Garden of Eden Indoor Farming
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Farm in Container Fits Urban Spaces
Numerous companies are experimenting with portable farm environments. Here is an example.

Don't eat that stuff!

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Wondering why...
In case you're wondering why we are concerned about the relationship between food and community, you may find the article linked below instructive. The authors connect the dots between industrial farming and both economic and physical health.

They find that our overwhelming reliance on industrial agriculture since World War II has led to serious deficiencies in who eats and what they eat. It can be argued that the poor have worse access to nutrition than at any time since before the dawn of agriculture. Furthermore, the average person even in wealthy societies eats a much less diverse diet with attendant issues arising from unbalanced nutrition leading to the rise of diseases unknown to our ancestors. That is, as the ancients knew, "man does not live by rice, maize and wheat alone."

The authors conclude that "Industrial agriculture prioritizes production at the expense of a litany of harms..., from poor human health to poor ecosystem health to climate change amplification. It consumes finite inputs without restoring them, depleting natural nutrient cycles and leaving ecosystems bare. This staggering reality makes it clear that our current industrial food system cannot persist. If we want to equitably feed a growing global population without compromising the health of major planetary systems, among other major goals, we must foster a food system based on sustainable practices."

We at GOE would like to suggest there is a better way.

Now that we have you happy and excited to know more, consider clicking the following link.


Food insecurity continues in Greater Seattle
For thousands of King County, Washington, residents, having enough food to feed themselves and their families is a worry. The number of people seeking food assistance increased over the last year, according to a report by Public Health echoed by King County councillor Jeanne Kohl-Welles. This increase is happening while food costs are higher than ever before.


Life-affirming Gardening for Eldercare
By Garden of Eden Indoor Farming

Indoor gardening projects can bring benefits to retirement communities of all sizes. The projects proposed herein can assist residential and social communities with active engagement in a combination of social and business activity that provides both satisfaction and achievement.

As the world’s population becomes older, more urban and more atomized, social engagement becomes ever more important. Indoor gardening can be a key to active living with purpose. It can provide nutrition, often a serious problem for seniors, and it can provide meaningful work without adding stress to daily life.

Consider the case of microgreens. Microgreens are seedlings that are cultivated only to the emergence of the first few true leaves and typically harvested in seven to fourteen days. Growth occurs hydroponically without soil, fertilizers or biocides, just seeds and water!

Microgreens add nutrition, flavor and visual interest to any meal. The varieties range from mixed greens to broccoli to scores of other species. Initially they were added by specialty chefs mainly as garnishes. Research has shown that they are also highly nutritions, often several multiples of the same species cultivated to maturity.

Because they are harvested at the seedling stage, little of the energy of the seeds or the growing environment goes into producing stalks or other non-nutritive material. It’s all food! When added to a balanced diet, microgreens add nutrition and increase interest in healthy eating due to their novelty and variety.

A shelving unit like that shown can produce in sixteen square feet (1.5 m2) about 200 one-ounce servings weekly of nutritious microgreens. (Serving size varies with species grown). Assuming two servings per day, that is enough to satisfy the needs of about (200/7/2=) 14 persons. The consumers will be healthier, and the growers will be productive and engaged.

Such productivity and engagement can have a larger social or economic purpose. A space the size of a typical bedroom can produce about $1,500 to $2,000 per week in microgreens at wholesale prices. Packaged for retail or direct distribution to consumers that amount can rise to over $12,000 per month. The labor requirement is about 20 hours weekly. The point is that a small group of residents or partners can produce enough to create significant income in very little space. The capital investment needed for equipment and materials to create this product flow starts at less than $5,000. Some training is required. If this path is followed, participants will have the challenges and mental health benefits of running an actual business; customers can be the residential institution or the open market, depending on the objectives of the operators.

Now imagine a residential or social congregation of elders, such as a life-care community. Given a group of a half dozen persons sharing the responsibilities of a small in-house business, residents could operate a "commercial" garden, selling produce to the community itself, or it could grow to serve its surrounding neighborhood or parallel facilities with the fresh, local, nutritious produce so often lacking in modern diets. If space within the facility is lacking, then given the productivity of the system, modest rent or profit-sharing with a partner-landlord can be accommodated. The participating residents would share the profits on an equitable basis of their own devising.

It’s really no more complicated than that, and our community stands ready to assist your community with training, equipment and expertise.

Download this article (PDF)

Tomato or not tomato, that is the question
We've had mixed success with tomatoes in our Seattle project, but others have had better outcomes. Here's one 2014 story from Southern California..

Dr. Maxine Mimms Visits Tukwila Garden
Well-known Tacoma educator Maxine Mimms recently visited the IFC Garden in Tukwila, Washington. The garden, established in 2021, is currently teaching indoor growing of microgreens and various leafy greens using multiple technologies. Teaching is coordinated by GOE president Michael Twiggs in associating with Maxine Mimms Academy (MMA).

MMA's indoor gardening program was established in 2013 and has trained indoor gardeners in Seattle, Tacoma and other cities. In addition to indoor growing, the program explores business aspects of gardening and the potential role of urban gardening as an economic engine that can innovatively create opportunities based on addressing the "urban food desert" observed in many cities around the world.

Dr. Mimms founded Maxine Mimms Academy in 2004, initially to address concerns about re-engagement of secondary school students who had experienced conflict with conventional education, often due to family and social issues. The Academy has since expanded into other areas of community based education.

Indoor Farm Collaborative (IFC) is a joint venture of several Seattle-area organizations and firms.

Maxine Mimms Biography

Garden friends
In case you're old school and growing outdoors, here are some succesful planting groups. Where your lead "crop" is in the left column, pair with those in the center. We can't attest to the results, but it sounds reasonable. Sign up to share your own experience.

Micro-what? Diversify your diet!
Go to any health food store and you’ll be sure to find microgreens lining the produce section. They have been all the craze in the food sphere for the past couple of years but don’t let all of the hype confuse you–microgreens are a simple way to bring nutritional variety to your diet and can easily be grown in your own home!

Microgreens are a class of vegetable greens, in between a sprout and mature vegetable plant, (typically grown indoors and harvested 10-14 days after planting) and are especially conducive adaptable to an urban agriculture environment.

Microgreens require minimal space, materials and time making them extremely versatile and something you can do at home. They can be produced from a wide variety of plant seeds–sunflower, pea shoots and radish being most common but micro-herbs, -grains, and even -beans too. The possibilities are truly endless.

What they lack in size, they make up for in flavor and nutritional content. Fresh microgreens can contain up to 40X the nutrient content as compared to a mature plant leaf. Due to their high nutritional content, simplicity to grow and delicious bold flavors, microgreens serve as the perfect complement to a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Tune in next week to get the scoop on what you’ll need to get started in growing your own and even one of my favorite recipes for using these delicious and nutritious greens.

Read more on this...

Using a garden to tackle food inequities
Food is a human right. If specific communities are being left out of the equation, we need to break down the food system and rebuild it better. We need to build resilience for all in order to have a collective food secure future ahead of us.

Tackling Food Inequities

Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
The number of individuals, groups and community organizations seeking to build stronger local food systems is growing. It is encouraging to see the USDA continue to provide financial support to city stakeholders as applicants around the country aim to improve their communities through urban agriculture.

Urban Agritecture

Hydroponics Popular with Prison Inmates
From Correspondent John Zarella; reposted from CNN archive, which had somehow lost part of the text and all the graphcs — MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Some novice farmers in central Florida have just brought in their first bumper crop. That's not necessarily unusual -- except that the farmers are inmates at the Seminole County Jail in Sanford, Florida.

Two months ago, the inmates began planting lettuce in 4,000 square foot recreation area converted to hydroponic farming - - farming without soil, usually in moist air, water or other non-soil medium. The Seminole County facility is the first hydroponic jail farm in the country -- and the inmates are doing all the work.

"A win-win situations for us because we train inmates in an industry that's expanding here in central Florida and throughout the country actually," said Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger.

The inmates are buying the idea.

"I never realized I had a green thumb," said Lindsey.

And fellow inmate Charlene said that learning hydroponic gardening is "something we can take with us when we leave."

The idea for the project came from a prison staff member who visited "The Land Exhibit" at Disney's Epcot Center. That exhibit features hydroponic gardening, which proponents believe is a more efficient way of growing food.

But the jail farm is not only a way to educate inmates, said Eslinger, but also a way to save dollars. Money from an inmates' welfare fund covered the start-up costs, and Eslinger said he believes the crops grown will save taxpayers $20,000 in the first year.

"We need probably another 6- or 8,000 square feet of crops to save $100,000 annually," he said.

And the inmates have already learned one of farming's most important lessons.

"I think it'll make it taste better 'cause I'm the one that grew it," said Mildred.

GOE Urban Farming is currently working with an inmate group in Washington to bring microgreens and other hydroponic gardening into the state prison system. The project is popular with inmates but has been delayed for an unknown period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Microgreens Can Diversify Food Systems
Broccoli Microgreens Can Diversify Food Systems
By Carolyn F. Weber
Republished from Frontiers in Nutrition; Nat'l. Institutes of Health


Current malnourishment statistics are high and are exacerbated by contemporary agricultural practices that damage the very environments on which the production of nutritious food depends. As the World’s population grows at an unprecedented rate, food systems must be revised to provide adequate nutrition while minimizing environmental impacts.

One specific nutritional problem that needs attention is mineral (e.g., Fe and Zn) malnutrition, which impacts over two-thirds of the World’s people living in countries of every economic status. Microgreens, the edible cotyledons of many vegetables, herbs, and flowers, is a newly emerging crop that may be a dense source of nutrition and has the potential to be produced in just about any locale.

This study examined the mineral concentration of broccoli microgreens produced using compost-based and hydroponic growing methods that are easily implemented in one’s own home. The nutritional value of the resulting microgreens was quantitatively compared to published nutritional data for the mature vegetable. Nutritional data were also considered in the context of the resource demands (i.e., water, fertilizer, and energy) of producing microgreens in order to gain insights into the potential for local microgreen production to diversify food systems, particularly for urban areas, while minimizing the overall environmental impacts of broccoli farming.

Regardless of how they were grown, microgreens had larger quantities of Mg, Mn, Cu, and Zn than the (mature) vegetable. However, compost-grown (C) microgreens had higher P, K, Mg, Mn, Zn, Fe, Ca, Na, and Cu concentrations than the vegetable. For eight nutritionally important minerals (P, K, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, Zn, and Na), the average C microgreen:vegetable nutrient ratio was 1.73.

Extrapolation from experimental data presented here indicates that broccoli microgreens would require 158–236 times less water than it does to grow a nutritionally equivalent amount of mature vegetable in the fields of California’s Central Valley in 93–95% less time and without the need for fertilizer, pesticides, or energy-demanding transport from farm to table. The results of this study suggest that broccoli microgreens have the potential to be a rich source of minerals that can be produced by individuals, even in urban settings, providing better access to adequate nutrition.

Keywords: microgreens, food systems, minerals, urban agriculture, distributed agriculture, sustainability

Ed.: We note that other studies have reported even higher relative concentrations in cotyledon plants compared to their mature equivalents.

Read the Original Article

Tacoma Urban League to Host Hydroponic Training
Starting in December Tacoma Urban Leage will host a training program on hydroponic gardening. The first seminar will take place December 9 at the League's office. The training is offered in cooperation with Garden of Eden Urban Farming and Maxine Mimms Academy and will be coordinated by Michael Twiggs.

Since spring 2017, Tacoma Urban League has sponsored a hydroponic gardening demonstration garden. A group of students and young entrepreneurs in training is experimenting with growing as part of a future independent commercial project.

Future training sessions will range from DIY home gardening to commercial scale. For more information contact Michael Twiggs via the GOEUF contact form here.