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Asheville Urban Farms Travels to Abu Dhabi

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Asheville Urban Farms Travels to Abu Dhabi for Conference on Food Emergency Solutions utilizing Agricultural Innovations

In 2012, Asheville Urban Farms (AUF) opened in West Asheville and began producing vegetables and herbs for distribution to local restaurants. Unlike most farms in our region, AUF grows plants indoors using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) methods. AUF has tested 8 hydroponic (“without soil”) systems to see what works and what doesn’t for a highly sustainable system.

“AUF was always intended to be an exhibition farm for international countries and agricultural innovators in the U.S. to partner with,” explains Sherrye Coggiola of C3L Associates, the parent company of AUF. She and husband Anthony created the local AUF as a model and resource to address food production barriers on a global scale.

From February 3–5, 2014, Sherrye and Anthony as well as Dr. Elizabeth Porter, and John Wear will travel to Abu Dhabi for the first annual Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA). “Our goal is to look at partnering with innovators in agriculture as we move away from field farming to indoor environments, such as containers, green houses, controlled environment agriculture,” says Anthony. AUF purchased some equipment from innovators at U.S. companies, and built other pieces.

Since AUF is an educational model, its practitioners (or “farmers”) here in Asheville test equipment specifically designed for CEA. It is C3L’s hope that these assessments will help in C3L’s emergence as an international resource for solutions in food emergency regions. This conference will bring AUF one step closer to achieving this goal.

At GFIA, C3L Associates and its partners will communicate directly with representatives from these food emergency areas, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Africa, to develop custom and integrative turn key solutions that these representatives can adopt. Also in attendance at the conference are farmers from the UAE, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and representatives from 12 African nations seeking solutions for food emergency states.

Additionally, C3L will engage with companies who provide innovations in areas like bioenergy, water conservation, and grain storage. “At AUF, we’ve validated, we’ve tested, we’ve tried different systems,” says Anthony. “There are a lot of parts and pieces folks out there, but there’s really not an integrative model. We’re going to this conference to find innovators and bring the best solutions into a package.”

Upon their return, Sherrye and Anthony will spend the remainder of the year traveling the United States and Canada connecting with other U.S. companies who are interested in becoming a part of turnkey solutions to food emergencies or attending GFIA in 2015.

About Dr. Elizabeth Porter & John Wear:

Dr. Porter is an agricultural economist at UNC-Asheville who specializes in development, humanitarian assistance, and sustainability. John Wear is chief scientist and president of Trident Environmental Services and Technologies Corporation whose driving purpose is to convert high-energy organic matter to soil and plant food.

About C3L Associates:

With a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to business development, C3L (Clarify, Connect, Create, & Launch) Associates partners with seasoned and emerging companies to develop strategies that leverage collective talents and expertise. The well-traveled advisers are able to introduce products to international buyers and connect clients to resources in the global marketplace.

About Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA):

Over 150 companies from 28 different countries will demonstrate how they deliver technology to change the way the world grows food. Programming includes exhibitions, presentations, technical tours, and discussions, to name a few. This event is to be held under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahan, Deputy Prime Minster of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will serve as Global Development Partner and will advise GFIA on agricultural development projects around the world, as well as key NGOs, particularly those with a focus on Africa, to contribute to the programing.

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