FROM: American Farm Bureau Federation
October 5, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Top 10 Teams Win $120K in Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 5, 2016 – The American Farm Bureau Federation today announced the top 10 teams – four finalists and six semi-finalists – in the 2017 Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The challenge, now in its third year, provides opportunities for individuals to showcase business innovations being developed in rural communities throughout the U.S. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.
AFBF President Zippy Duvall made the announcement at the organization’s October board of directors meeting, noting that four of the top 10 teams are ag technology entries.
“Entrepreneurship is alive and well in rural America,” Duvall said. “It’s a pleasure to recognize these 10 outstanding businesses. The FB Challenge addresses some of the unique obstacles entrepreneurs typically face, namely, limited options for support such as startup funding.”
The final four teams, chosen from 356 applicants, were each awarded $15,000 and will advance to the next phase of the challenge. The final four are:
- Grow Bioplastics LLC, Knoxville, Tennessee—ag tech entry. Renewable, biodegradable products that eliminate oil-based plastics for farmers, greenhouse and nursery managers, and home gardeners. Team lead: Tony Bova.
- Levrack LLC, Seward, Nebraska—support services entry. An efficient and orderly solution to reduce clutter in farm shops. Team lead: Ryan Stauffer.
- Vertical Harvest Hydroponics, Anchorage, Alaska—farm/ranch entry. Turnkey, hydroponic vegetable production facilities inside 40-foot-long insulated shipping containers. Team lead: Linda Janes.
- Windcall Manufacturing Inc., Venango, Nebraska—ag tech entry. Grain Goat, a battery powered, hand-held combine for sampling moisture content of grain. Team lead: Martin Bremmer.
Semi-finalists in the competition were awarded $10,000 each, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Farm Credit.
The final four will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges in front of a live audience at AFBF’s 98th Annual Convention & IDEAg Trade Show in Phoenix on Jan. 8, 2017. They’ll compete for the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award and an additional $15,000 in prize money, courtesy of sponsor Farm Bureau Bank. After the live-streamed event, members of the public will be invited to vote online for the People’s Choice Award and an additional $10,000.
The top 10 challenge teams were selected by 15 judges with expertise in business development, agribusiness lending and entrepreneurial coaching.
About the American Farm Bureau Federation
With family members at the county or parish level in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national “Voice of Agriculture,” working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. AFBF is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Follow AFBF on Twitter (@FarmBureau) and Facebook. The challenge timeline, detailed eligibility guidelines and profiles are available online at http://www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge.
Kari Barbic, (202) 406-3672, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyndie Shearing, (202) 406-3649, email@example.com
Vertical Harvest Hydroponics
Date: June 6, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arctic Greens Brings Hydroponic Farming To Arctic Communities
Anchorage, Alaska- June 5, 2016 – Kotzebue’s Native village corporation, Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation (KIC), has brought a hydroponic “farm” inside a shipping container to provide fresh vegetables grown locally above the Arctic Circle, where conventional farming is not possible. The endeavor is being conducted by a new subsidiary company called “Arctic Greens.”
The farm was transported on Lynden Air Cargo to Kotzebue from Washington state, where the scientific components designed by Anchorage company Vertical Harvest Hydroponics were installed. It will be operated in Kotzebue by an Arctic Greens part-time employee.
The first crop will be ready for harvest and sale on June 22, 2016. 21 varieties of leafy green lettuces, vegetables, and herbs will be sold in the local AC grocery store. Hydroponics allows a shorter growing cycle than Mother Nature does – as short as six weeks – and is not restricted by seasons, so Arctic Greens intends to turn over many crops throughout the coming years, virtually infinitely, with the goal of keeping store shelves stocked.
Arctic Greens has secured an exclusive agreement with Alaska Commercial Company, commonly known in rural Alaska communities as “AC Stores” and familiar to virtually all rural Arctic residents, to sell the company’s produce. This potentially positions Arctic Greens to become the largest rural supplier of produce throughout Alaska and Canada.
The possibilities are nearly limitless. Arctic Greens can connect multiple containers into a network to significantly expand growing capacity, thereby enabling each farm to meet customer demand in virtually any sized community. The Arctic Greens concept of hydroponic farming is entirely self-contained, so not only does it greatly reduce growing cycles, but it eliminates bugs, pesticides and other hazards of natural growing. Arctic Greens produce qualifies as Alaska-grown.
This is a ground-breaking advancement in food supply for Arctic regions, and possibly far beyond. The Arctic Greens system could be utilized in arid desert regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa, or highly congested metropolitan areas, like New York City or London.
Arctic Greens is bringing affordable, fresh, healthy vegetables to places that have always had to ship it in at prices much higher than in road-connected cities. People who never thought it possible can now make dinner with healthy foods grown in their communities. 373 A Second Ave, Kotzebue, AK 99752 907-442-6103 Phone
About Arctic Greens
Arctic Greens is an innovative new subsidiary company founded and wholly owned by Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation (KIC), Kotzebue’s Alaska Native village corporation, which owns and operates self-contained hydroponic “farms” in shipping containers for communities where conventional farming is not possible.
To set up interview or for more information, please call Laurie Fagnani, President, MSI Communications at (907) 569-7070 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FROM: Vertical Harvest Hydroponics, 907- 782-4420.
June 1, 2016.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Collaborative Process Creates Food Security for Rural Alaska
Local startup makes fresh, affordable produce available year-round
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – June 1, 2016. Alaska-based Vertical Harvest Hydroponics (VHH) recently commissioned its very first Generation IV Containerized Growing System (CGS) in Dillingham, Alaska, marking a new chapter of scalable farming practices in harsh climates.
CGS is a hydroponic fresh vegetable production system housed inside a customized 40 foot insulated shipping container. Measuring only 320 square feet in size, each CGS can supply more than 23,000 pieces of produce annually, which typically requires one full acre of land when grown conventionally. Furthermore, growing in a controlled CGS unit provides the perfect environment to produce safe, clean, pesticide free, non-GMO food. Vegetable options currently include over 150 varieties of nutrient rich, high fiber leafy greens. The CGS also ensures that produce is affordable, as growing food at the source of where it is consumed virtually eliminates transportation and packaging associated with conventional produce distribution.
After an extensive search, VHH selected CXT Inc., based in Spokane, Washington as its manufacturing partner. As a leader in modular building systems throughout the country, CXT brings a wealth of experience in manufacturing to VHH. “CXT is absolutely committed to the highest standards of construction. We are extremely excited to partner with them to make our dream of food security a reality”, says Dan Perpich VHH co-founder and CEO.
“When approached by Dan and his team in November of last year, we were quickly intrigued not only by their business model, but their social mission to provide safe, affordable foods to consumers in hard-to-grow areas around the world. We are excited to be a part of their vision and look to support them for many years to come” stated Darren Stuck, Plant Manager for CXT Spokane.
Demand for local food has been rapidly increasing in the U.S. According to the USDA, the number of farmers markets has more than quadrupled over the past two decades. A 2014 Hartman Group study finds that local may even surpass organic as a principle of transparency and trust (know your farmer). The U.S. is seeing fundamental behavior changes away from big packaged mass-produced foods to locally grown, artisanal and highly nutritious options.
In spite of growing demand and the success of the “Alaska Grown” program, food security due to lack of locally grown food in Alaska is a huge problem and has been a topic of conversation among many state leaders. This is evident, as only 1 percent of Alaska’s GDP is agriculture, which results in a dependence on the majority of its food needs on imported products.
Kyle Belleque, the owner of Belleque Family Farm, a Dillingham resident who purchased the system from VHH with the help of Bristol Bay Development Fund, is excited to add year round growing options to his farm. “This project has been a long time in the making. We are eager to install the unit at our place and begin providing fresh year-round produce to our family and friends around the region.”
As technology improves, the next step in an agricultural revolution is growing high quality food locally and sustainably on a commercial scale. According to an NPR piece on farm to school program in Washington, D.C., an interviewee said “We’re not buying just from one vendor. Managing delivery schedules and matching growing seasons with menus takes a lot of planning and coordination”. This may be alleviated with a hydroponic farm such as Vertical Harvest Hydroponics’ CGS. No more summer versus winter produce variation and price volatility! No dependence on the supply chain or the price of oil! It is always sunny in the CGS – no need to worry about weather fluctuations either. A farmer can grow produce in consistent quantities for schools, year round.
Alaska is one of the states that can benefit the most from a reliable internal food source (i.e. food security); thus we must be on the forefront of the “growing local” movement.
About Vertical Harvest Hydroponics:
Vertical Harvest Hydroponics (VHH) is a veteran-owned business, located in Anchorage, Alaska, that designs and builds Containerized Growing Systems (CGS), which allow produce to be grown on-site hydroponically and year round, virtually eliminating the expensive and lengthy supply chain.
Contact: Linda Janes. email@example.com