Growing food where it is served.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
inHouse Produce Inc.
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Small company (under 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
Open Silo, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, US Green Building Council, Our Foods, Community Healing Gardens are all close friends and potential collaborators.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Los Angeles, California
What country is your selected Place located in?
United States of America
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Andrew Blume was born and raised in Los Angeles, and has been an urban agriculture community organizer here for 5 years. He is an active member of the LA Food Policy Council Urban Agriculture Working Group and formerly led the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Food & Agtech Cluster.
Trevor Hudson was also born in Southern California, and was raised here part of his childhood. Trevor's missionary parents moved him to China when he was 10 years old, so Trevor quickly became fluent in Mandarin. When Trevor turned 18, he moved back to Southern California and worked in construction while saving money for school. He then went to UC Berkeley and became a software engineer, always with an intention to return to Southern California.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Los Angeles is a wealthy 'foodie' city riddled with food deserts. It has an agricultural history, but has since been paved over. Thus, today's LA residents generally know very little about agriculture.
Los Angeles has the unique ability to lead culture globally. By establishing a trend here in Tinsel Town, the rest of the world will watch and follow. We intend to make urban agriculture cool, and bring fresher more nutritious produce to our city and beyond.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Los Angeles has faced droughts, heatwaves, and fires. Climate change is only increasing the occurrence of those challenges, making growing food outdoors increasingly more difficult.
Further, LA has numerous food deserts, a vibrant technology community, a swelling unsheltered population, and the gravitas of Hollywood. Combine it all, and we get a great view of the "haves" and "have-nots" of the world. In other words, LA has great challenges but also great opportunities.
Below is how our project pertains to the 6 relevant challenge areas:
1. Environment: The existing supply chain is inherently wasteful. It uses numerous trucks, processing, and distribution centers - all of which are refrigerated.
The existing supply chain is especially inefficient because all fruits and veggies are ~90% water. So essentially, we are currently trucking perishable vitamin water whereas the future we imagine bring shelf-stable pre-seeded mats to restaurants and using the freshwater already plumbed into buildings.
Food, on average, travels 1500 miles before reaching your plate and 50% of produce is typically wasted.
2. Diets: After harvesting and storing the plants at between 32 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for several days, the plants nutritional content degrades up to 90%. Many people don't have access to fresh produce, and even less have had the opportunity to eat fresh-picked produce.
3. Economics: Many in LA don't have access to, and/or can not afford fresh produce.
4. Culture: Los Angeles is a multicultural city, solutions must be able to cater to a global audience.
5. Technology: Los Angeles is a technology-rich city, but access to that technology is unevenly distributed.
6. Policy: Reducing plastic, food, and water waste are all on the policy agenda. Politicians and business owners don't know how to achieve these goals, so typically, they buy credits elsewhere.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Growing indoors is a simple solution to remove climate risk and improve resilience. This is especially true when growing front-of-house in restaurants or in buildings that are otherwise already climate controlled.
inHouse Produce vertical gardens are already in the dining area of 5 restaurants in LA. While this is an economically viable solution in wealthy neighborhoods, our solution is not currently viable in lower-income neighborhoods. We intend to use the prize money to 'sponsor' gardens to neighborhoods and schools across LA.
This will create a domino effect where celebrities, high-net-worth individuals, and the tech community will see that we can and should grow more food locally. As more people learn about the positive impacts of local food, we can all rise together.
Below is how our project pertains to the 6 relevant challenge areas:
1. Environment: inHouse Produce grows food where it is served.
2. Diets: Our never refrigerated produce is the freshest and most nutritious you can get. Microgreens have 40x the nutrition of full-lifecycle plants and ours don't go bad since they are growing, not decaying.
If people (and particularly children) see produce growing, they are curious to try it. While most diets can be debated, there is sufficient evidence that a plant-rich diet increases longevity and general health.
3. Economics: Our vertical gardening solution is already economically viable in affluent neighborhoods. With time and support, we hope to further our reach in the near future.
4. Culture: We grow over 100 different varieties of microgreens. Los Angeles is a multicultural city, but we can grow crops that are relevant to just about any cuisine.
5. Technology: Our vertical gardens are already working in multiple locations. We want to train more green-collar farm technicians from all sorts of backgrounds to become urban farmers; even those who have special needs or who are formerly incarcerated.
6. Policy: Reducing plastic, food, and water waste are all on the policy agenda. Politicians will support our local food movement.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
inHouse Produce imagines a future where people across Los Angeles benefit from the many sustainability advantages our vertical gardens offer including:
- Uses up to 90% less water vs traditional agriculture
- No use of pesticides or herbicides
- No plastic packaging (clamshells)
- No food miles or need for refrigerated supply chain
- Living produce extends shelf-life & reduces food waste
- Cultivated on compostable/biodegradable grow mats
- No agricultural runoff
- No need for additional HVAC since already in HVAC'ed buildings
- More efficient than vertical farms due their diseconomies of scale
We imagine a future where, by 2050, all food-service and homes grow their own produce onsite. We envision creating urban farming new jobs, chef/farmer relationships, and delivering positive physical and mental health outcomes to people from all walks of life.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Our full vision is to simply grow food where it is eaten across the city. In the near term, we will leverage our current approach, which is economically viable in wealthy neighborhoods. We will work with partners to bring our existing technology and service model to the economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of our city.
Further, we implement indoor gardening in schools. Microgreens grow in 7 to 21 days depending on the crop variety; putting these fast-growing gardens in schools will quickly teach children about agriculture and will impart knowledge on how they can cultivate their own food. Those children can later be well prepared for the green collar farming we will create. This is especially important as the average age of the US farmer is 58 years old.
We imagine a future where people, young and old, are more engaged in agriculture and food systems. We will stimulate their senses: visual, taste, and smell. With better flavors and experiences, they will be more willing to try new and healthier foods.
Our gardens are flexible and can grow over 100 different crop varieties. Regardless of your cultural background, it is likely that we can grow crops that are familiar to your cuisine. This will help us integrate into neighborhoods across the city.
We will partner with local organizations to help us smoothly integrate with communities. These could be agricultural or food-oriented non-profits like the LA Food Policy Council, OurFoods, Open Silo, Community Healing Gardens, Moonwater Farms, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and others. We will place gardens in low-income schools, community centers, restaurants, and even convenience stores.
We will price the produce at well below-market-rate to ensure local residents can afford the produce, and we will create numerous farm technician jobs to maintain these gardens. This will be training new urban farmers who may have never grown a vegetable in their life! We intend for some of these urban farmers to be people with special needs or folks who were formerly incarcerated; people who have challenges but can still add value to society and do these green-collar jobs.
Imagine in 2050 a society where everyone is empowered to grow fresh healthy produce with less waste. Picture food halls with many gardens side by side, each growing cuisines for the wide variety of cultures in our city. Dream of people from all geographies and walks of life sharing recipes and bonding over food, the tissue that connects us all.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?