Major Aquaponic Farming Expansion at Urban Organics in Minnesota

Entering the urban farm scene as an aquaponic farming business back in 2013 was highly adventurous. It was still highly experimental, but the co-founders of Urban Organics plunged into it with gusto. The possibilities were incredible, especially in St. Paul, Minnesota, with its short summers and long frigid winters. After 3 successful years of business growth with USDA organic certification, the company expanded operations into a new 87,000 square foot building across town from their original renovated Hamm’s Brewery location. A few weeks ago, the new location entered production in its phase one system stocked with Atlantic Salmon and...

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Grow Your Own Kiwi Berries

Technically, known as ‘cold hardy kiwi’ fruit, these miniature cousins of the familiar fuzzy brown kiwi are known as kiwi berries, kiwi grapes, or baby kiwis. Because super foods and mini fruits and vegetables are all the rage, commercial growers are scrambling to establish large plantings of this old ornamental vine that happens to bear edible, extra healthy fruits. Since it’s new and cool, this long lost fruit will be pricey until supply exceeds demand (translation: decades). But guess what? It’s actually easy to grow, highly nutritious with antioxidant perks, and delicious with a nicely balanced sweet and tart flavor. Before...

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The Beginner Gardener: Winging it

I have to admit, I was so stressed when I started planning my outdoor vegetable garden. That pressure grew when my boss asked me if I wanted to write a regular blog on my experience as a rookie gardener. I decided to do my research and the more I read, the more overwhelming it became. The trick is, don’t stress it and go with the flow. You will learn from your mistakes and every year will be bigger, better and easier. I keep reminding myself this not even half way through year #1, and despite all the books and...

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The Rammed Earth House: Sustainable Building

Using compacted soil as a building material is as old as the hills. Many examples are found around the world. A rammed earth house, however, is nothing like a mud hut and need not be primitive. It’s a lost art well-suited to sustainable home construction today. When using the proper types of sand, clay, and other excavated materials, these structures can stand for thousands of years. They built the Great Wall of China from rammed earth some 8,000 years ago. Like cob and adobe, you use locally sourced materials to make a rammed earth house, but the first two incorporate...

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People Street Food: The Urban Food Street

The neighborhood that grows together literally put a healthy twist on street food. It all started with one food street in northeastern Queensland, Australia, and grew to cover a whole section of town. The price of locally grown, organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs is zilch. If it’s ripe, it’s available to every person in the neighborhood. It’s an all-you-can-eat community garden conveniently located along the sidewalk, or footpath as they call them Down Under. Picturing a happenstance scattering of little postage stamp gardens? It’s a bit bigger than that. According to Australia’s ABC News, this neighborhood garden grown by...

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