Mike Yohay is the founder and CEO of Cityscape Farms. Photo: Cityscape Farms
While a city may be dense with population, it is generally regarded as sparse with agricultural space, unless you hear Mike Yohay, the founder and CEO of Cityscape Farms, which specializes in creating urban farms wherever there happens to be growing space, from vacant lots to rooftops.
These smart solutions come from entrepreneurial sustainability companies like Cityscape Farms, which provide urban greenhouse systems for agricultural production with low water use.
“By growing fresh food within just a few miles of where it will be eaten, we will have healthier, better tasting produce and make our cities cleaner and more self-sufficient,” says Yohay.
Important for city farming, the system for growing food has no soil because it uses an aquaponics system. Aquaponics is a method combining aquaculture (fish cultivation) with hydroponics. This approach to growing uses natural fertilizer from filtered fish effluent, creating a closed-loop, pesticide-free organic system:
Yohay says the aquaponics process works this way:
- Water containing natural fish waste gets filtered to become organic nutrient feed for the plants
- Plants absorb the nutrients and the cleansed water is recycled back to the fish tank
One perspective of rooftop farming from Cityscape Farms. Sourcwe: Cityscape
Yohay says he also offers a program to owners of commercial rooftops to monetize their roof by leasing it to Cityscape Farms. A Cityscape team of architects and engineers will develop “site-specific greenhouse systems that are consistent with local building codes and zoning laws. We address every liability concern to assure a safe, structurally sound installation that will earn you income that didn’t exist before.”
Other benefits: helping the environment and the local food economy. The systems that are used created their own nutrients for plant growth and require less water.
On his website, Yohay cites two influences in the development of Cityscape Farms:
“Attending college in Iowa, where I witnessed topsoil depletion and environmental pollution from large-scale corn, soy, and livestock agribusiness. The second was living in La Amistad rainforest in Costa Rica, where for a year I managed an eco-lodge and participated in low impact organic farming that supported our local community.
“Looking critically at these two extremes, I became determined to find a happy medium: a modern way to feed people on a large scale without spoiling the land, air and water.”