Viewing entries tagged
Entrepreneurship

Comment

Urban Pastoral Startup Soirée Podcast

J.J. had the opportunity to sit down with Patrick Rife from Startup Soirée to chat about the role of food system sustainability in Baltimore's urban Renaissance. 

Listen Here:

Startup Soirée is an incredible organization that connects entrepreneurs from across Baltimore to fuel collaboration, and build networks.

Their next event is January 27th at the Arch Social Club in West Baltimore:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startup-soiree-raising-a-seed-round-featuring-margaret-roth-shelly-blake-plock-of-yet-analytics-tickets-20769591407

-Forward Always

Comment

Comment

Vertical Farming Showcase at Johns Hopkins

The Urban Pastoral team showcased our vertical growing system on the Johns Hopkins campus over alumni weekend. There were over a thousand alumni in attendance, and our team was able to engage the community to demonstrate the importance of local and sustainably grown food. 

It was a great experience for the team. Baltimore has a vibrant community that supports sustainability and local foods, and we had curious attendees of all ages stop by. Food is the common thread that connects every person on the planet. Food in many ways is deeply entrenched in our cultures and is a defining piece of who we are. A smell, a recipe, or a feel, can evoke powerful emotions. It is our mission to demonstrate connectivity through food, and empower our community by building a local food economy.

UP has two showcases coming up on April 27th, and June 8th. On April 27th, the UP team will be speaking at the Johns Hopkins Hospital for the Social Innovation Lab Impact Forum. On June 8th, UP will be apart of the Baltimore Food Hub Vendor Fair, at Lexington Market. More exciting details to come regarding the Food Hub.  

Comment

Comment

UP Selected as Global Health & Innovation Prize Finalists

2015 Unite For Sight Global Health & Innovation Prize (Yale University)

2015 Unite For Sight Global Health & Innovation Prize (Yale University)

J.J. had the honor of being selected to represent Urban Pastoral as both a Social Impact Lab Speaker and an Innovation Prize finalist at the Unite for Sight, Global Health & Innovation Conference this past weekend. The 12th annual conference, hosted at Yale University, brought together thought leaders in Medicine, Healthcare Innovation, Public Policy, International Development, and Social Entrepreneurship, from across the globe to engage in an interactive open dialogue with over 800 participants. The conference began primarily as a medical themed forum 12 years ago, and has evolved into an expansive discussion that explores the social determinants of health through many different lens.

Healthcare innovation was a prominent topic throughout the conference, but one could not help but notice that themes of tied to agriculture, nutrition, and environmental sustainability seemed to permeate through every discussion. There was a shift from surgical techniques, and advanced technology to preventative care and human centered design. 

J.J. began the first day of the conference delivering a talk on the importance of urban food production. On his panel was Joe Whinney, Founder & CEO of Seattle Based fair-trade chocolate company, Theo Chocolate, and Rodney North, spokesperson for Equal Exchange, a worker owned co-operative dedicated to conducting fair-trade business around the globe.  

This year, Unite for Sight launched the GHIC Innovation Prize to award social innovators $15,000 in grants to help facilitate an impact project. Over 200 applicants went through multi-rounds of submissions, until the competition was paired down to 22 semi-finalists, who have to deliver a 2-minute pitch in front of industry judges and over 350 conference participants. Our pitch was 1 of 6 selected to move on to the finalist round, where J.J. engaged in a 5-minute presentation and 20 minutes of questions with judges and audience members. The prize was one by Yale'13 Alumna Lucy Topaloff for her concept MiracleFeet, which created a low-cost solution to treating clubbed foot disorder. Although, Urban Pastoral did not walk away with the prize, it was a tremendous honor to share our company, and interact with such bright social entrepreneurs.  

Comment

Visiting Cylburn Aquaponics Lab

Comment

Visiting Cylburn Aquaponics Lab

UPC is in the process of working with real estate developers and local government entities to locate an ideal space for our operations. UPC has the versatility to act as both an anchor institution and a production facility. Our vision is a combined production and retail concept that is woven into the fabric of the Baltimore community.

Last Week, the UPC team had the opportunity to visit the Cylburn Aquaponics Farm, operated by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The project was developed by experts from renowned food systems think tank, The Center for a Livable Future (CLF). This initiative is spearheaded by aquaculture expert Dave Love, and farm manager, Laura Genello. Cylburn acts as both a research lab and an educational farm for the community. The farms hosts anyone from school age children to commercial growers interested in alternative growing methods. The CLF also offers a summer program, that acts as a crash course in aquaponic growing. UPC is arranging to partner with Cylburn and the CLF to test our vertical growing methods and various crop varietals in their greenhouse. Consumer education and interaction are vital as we grow our company. This opportunity will provide valuable insight into how the community interacts with our product.  

Laura lead us on a tour of the farm, and explained the intricacies of the system, and how it recycles and circulates water / nutrients to grow a wide variety of plants. Laura harvests the produce, and sells it at the Waverly Farmers Market on saturdays. The farm also raises tilapia which, and their waste serves as nutrients for the growing process. Laura explained how tilapia are an ideal fish species for aquaponic production because of their resiliency and growth rate, however, they the cost of heating the tanks for this tropical, Nile fish, is high. Below is a video of the farm and how the process worked

UPC is excited to work with Laura and the CLF to test our vertical growing methods and learn from their wealth of expertise in the field.

Comment

UPC Featured: StartUp Maryland

Comment

UPC Featured: StartUp Maryland

The UPC team had the opportunity to present our concept to a group of social impact investors at the Johns Hopkins Innovation Factory Summit at the end of September. Entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds shared exciting business models ranging from mobile health and cancer diagnostics, to web applications and urban development. UPC received immense interest from the audience of burgeoning entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and investors, and is proceeding through the due diligence phase with several potential partners. Co-founders, J.J. and Julie also had an interview with the Baltimore Sun to share their vision of feeding America's cities through urban agricultural production. 

We believe we can feed our city in our city.
— Baltimore Sun

 

 Walking out of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, where the Innovation Summit was held, the team stumbled upon the StartUp Maryland Pitch Bus, and was ushered on to give a 2.5 minute pitch on the fly. StartUp Maryland Launched a campaign, Pitch Across Maryland, where they drive their bright yellow bus across the state to various innovation hubs, to connect with Maryland's best and brightest entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are thrown into the hot seat in front of cameras and reporters, and are challenged to pitch their concept in less than 3 minutes. This initiative is a part of an overarching mission to spur entrepreneurial innovation across Maryland. Michael Binko, founder and president of Startup Maryland provided his outlook in a press release today. "The diversity of industries and innovations was once again impressive and inspiring. We now begin the two separate competitions that define the next stage of the Pitch Across Maryland. The first competition is something fun we refer to as the Fan Favorite and the second competition will reveal our Great 8 Finalists." The "Great 8 Finalist" will then have the opportunity to pitch their concepts at the TEDCO Entrepreneur Expo and the 2 winners will have the opportunity to compete for $100,000 grants through the Invest Maryland Challenge.

Support UPC in our mission to redefine farming by sharing this link to our story:

 

Comment