Matt talks to his high school pal, Jen Levy, the founder and Executive Director of the Beverly Hills Community Farm, an organization that cultivates greater health and well-being, by growing local food with hands-on community involvement.
Jen advocates for sustainability via hydroponic farming, shorter showers, the elimination of single-use plastic and trying sorrel (aka “lemonade in a leaf”). Matt advocates for drinking Four Roses bourbon, and for voting for David as the hottest of all the 90210 guys.
EPISODE #1, SEASON 2
…To hyper localize food on a big scale, growing hydroponically is a really great way to do that. So, it uses 90% less land than traditional farming, 98% less water, and the turnaround is about three times faster. So, growing that way was always part of our mission. Again, with everything going on, we had to alter our plans.
What we are doing right now, we started the beginning of 2021, we're in a commercial space in Beverly Hills. We have 15 tower farms. So essentially, each one of those towers holds 28 plants. All of the produce that we have from that, we've been donating so far. And then over the next couple of weeks, we're going to start selling a little bit of that. That's currently what we're doing. We are in the process of fundraising to buy 15 more towers. Again, the more towers we can buy, the more we can donate, and then the more we can sell. On top of that, we're really trying to show people that it's easy to grow your own food, especially using these towers. They take away all of the hard work. So, one of our goals is to not only grow food for people but to teach people how to grow their own food.
It would make sense … that everybody who can afford it should have their own tower. I've seen your towers. The way that I can explain it to people who are listening is that plugging into a source, you put water in it. It's like a water fountain but it has, like you said, 28 different openings for different vegetables ... In a sense, everybody at their house should have their own, if they could afford it, should have their own tower. Because then we can all grow different kinds of produce.
Yeah, 100%. That's definitely part of our education goal, is to teach people how to do it, to provide services so that they can do it on their own. To work with local schools, to get them into every school so they can start growing their own food. There's lots of benefits. Also, the interesting thing about greens specifically is that most produce, the second you harvest it, it starts losing its nutrients. It's not attached to its nutrient source. So, whatever, you're cutting it, you cut it and then that's it, there's no more cutting into those plants. So, the quicker you eat those plants, the more nutrient-rich food you're going to get.
So, when we go to the grocery store and we buy a bag of spinach, realistically, that spinach was harvested three weeks prior to when we got it. Maybe two weeks, if you live in California. Maybe even one week. But there's still a pretty big lag between harvest and getting to your plate. So, part of our overarching goal, eventually, when we have our outdoor space or can grow on a much bigger scale, would be to lessen that footprint for local restaurants. So you can provide one item to all the restaurants in Beverly Hills, and they can curate their menu for whatever we grow for them. Then every day, we can harvest it and deliver. Literally, you could harvest before lunch, it'd be on your plate at lunch, you could harvest before dinner, it could be on your plate at dinner. So really working with the community on how to kind of close that loop and keep everything within a three-mile radius.