When I think of 80 Acres of farmland, I think of the Dixie Chicks hit from the nineties “Wide Open Spaces”. It sounds like rows and rows of never ending crop— like a place that only exists far outside the thriving Cincinnati metropolis. But what if I told you it actually exists in a combination of once abandoned, now renewed buildings and repurposed shipping containers within the city limits? And, that 80 acres of lush produce is cropping up, completely indoors, year round, here in Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Village?
Meet 80 Acres Urban Agriculture. 80 Acres was founded by Tisha Livingston and Mike Zelkind in 2016. Through working in the food supply industry for years, the duo had the opportunity to build relatinoships with numerous local farmers. Through these relationships they realized the immenes value of local food on a personal and community level.
Within their current 7,000 square feet of space, 80 Acres' urban farmers are growing acres (80 to be exact) of fresh produce within buildings and repurposed shipping containers. We’re talking everything from herbs, to greens, to veggies. Their master urban farmers all have experience and degrees in agriculture or hydroponics. Together they created the worlds only indoor vine crop room where the vines grow vertically for efficient utilization of space.
Their story is one I can get behind, and one that makes me so freakin happy they are here in Cincinnati. “80 Acres Farms was founded on the belief that local food should be accessible to everyone and we shouldn’t trash the planet in the process. [They] are growing premium produce with 97% less water, zero pesticides, and 100% renewable energy. [Their] greens, herbs, and veggies are delivered the next day to guarantee the freshest flavor and maximum nutritional benefits. “
They hang their straw hats on being:
Sustainable: their produce is grown with 97% less water and 100% renewable energy - since it’s indoors, they are able to capture what the plants transpire into the air, which can then be recaptured, and recycled
Pesticide-free: since their farming is indoors, it’s in a controlled environment allowing for the cleanest produce available
Truly local: eliminating nearly all food miles, farm to fork in one day
Insanely fresh: just like it's as grown in your own backyard without the sweat
Rich in flavor: when produce is fresh, it's full of flavor and nutrition
Take a minute to read this seriously jaw dropping infographic:
Three key takeaways:
1. Better than organic. (OK. explain.) 80 Acres Farms produce is better than organic because it uses ZERO pesticides. Organic produce still uses 46% pesticides.
2. National produce such as leafy greens loses 70% of it's vitamin loss by the time it reaches you within your grocery store.
3. With a growing population, urban farms produce 100x more produce per acre than outdoor farming, so we can feed people faster.
Who are the masters behind the crops? Meet your local 80 acres farmers!
Samantha: her desire to grow food was fueled by her passion for sustainable living while living in Chile
Rob: Experience in agronomy, conservation science, and farm management, he also taught conservation practices in Malawi, Africa
David: While working in Israel in a Kibbutz, a communal farming village, he enjoyed farming dates, one of the oldest tree crops
80 Acres Farms produce can be purchased at select Whole Foods, Jungle Jim’s, Dorothy Lane Market, and through Green Bean Delivery. The 80 Acres Farm facility located at 4535 Este Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45232.