Keep watching! Soon we will be growing fresh, leafy green vegetables near you!
We've talked a lot about how fresh and safe our lettuce will be. It won't be long before you all will have the chance to see for yourself.
However, we haven't talked much about our staff and how we will take care of them.
Without a doubt, folks who work at Urban Fresh Farms will work hard. Growers make judgments about what plants need and when plants are ready to harvest. Growers must be vigilant, aware of the state of the plants, of the water and nutrients that feed them, of the growing units, of the surroundings. Awareness will keep our product safe, healthy, and consistent.
Most importantly, growers at Urban Fresh Farms will be learning a craft that could end food deserts while saving water and making money.
And they will be paid a living wage to do it.
Part of our business model is to sustain our work force by paying them what they deserve. We ask for vigilance and hard work from our staff, and we want them to feel loyal. We work with staff to schedule their working hours within the context of busy lives.
Everyone will be expected to attend a Food Safety Meeting every Thursday morning at 9:00--every week. Otherwise, scheduling will be worker-considerate: Urban Fresh Farms will need alert growers around the clock. Plants need pretty constant care.
Money is important--without a doubt--but the main way we are creating sustainable livelihoods at Urban Fresh Farms is by empowering our staff to become a part of the Vision:
Keep following us to find out more!