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Hydroponic Heroes: Meet Archi's Acres

Here at the Local Producer Loan Program, we interact with mission-driven companies working to change the way the world eats. These are some of the brightest social entrepreneurs in the country with relentless passion for environmental stewardship, socially conscious business practices and community connections.

Archi's Acres

Archi’s Acres in Escondido, California, was started in 2005 by Colin and Karen Archipley. The couple grows organic living basil in hydroponic greenhouses. Hydroponics is a method of farming that saves water and produces 5 to 10 times the yield of conventional crop production. Growing in greenhouses lets Archi’s Acres grow certified organic living basil year-round. A recent Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market™ will help purchase hydroponic greenhouse equipment to outfit a new 30,000 square foot greenhouse and bring Archi’s Acres basil into all Whole Foods Market stores in Southern California.

Archi's Acres

Archi’s Acres went a step further with their mission and created Veteran’s Sustainability Agriculture Training (VSAT). Colin is a Marine Corps Veteran with three tours in Iraq. When he settled back into agricultural life in Escondido, he realized that he and Karen could serve a larger cause. Veteran unemployment rates are twice the national average, and our country needs new farmers. By turning Archi’s Acres into an educational farm, they are able to offer a vocational and entrepreneurial incubator for transitioning veterans. To date, Archi’s Acres has trained over 160 military veterans on their farm. To learn more, watch this video.

Archi's Acres

Colin and Karen’s ultimate vision is to replicate their greenhouses and VSAT program across the US. Hydroponic greenhouses are ideal in urban environments; in fact, empty warehouse spaces are ideal spaces to repurpose into greenhouses. The folks at Archi’s Acres believe returning military veterans are an untapped resource of trained leaders motivated to serve a larger cause. The VSAT program can channel their patriotism to aid the critical mission of building a localized food infrastructure and providing nourishment to people nationwide.

Archi's Acres

Recently, the Archipleys visited Washington, D.C., to tell their story to elected officials and address growing concerns about the future of food and veterans. They even helped First Lady Michelle Obama and school children from around the country plant the 5th annual White House kitchen garden! Whole Foods Market is proud to partner with Archi’s Acres; their organization is a great representation of our Local Producer Loan Program. Through these loans, small, mission-driven entrepreneurs can grow and make the world a better place to eat…and to live.

Do you have a favorite mission-driven small business?  Be sure to check out our Local Producer Loan recipients and see what great organizations are doing in your area.

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Tiffany says …

Inspirational! Thank you

Debra Watts says …

What he is doing is fantastic! Helping vets, helping the earth and sharing the bounty through Whole Foods... awesome! Hopefully, in the future, we'll be seeing more than just basil! It would also be great to see something like this done in other areas, utilizing vets to help and giving us more natural, organic food in the process! God Bless!!!!

Johnnie says …

This is fantastic! I hope to see more and more of this spreading across the USA. As a miliatry retiree It gives me a good feeling to see Americans sustaining America in a different way. Keep up the wonderful work.

Sherese Simms says …

Hi am interested in doing my own farming to be specific organic farming, any tips. Thank

Itzhak Aviram says …

Hi My name is itzhak, I am an Israeli disabled veteran, I will be California LA ariea betwin May 8 - 13. I wander if I can visit your farm, I am manufacturer of advanced nft greenhouses. I would like to sher my experience with you. I love what you are doing.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ITZHAK - I would suggest reaching out to the vendor directly to see if you can stop by for a tour!

kevin moylan says …

Dear Sirs, How do i get involved with your project im a vet who wants to learn how sustainable harvesting hydroponically growing vegetables and herbs i live in houston tx but am willing to travel to learn Sincerely, Kevin Moylan

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KEVIN - I would suggest contacting VSAT program directly at http://archisacres.com/page/vsat-program to find out more info on their program!