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Innovation

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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.  

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Agritecture Vertical Farming Workshop

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Agritecture Vertical Farming Workshop

Keep Growing
— Agritecture

The UPC team had an incredible opportunity to participate in the 2015 Agritecture Workshop on behalf of the Association for Vertical Farming. The workshop was held at Columbia University in New York, and it attracted a passionate group of scientists, engineers, designers, architects, and entrepreneurs from around the globe who seek to use urban agriculture as a vehicle for social, economic, and environmental change. The event began with remarks from Dickson Despommier, author of the Vertical Farm. Despommier is widely regarded as the father of the movement, and was an immense inspiration for the UPC team and many other aspiring urban agricultural entrepreneurs across the globe. Despommier spoke about the inception of this idea in the walls of his Columbia classroom, and how it has blossomed into a global movement. Urban agriculture is the future of food production, and innovation in this field is of vital importance to the resiliency of our cities. 

Three multidisciplinary teams were formed and given 24 hours to build a feasible model including architectural renderings, business plan, and financials for an urban agricultural development in 12 locations across the NY. Julie's team selected a brown field site owned by the National Grid company for the purpose of remediation. J.J.'s team selected a site in Far Rockaway, a community that was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. All groups utilized a mix of innovative technology, ecological processes, and community development strategies to help empower these downtrodden communities. Below is a video of the "Rockaway Collective," team, pitching their concept to a group of industry experts and venture Capitalists.  

The UPC team was incredibly honored to participate in a special event with such an amazing group of brilliant minds. We would like to extend a special thanks to our hosts, Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder of Agritecture, and Max Loessl, Founder of the Association for Vertical Farming. Similar to Tesla, Henry and Max are collecting invaluable industry data and building an open source database tool to share with the planet in order to progress the industry forward. As we strive to build a more sustainable future for our planet, we must unite and facilitate innovative collaboration.

As our friends at the AVF and Agritecture say, "keep growing."

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UPC Joins the 2014-2015 Cohort of Social Innovation Lab

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UPC Joins the 2014-2015 Cohort of Social Innovation Lab

Urban Pastoral Collective was selected to be one of the 12 teams to join the 2014-2015 cohort of entrepreneurs at the Johns Hopkins, Social Innovation Lab. The cohort consists of a multidisciplinary group of Hopkins' best and brightest student innovators who seek to solve significant social, environmental, and economic issues. Social Innovation Lab is led by Director, Darius Graham, and supported by the office of President Ronald J. Daniels. 

The Social Innovation Lab is an early stage incubator located in Baltimore, Maryland that supports promising companies and organizations developing innovative solutions to local and global problems. The SIL provides funding, mentorship, and resources to transform nascent concepts into mission-driven organizations with sustainable business models. The SIL and its leaders are committed to the City of Baltimore and to a vision of inclusive economic development and community building. We believe that social entrepreneurship can serve as a transformative and empowering force capable of creating jobs, improving public welfare, and revitalizing communities. Through our programming and community efforts, we are working to:

+ Develop the next generation of (social) entrepreneurs passionate about the City of Baltimore
+ Create a flourishing environment for entrepreneurship and translation of novel ideas into tangible impact
+ Build a better Baltimore
— SIL

The incubator will culminate in March with a Demo Day, where the SIL teams will showcase their prototypes to the community. UPC is excited for their partnership with SIL, and looks forward to pursing their mission to redefine farming. 

 

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UPC Featured: StartUp Maryland

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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:

 

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