Urban farming, the name alone may sound a little strange but this unique way of cultivating produce may be the way of the future. Using warehouses and artificial light instead of farmland and the sun an urban farm allows the farmer to control the environment. This can result lower water usage, eliminate the need for herbicides or pesticides and increase the crop yield per square foot.
Farmer Dave Smiles knows a thing or two about urban farming, he started Uriah’s Urban Farm, located at 5251 E. Diana Street in Tampa, in 2011, but this wasn’t his first voyage into the world of agriculture.
When he was 17 he started in aquaponics and fish farming. After high school we would grow herbs, grains and plants for chef friends and he would eventually go on to run a hydroponic farm.
Farmer Dave did not travel a straight path to where he is today. In 2007 Dave’s son Uriah was born with a rare metabolic condition known as GLUT1 syndrome, a condition that doesn’t allow him to absorb glucose properly and can lead to seizures and developmental delays.
In need of money to support his son, and a knack for farming, Dave turned to growing marijuana. He was eventually caught and incarcerated.
When he got out he said never again and moved on to the next chapter of his life, starting Uriah’s Urban Farms where he grows, amongst other things, dill, parsley, mint and salad.
As fate would have it one of the treatments for Uriah’s condition is a special diet heavy in fibrous vegetables and medium chain triglycerides, salad just happened to meet that criteria.
Today, Farmer Dave supplies fresh produce to local restaurants as well as residential customers.
Tomorrow I will be visiting Uriah’s Urban Farms to learn more about urban farming, and to taste some of his producer for myself. Watch for my report only on 10News.