Evan Premer is the latest grower who is re-inventing the idea of the traditional American farm. With the help of Veterans to Farmers, community grants and private support, Evan launched Colorado’s first vertical farm, AeroFarmCo, in Lakewood, Colo., this March. Even though he didn’t grow up on a farm, Evan, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, was able to quickly form a successful hydroponic business after working with the Veterans to Farmers program in Denver, Colo.
This innovative farm provides a valuable contribution to the state, which has been suffering from its worst drought in decades. For the first time, there is a solution for farmers struggling to raise their crops. With its water recycling technology, this vertical growing system utilizes up to 95% less water on 90% less land space.
Because this vertical aeroponic system is so easy to learn and implement – even for those without an agriculture background – AeroFarmCo was able to launch a successful business in record time. “We’ve grown up fast in two months,” Evan said. “Our Towers arrived in early March, and we planted seedlings and trained at Montecito Urban Farms, all within the first week. We opened for business and began selling our greens and produce in the middle of a very cold, snowy April.”
Admirably, Evan and AeroFarmCo are not keeping the knowledge of this futuristic growing system to themselves; instead, they are educating the community. In May, Chef Daniel Asher of Root Down brought in the AeroFarmCo to provide a “Tower to Table” experience for a private dinner at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In addition, the farm educated 2,000-plus kids and their families during the Stemosphere event at Denver University.
Plus, AeroFarmCo recently held its first Mother’s Day sale of greens and seedlings! “We have walk-in customers daily too, who are buying greens, seedlings and towers. If people are skeptical, one taste changes the conversation,” Evan said.
In July, AeroFarmCo will help the Mayor of Denver and the Governor of Colorado welcome dignitaries from North America and South America to Denver for the Biennial of the Americas. “Our greenhouse will provide food sustainability and quality nutrition in our family and community, for generations to come,” Evan said.
AeroFarmCo is not only helping reinvent the American farm, but the company is also reclaiming the idea of a family farm. Evan, his wife, Heather, and Evan’s mom, Esther, are all working together to grow the best locally grown produce year-round to provide to the local community. And, everyone in the community and the environment benefits, because the vertical aeroponic system produces chemical-free, better tasting, and more nutritious herbs, fruits, and vegetables than conventional farms.
About Veterans to Farmers:
Veterans to Farmers’ mission is to turn protectors into providers. Its founder, U.S. Marine veteran Buck Adams, understands how difficult the transition from warrior to civilian can be. “Our program is grounded on stewarding life and growing plants. The greenhouse is like a decompression chamber for these guys,” Buck said. Buck is also the founder of the largest organic greenhouse co-op in Colorado, which supplies cucumbers and tomatoes to Whole Foods Market.
In 2012, Buck was introduced to the aeroponic tower garden techniques. That introduction changed the trajectory of Buck’s vision for Veterans to Farmers and its program graduates. “With vertical growing expertise, our graduates can redeploy the American Farm and scale locally grown, nationwide. Already, in 2013, we have helped launched two of our graduates into commercial vertical tower farms, Buck said.
To keep up with AeroFarmCo’s happenings, “like” them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AeroFarmCo.