At Re-Nuble, we feel it's important to shed light on the farms and growers that use our products because we're connected by shared values, transparency in everything that we do, commitment to sustainability, and a prioritization in creating education in agriculture and our food systems. Randy Carmeron at Skyponic Farming recently grew baby greens and romaine using our Booster Shot! product. The outcome was great and led the kids at the Children's Aid Society in Harlem where Randy's farm is located to harvest their hard work and prepare and serve it to their parents. Creating a more connected experience with all constituents in the community is important as food can create a tangible positive feeling of gratitude and affirmation that this can be done in hectic cities like NYC too.
I founded Skyponic Farming in 2006, after having been inspired by a feature I saw on Will Allen and his aquaponic farm Growing Power Inc. Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey featured the successes of Growing Power Inc. in Milwaukee, and although I’m from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I realized I had the experience and passion to create a similar business. I have spent most of my life involved in aquaculture, specifically breeding rare fish, and mastering the symbiotic relation between fish and aquatic plants. My background in aquaculture, along with mentorships from master hydroponic growers and farmers, led to the development of my skill set in both aquaponic and hydroponic production. Ultimately, Skyponic Farming will be a leader in manufacturing prefabricated controlled environment farms, urban farm maintenance, job training, and urban farm education.
In three to five years, New York City will be home to several urban farming companies who are driven by the effort to provide sustainable eco friendly food. These farms will be located in various areas of the city, from building rooftops to available lots in neighborhoods considered “food deserts”.
Skyponic Farming’s impact as related to the landscape of New York City, derives from the experiences I gained in working at youth development organizations such as the Children’s Aid Society and Madison Square Boys & Girls Club. I know what effective programming looks like and, more importantly, I’ve witnessed the positive change in the lives of folks less fortunate than some, who participate in these programs. With that said, it is the mission of Skyponic Farming to thrive in the manufacturing of prefabricated controlled environment farm structures, and to provide a platform where NYC’s untapped workforce can become the face of urban farming. As Skyponic Farming scales up as an organization, we want to not only build the farm but train the farmer to become economically independent.
Urban farming sustainability lies hand in hand with its ability to operate without placing strain on the environment while producing food. Skyponic Farming believes and practices in the water conservation that hydroponic farming offers, along with utilizing solar power, naturally derived nutrients, and combination of both natural and L.E.D. lighting, allows us to reach and maintain our sustainability goals.
I feel as the urban farming industry grows, it will be crucially important to integrated hydroponic and aquaponic urban farming lessons into the S.T.E.M. education curriculum. Owners of urban farming operations who utilize various hydroponic techniques should participate in the urban education programs to assure that we are always grooming the next master urban farmer.