Texas firms in two cities are implementing creative business and food delivery solutions as the carnivirus epidemic has shrunk the food system and highlighted the urgent need for positive change at all levels of the food industry.
Farms are recipients of the American Heart Association’s second annual Foodscape Innovation Award.
Twenty-six companies submitted applications for new innovations in healthcare, which were reviewed by a panel of judges with expertise in nutrition, science, retail, manufacturing and public health. The panel selected Moonflower Farms as the recipients of the Excellence Award. The public voted for the reusable firms as the Consumer Choice Award among the three finalists selected by the judge.
Munaflower firms have won for entry into “sustainable agriculture through water conservation”.
CEO and founder Federico Marks started Moonflower Farms in 2016 as Houston’s first vertical farm. Since then, it has expanded into a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse that produces bacon, microgran, multiple varieties of lettuce and others.
“Hydroponic farms depend on rainwater to control costs and environmental impact,” says Marx. “Greenhouses yield ten times more per square foot and use 90-95% less water than ordinary land. The farm is active all year round regardless of weather conditions. In fact, after Hurricane Harvey destroyed Houston in 2017, other local farms were destroyed, but the farm continued to operate uninterrupted. “
Before starting the farm, Marx was successful in other careers and worked with NASA researchers as they explored ways to clean air and water and grow vegetables in space. He said his wife’s celiac disease – gluten resistance – inspired him to learn about the effects of food on health.
“I firmly believe that you are what you eat,” said Marx. “We are very attached to this community and they always want our food to be pesticide-free and locally grown.
Moonflower Farms still sells in its high-quality production restaurants throughout the year, but COVID-19 is requested to facilitate the distribution process and market, sell and distribute to the public locally through its website.
Marx donates 10% of the food grown in food banks and provides affordable products to the residents of low-income communities.
“We know the importance of community support,” said Landia Smith, vice president of business development at Moonflower Farms. “That’s where our success lies. When people help people, we all win.
Recoverable Farms acquires “Urban Farming Hub Solutions for Healthy Food and Jobs” for its entry into a nonprofit, self-sustaining farm system in an underworld area of South Dallas.
The mission of the founders is to help by providing jobs, vocational training, seedlings, soil and fresh vegetables in the neighborhood.
Owen Lynch, co-founder and executive director, said he and other partners started recovery farms in parts of Dallas – in areas where there is a lack of healthy food – to fight the food desert.
“There have been hundreds of studies in South Dallas, but very few active changes,” Lynch said. “We knew we needed to be different. We’re not just running a farm, we’re doing something bigger. “
Since 2017, recoverable firms have professionally installed seed planting and training firms that promote economic sustainability.
Lynch said the farm’s name was inspired by “restorative justice” and by those who trained and recruited those who had previously been incarcerated at Mission Tyrone Day, the main park of recovery firms, who earned horticultural degrees while incarcerated after being wrongfully convicted. Day now runs the farm and shares his vast knowledge with the community.
“Tyrone is a perfect example of a property that was completely demolished before it came to work here,” Lynch said. “He is a hero. His knowledge that helps the community today and will continue to do so for the next few years. “
The launch adds, there are many more benefits to emerging gardens.
“Releases endorphins that work in the soil,” he says. “It reduces stress. Also, a child who grows his own food is more likely to eat it. We are making this connection to where the baby food comes from.
“These farms give people an idea of purpose,” says Doric Earl, managing director of Restorative Farms. “People need positive moments, but they need more during epidemics. The fact that we’ve been able to sustain, expand and support so many people has really taken a difficult year. “
Restorative firms have multiple community partners, including Dallas City and Southern Methodist University, where Earl and Lynch are professors.
The American Heart Association expects that these awards will encourage more innovation and positive change to improve food security and public health.
For more information, see Heart.org/fudinovevationwords.