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Fresh With Edge


Recently, hydroponic farms and gardens have been cropping up all over the US. People nationwide are becoming more aware of the foods that they eat and are now asking “What is this and where did it come from?” Most of us are not happy with the answer. Whether it’s the pesticides in your food and air, or the estimated 70% of processed foods that contain GMOs, it’s not a pretty picture.  Getting food from a traditional farm to your table uses 10% of the total U.S. energy budget, 50% of US Land, and uses 80% of all fresh water consumed in the Nation.  Factory farms are estimated to emit about 2.4 billion tons of CO2 every year. These statistics are making it painfully obvious that our planets future is on the line if we don’t change the way we’ve been doing things, specifically when it comes to growing our food.

In response, vertical farms using hydroponic or aquaponic systems have been springing up on rooftops, greenhouses, restaurants, and homes all over the country. The people now want fresh, local, organic produce that is harvested from sustainable gardens, but even with the sudden boom of these kinds of producers, it’s still hard to find. The best way to ensure your produce meets your standards is to build your own hydroponic or aquaponic system, which is fairly simple, but requires space, time, and money that many people don’t have. A new company, Fresh With Edge, is working to eliminate the problem.

The difference between hydroponic systems and traditional gardening is the lack of soil. Nutrient rich water is pumped directly to the root of plants. An aquaponics system takes it a step further, by raising fish that can be eaten for food, using plants to purify the fish’s water while simultaneously feeding the plants with their nutrient-rich waste. On average hydroponic systems use 10% of the water, 25% of fertilizers, and 1/5 the space of a traditional farm, and produces healthier produce in about half the time. Fresh With Edge uses vertical towers with hydroponic and aquaponic systems to grown mass quantities of herbs and greens organically using very little space. Produce is grown in their greenhouses, and transferred to the towers when it is ready to be harvested.  These 5-ft towers are portable and Fresh With Edge is placing and managing them in local farmers markets, and restaurants, so that anyone can pick live produce by the ounce.  Later this year, they hope to be able to provide towers for home use.

Though they are still getting off the ground, Fresh With Edge is booming in their local community. You can find their herb and greens towers at the local Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, and several local restaurants. Hopefully farmers and communities will take some inspiration from Fresh with Edge, and soon we’ll all have access to sustainable, fresh, organic produce all over the USA.

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