Issue 8 | January 2015
Job layoff kick starts vertical farming venture
After six years of college and landing a position with a large architecture and engineering firm in Nashville, Tenn., Jeffrey Orkin thought his career as a landscape architect was ready to take off. Then the recession hit. In 2009, after only 1½ years of employment, Orkin found himself jobless with limited prospects in his field. Orkin partnered with his similarly unemployed friend Cliff Jones to start their own company called Landscape Solutions (http://www.landscapetn.com). The company is focused on design-build for residential and commercial outdoor spaces.
The benefits of supplemental CO2 are worth the cost
Greenhouse crop consultant Marco de Bruin at de Bruin Greenhouse Consulting never worked in a greenhouse operation that didn’t use supplemental carbon dioxide (CO2). “The modern glass and plastic greenhouse operations being built today all have CO2 systems in them,” de Bruin said. “In traditional glass greenhouses there can be a lot of air exchanges that occur through the roof. That can help to reduce the temperature and humidity in the greenhouse, but it can remove CO2 from the greenhouse as well. The roof vents start to function like a Venturi drawing the air and CO2 out of the greenhouse.” de Bruin said the ideal levels of CO2 in the greenhouse vary with the crop, but they vary more due to the growing environment.
Minnesota looks to expand local food opportunities
Karl Hakanson, University of Minnesota Extension Educator for Hennepin County, of which Minneapolis is the county seat, said he has had to broaden his definition of agriculture since taking his current position in February 2014. “Most of my career has been in conventional ag—regular farming,” Hakanson said. “I’ve had to broaden my definition to focus on food. I have been involved lately with the whole issue of food equity and the access to healthy, real food. That also involves having access to land. If people want to have community gardens or develop urban farming, just like people in rural areas, they have to have access to land, which is a big deal.”