Systematically addressing systems level issues.
In recent years, a new term emerged that described urban and rural environments where access to healthy food was difficult for the people who lived there. Food deserts. For Fred Haberman and many other American food activists, the topic sparked deep thought, wide-ranging conversations and initiatives of all kinds. What could be done? What should be done? The usual way of doing things had led to the economic and cultural conditions that created food deserts; therefore, new paths would need to be identified. Guiding Fred in this and many other instances are the principles of social entrepreneurship. These ideas – entrepreneurial best practices directed towards solving social issues – have been proven successful worldwide. Why not food deserts? Why not in the Twin Cities? Not just any startup, but one connected at many points to the system that needs to be changed. Neighborhoods, jobs, government, wealth creation. And of course, healthy and sustainable foods. That’s why today, in East St. Paul, a new endeavor is underway. Together, partners David and Kristen Haider, Chris Ames and Fred Haberman are launching Urban Organics. Located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery, Urban Organics will grow organic produce year-round in a closed aquaponics system that also raises tilapia.
A True Pioneer and Constant Inspiration
An inspiring force for Fred and his partners at Urban Organics is Will Allen, the pioneering founder of Growing Power in Milwaukee who shows the world that healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable foods can be produced in urban environments, bringing new vitality and prosperity to the people who live there.
Revitalizing A Historic Neighborhood
Urban Organics begins production in the former Hamm’s Brewery, established in 1865 but vacant for nearly two decades. Increased employment opportunities and educational outreach will be available as production expands.
Modernizing An Age-Old Practice
Urban Organics incorporates the latest innovations in aquaponics, drawing on deep wells beneath the old brewery to raise tilapia and grow a wide range of healthy vegetables.