When someone says "urban farming," it's unlikely the image of San Antonio's LocalSprout Food Hub springs to mind. "These spiders really need to get to work," LocalSprout Food Hub Manager Jess Rivera joked as a gnat hovered incessantly around her head.
LocalSprout celebrates 10 years in business this year — a worthy feat for any small, cutting-edge venture. However, it's done more than survive. It's thrived — and so have the ideas its operators have planted in the larger community.
LocalSprout has built a booming culinary community by preaching a gospel of entrepreneurial spirit, sustainable living and urban agriculture via its Eastside Food Hub. Not bad for a project launched by a freshly graduated Trinity University student in 2013.
LocalSprout Founder and CEO Mitch Hagney is also the San Antonio Food Bank's director of food sustainability and chairs the Urban Agriculture Workgroup for the City of San Antonio's Food Policy Council.
His decade of business experience in soilless hydroponic farming, along with his community leadership in food and nutrition policy, have laid the groundwork for partnerships with other sustainably-minded, small local businesses.
"At a basic level, the role that LocalSprout plays is to help grow small businesses in a culinary and sustainability context — in a way that helps those ventures actually become sustainable lifestyles," Hagney said. "A lot of people, they come to the Hub with a side hustle, or they just left a job and want to give something a shot. At 10 years old, I think we're an institution. And we want to continue to provide services that culinary entrepreneurs can use to launch their dreams."
Read the entire piece at SA Current