East Buffalo Organics - Growing Microgreens
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With all of the factors we find in the world today, good food is getting increasingly difficult to find and afford. From mega-corporations altering DNA to the increasing fuel costs of transportation, we are finding fresh, inexpensive, organic food less and less on the dinner tables of the world.
One report indicates that today 85% of all food consumed in the US contains genetically engineered ingredients. Genetically engineered food and organics alike are becoming increasingly expensive to ship. Estimates predict the cost of food to rise by 22% over the next 5 years.
Something has to be done.
The problem exists in two parts. What do we grow, and how do we grow it locally, anywhere in the world. The solution we here at East Buffalo Organics have devised, and humbly request your support with, is a three part solution to the two problem question.
During winter in northern climates, protection from the elements is a must, so space will be at a premium. What must be grown has to be very nutritious, yet full of flavor, offer a variety of texture and taste, while being relatively uniform in growing procedure, and able to be grown in a small area when necessary, so it has to be very dense.
After years of research we have discovered the perfect produce for such an endeavor…
a nutshell, microgreens are standard vegetables with the unique property that
they are harvested at only 2 weeks old.
At this point the nutrition stored in the seed is flushed throughout
the plant, stockpiling it with nutrients. Combined with the phytochemicals
produced from the first set of leaves, microgreens are absolutely loaded
with nutrients. A University of Maryland
study from October of 2012, the first of its kind, showed a universal increase
in the nutrient content of microgreens over their adult counterparts, some
varieties having 2,500% to 4,000% more nutrients.
To put it simply, microgreens taste amazing. Reminiscent of their adult fruit, but with a texture more similar to salad mix, combinations of various microgreens can provide a wide spectrum of flavors along with their massive store of nutrients.
We've created spicy mixes, sweet mixes, and even milder mixes, for sandwiches and the like, and the possibilities seem endless. When a 3 oz microgreen blend can contain the full daily requirements of all plant based vitamins, a supply of phytochemicals, beneficial enzymes lost to transported and frozen vegetables, and plant proteins , even a small 1 oz sandwich topping can contain a full meals veggie nutrients. Topping any dish with microgreens can fortify a meal.
Used for almost a decade solely as a garnish, these beautiful microgreens are now known to have more nutrients, ounce for ounce, than anything else on the dinner plate.
Taste, appearance, nutrition, variety and density in growth, microgreens, it seems, are the perfect selection for indoor, organic, vegetable production.
How to grow microgreens all year round?
Even summer field crops begin their lives indoors, as the delicious, soft and nutritious, young seedlings are a favorite for birds and land animals alike. To facilitate yearly freshness, an indoor facility was necessary. For half a decade we researched everything from vacant properties to municipal auctions until we were able to purchase a beautiful 19th century, 13,000 square foot facility in East Buffalo.
We've spent the last year restoring this beautiful piece of local history.
Lovingly rehabilitating the property into a facility ideal for microgreen production. From removing and replacing systems in disrepair to installing 100's of square feet of green house roofing, the East Buffalo Organics microgreen production facility is prepared to begin production.
We've finally crossed our t's and dotted all of our i's and the East Buffalo Organics facility is complete.
However, with the intent to provide our produce at a bare minimum cost, we have elected to begin this business completely debt free. Without the expenses associated with mortgages and business / vehicle loans, we can provide our microgreens at prices FAR below what is regionally available.
After building acquisition, rehabilitation, permitting, incorporation fees, and the like, it is our estimate that we could not build the rack systems necessary to begin production until late in 2014. So, we are turning to our friends, and the Kickstarter community, for help with beginning our final stage.
Exactly what we need to begin:
To open in the black, we need 2 production racks, capable of producing over 150 pounds of microgreens a week. Including our first month’s medium and seed costs, lumber, pond liner, hardware, lights, aeroponics and associated fees, our stage three costs are calculated to be exactly $9,811.02. This sets our kickstarter goal at $9,811.00, and will allow us to provide several tons of microgreens to the Western New York region annually. Without the need for preservatives, or the 80% markup associated with shipped vegetables.
- Seed Costs (plus medium for 4 weeks of start up) $1,350.00
- Lumber $628.54
- Pond liner $189.99
- Hardware $100.00
- Lights $505.87
- Aeroponics $1,150.00
- Associated Fees $981.10
$9,811.00 is exactly what we need to build 2 production racks and begin production. If we are able to raise the $9,811.00 we will be able to provide over 4 tons of microgreens annually. If we are able to meet our goal, and exceed it, for every $4,905.50 over goal we receive East Buffalo Organics will be able to produce another 2 tons of microgreens annually. That's tens of thousands of additional servings of organic super food each year per rack!
We sincerely appreciate your time reviewing our Kickstarter campaign. Please review our pledge rewards in the column to the right, and if you would like assistance with pledging, simply click the link below for details.
Risks and challenges
The greatest danger has to be to allow the continued dependence on out-of-area, GMO produce. The WNY market is more than prepared, it's deserving. Our every testing of our microgreens to date has been extremely encouraging and local area Chef's are eager to begin deliveries at the low price range we are able to provide locally for.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Virtually any vegetable can be grown and harvested as a microgreen. That is to say, there are theoretically microgreen versions of every type of vegetable. Just plant the seeds and harvest after the first true leaves emerge. The beauty, aside from their stunning appearance, is that these tiny plants have all the nutrients from the seed, as well as the phytochemicals produced from the first photosynthesis in the leaves. We’ve already experimented with dozens of varieties, and very much look forward to experimenting with many more!
The EBO (future) production facility is in the Lovejoy section of East Buffalo, approximately 1 mile from the Central Terminal.
We are pioneering an aeroponic production technique which has never been done with microgreens in the US to our knowledge. (We've read about and seen footage of a successful set-up in Alberta, Canada.) Aeroponics was first developed by NASA engineers while researching growing techniques for long distance space flights. The technique involves seeds suspended on a moist grow medium which allows the roots to grow down through into a root chamber. Here they are suspended in air, ‘watered’ with a super-fine mist (5-50 micron droplets) every 3-5 minutes. This technique has shown amazing results in every application we’re aware of, increasing the size of finished plants while reducing the overall grow cycle.
The components of such a system are somewhat expensive, as the micron sized water droplets are only formed when shot through precision misters at very high pressure. We believe the cost is completely warranted, however, and we can hardly wait to see what improvements on yields and cycle times we can generate.
Because microgreens are harvested at such an early date, just 10 – 14 days after germination, we can harvest our first crop just 2 weeks after the first rack is built. We hope to start our marketing and sales in full force by September 2013!
Yes! While our business model is primarily aimed at providing fresh microgreens directly to chefs, we will also be setting up at farmer’s markets, speaking to local supermarkets and possibly even providing home delivery!
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