Sky Vegetables, will host a summit of industry-leading specialists from around the world at the first-ever Building-Integrated Sustainable Agriculture (B-ISA) Summit, December 12th and 13th at the Durant Hotel, in Berkeley, California.
“We hope to develop an open source rooftop farm prototype, and to create a strong network of support for the B-ISA initiative as a solution to the global food, energy and water crises,” said Sky Vegetables’ 22-year-old founder and summit co-host, Keith Agoada.
Entrepreneurial and visionary, the hard-working Agoada is no stranger to big ideas. Agoada worked with summit co-host and noted industry expert, James Kalin, to introduce collaborative brainstorming for an open-source prototype for rooftop farming. And, last year eco-preneur Agoada’s Sky Vegetables urban farming business plan (to build hydroponic greenhouses on the rooftops of grocery stores) took home the top prize at the University of Wisconsin School of Business, where he was a senior.
Sky Vegetables is an idea whose time is ripe, with a unique business model to meet the growing demand for affordable, fresh, nutritious and chemical-free local produce, while reducing the energy and food transportation costs normally associated with food production. Sky is currently launching a pilot program in the Bay Area and is planning to have its first unit in operation for harvest by autumn of 2009.
More than 15 presenters, and 30 attendees are expected to attend the invitation-only, two-day summit, where experts will convene from the diverse disciplines of architecture, structural engineering, aquaponics, controlled environment greenhouses, composting, alternative energy, automated systems, aquaculture, hydroponics, horticulture, integrated biological systems, sustainable farming, water economics, urban agriculture, and green business.
Summit organizers anticipate that the group will work to generate the precise wording of a proposed US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(TM)) Credit for B-ISA systems in general, and the group’s rooftop farm design prototype in particular. USGBC’s LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. For more information about the B-ISA summit, or a list of presenters and topics, go to their website or email.
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“Agoada walked me through the basics. “We come in on the rooftop as a tenant of the building. We rent the rooftop space. We pay for the upgrade, the insurance costs, the fixed costs for planning and development and the soft costs of architects, etc. We take all of that on. We outsource the equipment. We don’t invent technologies. We’re taking existing proven technologies and applying them to this rooftop. Then we make our money off the sale of the produce. The technology is controlled-environment greenhouses, year-around systems keeping constant temperatures and controlling the environment there. No pesticides, no herbicides, all integrative pest management systems and composting and trying to use paper and food waste from the building as the nutrient stream for our plants.”
Visionaries Work to Get Rooftop and Vertical Farming Off the Ground
New York Times Green Inc Blog – December 12, 2008 by Azadeh Ensha
“Keith Agoada, founder of the urban agriculture company Sky Vegetables and a rooftop farm advocate, is hoping to change this. Mr. Agoada has organized a two-day long Building Integrated Sustainable Agriculture Summit (PDF), with the goal of drafting a commercially viable open source rooftop farm prototype. The summit is being held in Berkeley, Calif., on Friday and Saturday”
“Mr. Agoada, 22, became interested in the idea of rooftop farming after winning the top prize — $10,000 — for his Sky Vegetables concept in the University of Wisconsin School of Business 2008 G. Steven Burrill business plan competition. He says that turning a profit is key”
Sky Vegetables, Inc.
145 Rosemary Street, Suite F Needham, MA 02494
West Coast Office
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way Berkeley CA 94704, Suite 400
Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications
Phone: 617-443-9933 X320
Contact form on website