In this episode, you’ll meet Ralph Becker, founder of Urban Greens in Manila. Inspired by plant factories in Japan, a lack of fresh produce in the Philippines, and DIY hydroponics videos on YouTube, Ralph started Urban Greens, the first vertical farm in the Philippines. He is currently building out a warehouse vertical farm from the ground up with proprietary in-house design specifically for the tropics, using local materials and his own IoT.
To be more sustainable, he grows crops without energy-intensive cooling systems. Urban Greens sells produce to individuals, bars, and restaurants. He collaborates with chefs to experiment with new crops like strawberries, fiddlehead fern, and anything with bright Instagrammable flowers. And he is minimizing food miles by setting up mini hydroponic systems in grocery stores too.
One of Ralph’s main goals is to help people understand where their food comes from. To do this, he sets up pop-up dinners on the farm–giving patrons a literal farm-to-table culinary experience and morphing the idea of ‘food miles’ into literal ‘food steps.’ He even hosts local workshops to help people set up their own vertical farms.
Urban Greens is a model vertical farm attempting to improve the food system in Manila with healthy, fresh produce.