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US (WI): Scaling sustainably: “We’re more about localized farms”

"Farm 2 is on the way, and we're excited to expand our endeavors with like-minded individuals who share our vision. We're in early-stage talks with the right investors for this project, and the momentum is very promising," says Chris Corkery, Founder and CEO of Hundred Acre, an urban hydroponic farm nestled in the heart of Milwaukee, WI.

As Chris explains, Hundred Acre has seen a surge in demand, which led to immediate expansion plans for the company. Hundred Acre is set to change this food ecosystem for good, embracing locally sourced ingredients and responsible farming. Aiming to bridge the gap between consumers and the farm, the business has flourished ever since its first harvest in January 2022.

Pictured on the left, Chris Corkery and a chef of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel

Full circle: From advertiser to chef to farmer
Chris explains, "I moved from corporate media to cooking, seeking a more hands-on relationship with my work and a deeper connection to the community." This led him to appreciate the efforts of farmers and the significance of local produce in nearby culinary landscapes. Inspired by this connection, Chris wanted to start his farming operation as an inner city platform that brings us back to the source of where, how, and why our raw ingredients are made.

Being fortunate to source from lots of farms close to the city, Chris came to respect farmers because of the high-quality products they cultivated and he was privileged to use them. It turned into a responsibility where he wanted to take the ingredients, incorporate them into dishes, and turn them into something bigger - it's a common bond as a medium for change.

Chris' journey took quite a turn when he was directed to Milwaukee, a city that's abundant in industrial vacant buildings with a rich agricultural heritage and room for explosive innovation. "Milwaukee offered accessibility unlike any other city. Its surplus of empty buildings presented an opportunity to breathe new life into them through urban farming," Chris shares.

A network of farms
Expansion doesn't indicate 'bigger' in a few locations but rather a network of smaller farms under the Hundred Acre mission, each serving its local community within a 90-mile radius. "For us, bigger isn't always better in the world of food production. Our goal is to support this new way of growing by empowering communities to take control of their food sources through local equity."

Products available in retail

Expansion into retail and new products
"At this stage, we're focused on maintaining a passionate brand that is repeatable and scalable. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. We've been sold out for 10 months and counting, so now we have a responsibility to grow more," Chris shares.

The success of their urban farm model has been evident, with demand from partner food businesses leading to immediate awareness and adoption across Milwaukee consumers. "The community speaks, and we listen, as every farm should, so we rolled out retail offerings so that both our year-round quality and commitment back to our city can be brought home."

Next up is the launch of the Pesto with Purpose line, the first in a series made in, for, and by Milwaukee through a collaboration with well-known leading chefs like FreshChef.

For more information:
Hundred Acre
Chris Corkery, Founder and CEO
[email protected]