FROM:

Aleutian Greens, a subsidiary of Aleutian Housing Authority

VH Hydroponics

October 06, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Farming for a Sustainable Future Partnership Produces Hydroponic Greens in the Aleutians

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, October 6, 2017 – The Aleutian Housing Authority (AHA), a non-profit organization who primarily provides affordable housing, and Blaine Shaishnikoff, a Qawalangin Tribal Member and nearly lifelong Unalaska resident, are pleased to announce their partnership and the recent formation of their company, Aleutian Greens, LLC.

Located in Unalaska, Alaska, nearly 800 miles southwest of Anchorage, the innovative startup is using a sophisticated hydroponic growing system to supply the community with the first-ever, locally-grown produce. Growing up in Unalaska, co-owner and operator Blaine, recognized the challenges his community faced with not having a reliable and sustainable food source. “Our people have lived here for thousands of years and have always provided for themselves by living a subsistence lifestyle. Providing my community and my region with a locally-grown, quality food source is something that I feel very strongly about and it is what we’re trying to do.”

In 2014, Blaine competed and was a finalist in the Aleutian Marketplace Contest hosted by the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association (APICDA) and the Aleut Corporation (TAC) for his hydroponic greenhouse submission. In 2016, he began talking with AHA Executive Director, Dan Duame, who was also considering a form of hydroponic growing in the region after attending a VH Hydroponics seminar during the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC). “I was interested in doing a project like this for some time, but realized that to be successful, we would need a strong local partner. After talking with Blaine it did not take long to realize that he had the potential to be that partner and it was the right time to do it,” said Dan.

Their conversations sprouted into a partnership in early 2017 and after receiving approval from a very supportive AHA Board of Commissioners, they teamed with VH Hydroponics (VHH) to design and build two containerized growing systems (CGS) out of 40 foot shipping containers. “VH Hydroponics is thrilled and excited to be a part of Blaine’s and AHA’s efforts to bring healthy, fresh food to the Aleutian Chain. We are honored to have such capable and innovative partners out there and we’re excited for the people of Unalaska,” said Dan Perpich, Founder.

The high-tech units were constructed in Spokane, Washington and shipped via Coastal Transportation from Seattle. They arrived in Unalaska on July 1st. Each container is capable of producing 450 heads of various lettuce types per week, as well as a large variety of herbs and other leafy greens. The hydroponic method allows for a much shorter growing cycle than traditional farming – as short as six weeks – and is not restricted by weather or seasons. The adaptable and scalable planting schedules allow for customized harvests that can be scheduled weekly, depending on customer requests. The growing environment is optimal for producing a consistent, quality, nutrient rich product that is pesticide and GMO free.

Mr. Duame retired from his position as AHA Executive Director in late June and handed the operation over to Deputy Director, Erin Wilson. “We’re known for providing affordable housing in our region, but this venture reinforces our mission of also being a major generator of economic development. Growing up in King Cove, we didn’t always have access to fresh, quality foods. Our hope is to reduce our region’s reliance on shipped produce and supply our people with the first ever, locally-grown food source,” she stated.

In late September, the company distributed their first harvest of nearly two-thousand crops featuring “Unalaska Grown” butterhead and green leaf lettuces, kale, mizuna, arugula, basil, Thai basil and dill to residents and businesses throughout the community. Boxes of the locally-grown produce also made their way to the communities of Akutan, Cold Bay and King Cove aboard the M/V Tustumena on its last Aleutian voyage of the year. “We’ve had a real good response! Everyone is excited about the taste and the freshness and they keep asking us where they can buy it,” said Blaine.

The company will start by selling a variety of leafy greens and culinary herbs to local grocery stores, restaurants and commercial kitchens, but the owners already see the opportunities for expansion. They are considering their options to serve the surrounding communities of Atka, Akutan and Nikolski with the hope of ultimately serving all of the Aleutian and Pribilof Island communities. The business can easily connect multiple containers to expand growing capacity to meet customer demand.

Although there are nearly 800 miles between them, as partners, Blaine and Erin are dedicated to achieving their ultimate goal and their company’s mission: To enhance the health and well-being of our Aleutian residents by providing a locally-grown, sustainable source of fresh foods that are of the highest quality and nutritional value, year-round.

For updates, please refer to the company’s Facebook page Aleutian Greens, LLC

About Aleutian Housing Authority

Aleutian Housing Authority is a regional Native non-profit organization and the primary provider of affordable housing in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands region. Headquartered in Anchorage, AHA manages 294 units in 10 rural communities and is a major generator of regional economic development and employment and job training opportunities. AHA manages a broad range of federal and state programs which are primarily grant funded. As a partner in Aleutian Greens, LLC., AHA manages the administrative functions including accounting and advertising and provides general oversite of the operations.

Media Contact for Aleutian Housing Authority and Aleutian Greens, LLC.: Erin M. Wilson, AHA Deputy Director and Aleutian Greens, LLC., Member/Owner, (907)952-7759 or email her at erin.aleutiangreens@gmail.com

About Blaine Shaishnikoff

Blaine has lived most of his life in Unalaska. He and his wife Catina (also a nearly lifelong resident of Unalaska) have three beautiful children, Hayden (8), Laneah (6) and Keenan (5 mo.). Blaine is an active member of his community. He has served on several boards and currently holds a seat on the Qawalangin Tribal Council. He and his wife enjoy raising their children in Unalaska and spend their free time hanging out with their family whom they are very close to. Blaine, who “let’s God guide the opportunity”, can trace his roots to a long line of entrepreneurs. His grandfather, the late Larry Shaishnikoff, started the first movie theatre in Unalaska and was also the owner of the renowned Elbow Room. His parents, Bill and Diane Shaishnikoff, are the owners and operators of Bering Shai Rock and Gravel. It’s no wonder that Blaine, at the age of twenty-seven, is now a third generation Shaishnikoff to own and operate his own local business. As a partner in Aleutian Greens, LLC., Blaine, with the help of his wife Catina, manage the company’s overall local operations.

Contact: Blaine Shaishnikoff, Member/Owner (907) 359-3362 or email him at blaine.aleutiangreens@gmail.com / Catina Shaishnkioff (907) 359-1191 or email her at catina.aleutiangreens@gmail.com

About VH Hydroponics

VH Hydroponics is an agricultural technology company that designs and builds smart farming solutions for use around the world. Headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, the company’s initial vision was to solve food production challenges inherent in northern climates. Their solution, a 40’ Containerized Growing System (CGS), came to market in 2015. On its fourth generation, this industrial grade turnkey farm-in-a-box is optimized for high yield, year-round production. To complement their existing product line and bring commercial growing techniques to consumers, VHH has developed a cabinet-style in home hydroponic growing system. This product enables a family to grow vegetables inside the home all year round. A veteran-owned company, VHH manufactures all their systems in the United States in a 120,000 sq. ft. facility located in Spokane, Washington, with emphasis on commitment to both environmental, health and safety excellence.

Media Contact for VH Hydroponics: Linda Janes, COO, (907) 227-7303 or email her at linda@vhhydroponics.com

FROM:

Grabbagreen

VH Hydroponics

July 20, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRABBAGREEN® Grows Hydroponic Vegetables inside their restaurant

Growing food + juice franchise continues to lead the charge in making fast food healthy with indoor mini farm

COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO – July 20, 2017 – When you order food + juice from Grabbagreen in Coeur d’Alene, it may look like any other health-conscious beverage or bowl; however, you will be tasting the freshest possible vegetables which are harvested on demand from their hydroponic indoor, mini farm system. Grabbagreen CDA is leading the way by piloting the latest equipment in the restaurant industry. The hydroponic system allows year-round production for hyper local greens which is the mantra behind the decision to grow greens indoors and harvest them at peak nutritional value. 

To celebrate, Grabbagreen will be holding a special unveiling free and public event on Tuesday, July 25 from 3-6pm for this emerging concept. Food + juice samplings will be provided, along with raffles and other giveaway items. 

“I am very passionate about food and health and opened a Grabbagreen knowing it was a long overdue necessity for today’s society to be provided with an efficient and legitimate source of nutrition on the go,” says Christina Horton of Horton Harbor, LLC, franchisee of the CDA location. “I have always thought it would be amazing if restaurants could grow food right in house, and when VH Hydroponics and CXT/LBFoster reached out regarding a partnership aimed to promoting greens grown on location, I knew it would further the message of fresh and enhance the customer experience here in Coeur D’Alene.

“In the industry today, many restaurants claim to be farm to table,” says Horton. “In our opinion, that term should be indicative of genuine local food to ensure the nutrients are as intact as possible, and we are so excited to be an authentic, farm-to-table restaurant here in CDA.”

Grabbagreen’s gardens are hydroponic indoor mini farms, designed by VH Hydroponics (VHH), headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska and manufactured by their partner CXT out of Spokane, Washington. “Families can now grow exactly what they need, right in their own home”, said Dan Perpich, VHH CEO. Perpich added that this is a simple and enjoyable way to farm and that kids can help grow food and learn about gardening and nutrition. “Make gardening a family affair!”

We are delighted to be working with a progressive-minded, health-oriented group such as Grabbagreen,” says Darren Stuck, GM of CXT Spokane, WA. “Collectively, the partnership between VH Hydroponics and CXT/LBFoster is aimed to promote healthy lifestyles by providing fresh greens grown on location in a manner that enhances the customer experience, and allows the restaurateur another means to further embody the message of ‘Fresh, Wholesome, and Local’.”

An indoor mini farm can provide a family with all of their leafy vegetable needs, year round.  Some of the benefits of growing food hydroponically include:

  • Safe, clean and dry harvest, without pesticides, herbicides or GMOs
  • Lower overall impact on the environment
  • Harvested just in time for top nutritional content
  • Grow just about any green or herb and many medicinals
  • Small footprint, able to grow in most living spaces and indoor environments

“We are very excited for Christina and Ben Horton, as they are the first franchisee across the country to pilot test the Hydroponics system in hopes to eventually launch Hydroponics systems in all Grabbagreen locations,” says Keely Newman, CEO of Grabbagreen. “Our mission is to ‘Lead the Charge in Making Fast Food Healthy’ and the synergy of healthy fast food and gardening technology makes perfect sense. Not only in terms of raising awareness to healthy fast food, but more specifically connecting people to their food source. Our whole-food menu at Grabbagreen is naturally gluten-free, preservative-free and GMO free. Customers in Coeur D’Alene can now know and see first hand where their food is being produced.”

About Grabbagreen:

Founded in 2013, Grabbagreen®  s a fast-food restaurant where great tasting, healthy food meet the speed and convenience of traditional fast food. Grabbagreen’s Eat Clean menu is preservative-free, naturally gluten-free and GMO free. The whole food menu is based on super food ingredients and offers a full selection of grain and green-based bowls with fresh hormone-free and antibiotic-free proteins. The menu also offers fresh-pressed juice, handcrafted smoothies and acai bowls, breakfast, and healthy kid-friendly items. All signature menu items are prepared fresh, made-to-order and provide a delicious experience for customers and a variety of flavors to meet dietary needs. Visit grabbagreen.com for the latest company news and location information. 

Media Contact for Grabbagreen:   

Morgan Vanderwall, (574) 370-8163 or email at morgan@grabbagreen.com

Media Contact for VH Hydroponics:   

Linda Janes, COO, (907) 227-7303 or email her at linda@vhhydroponics.com

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.

Contacts:

Kari Barbic, (202) 406-3672, karib@fb.org

Cyndie Shearing, (202) 406-3649,  cyndies@fb.org

 

FROM:

Arctic Greens

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.

Contact info

To set up interview or for more information, please call Laurie Fagnani, President, MSI Communications at (907) 569-7070 or email her at laurie@msialaska.com.

FROM:

Vertical Harvest Hydroponics

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. linda@vhhydroponics.com