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Micro Loans for US Entrapreneurs

Usually we invest our micro-dollars in enterprising business people and individuals in other intriguing countries. Today, these USA Small Business Men and Women caught our eyes. May our tiny vote of support help them have continued great success in their exciting ventures!

You, too, can make a difference in a small way with micro-loans to people with whom you feel a connection. Visit Kiva.org for more information. Thank you.


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VertiCulture Farms

Brooklyn, NY

$5.00 
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BEEBOY Honey

Pittsburgh, PA

$5.00 
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Viable Spaces

Astoria, NY

$5.00 
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Wood Violet

Milwaukee, WI

$5.00 
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Tinyfield Roofhop Farm

Brooklyn, NY

$5.00 
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Got Laundry?

Philadelphia, PA

$5.00 
  Donation to Kiva $4.50


More on each of these great entrepreneurs:


Ryan

VertiCulture Farms

Brooklyn, NY



Hi! This is Ryan Morningstar, Miles Crettien, Peter Spartos and Jacob Hill. Together, we founded VertiCulture Farms, an urban aquaponics farming startup based in Brooklyn, NY. We are agriculture professionals with expertise in ecological design, fish and plant biology, economics and business. 

In January 2012, we met for the first time at Jimmy’s 43 in Manhattan to discuss the feasibility of building an aquaponic farm in NYC. We bonded over our desire to produce an agricultural system that was both socially and environmentally sustainable, replicable in urban environments and Jimmy’s great beer selection! After that meeting, VertiCulture was born.

In May, 2012, we built our first farm on the rooftop of a building in Downtown Brooklyn (raising over 100 tilapia and donating all our produce to a local non-profit MARP). We then set our sites on building a state-of-the-art, year-round aquaponic research farm on the roof of the old Pfizer building in Bedstuy, Brooklyn. This farm will allow us to test and monitor various parameters which we will use to scale our operation. We will sell all fish and produce grown in this facility in the NYC market and within the Pfizer building directly; creating both a closed loop agricultural and economic model within a highly innovative food incubator space.

 

Randall

BEEBOY Honey

Pittsburgh, PA

 

I grew up in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs. Though the area has since changed, I learned early on to enjoy and appreciate open spaces and forests. My family taught me to enjoy the natural world around me in myriad way and encouraged me to learn from my surroundings. I never expected, however, to be involved in food production or agriculture. 

I've been living in the city of Pittsburgh since 2004, an area with a surprising environmental culture and landscape. Now a part of a rapidly increasing market for responsible food products - an alternative to the big commercial food industry - I'm finding people responsive to passion and quality. 

Personal Update - Mar 6, 2015

I'm continuing to happily work seasonal and part-time gigs to accommodate my beekeeping schedule. I've teamed up with several people doing complementary foraging, planting, and gardening projects, and I'm learning more about the flora feeding my bees and the local environment supporting us. 

Last year I got a little puppy who became a big dog; he comes along for some of these outings and I know he'd love if we had our own truck. Life is good.




Rob

Viable Spaces

Astoria, NY


My name is Rob and I am the owner of Viable Spaces, a business I started in late 2013. 


After 9/11, I took great interest in peak oil. I left my career in information technology to start another career in renewable energy. My first job was on the North Fork of Long Island, installing wind turbines, solar electrical systems, and analyzing energy use for the customers we served. During this time, a lot of the work I did was for farms, wineries, and other agricultural businesses. It became apparent to me that these businesses seemed to waste the majority of the resources they used, a realization that has stuck with me to this day. I became very interested in alternative farming methods, looking for a way to improve what I'd seen and apply it to make farming truly sustainable for large populations.

Over the last 3 years, I have focused on developing, planning, and getting my business up and running. I worked closely with the Queens Economic Development Center to get organized so that today, with this fundraiser, I can really start getting down to business.

 


Emily

Wood Violet

Milwaukee, WI


My amazingly supportive husband and I live in Milwaukee, WI and we love it here. I grew up in a small agricultural town not terribly far from Milwaukee with three brothers and lots of cousins nearby. We loved to play outside all the time but the small town life wasn't for me. After high school I went on to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where that love for the natural world led me to earn my bachelors degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation. Which led to work as a landscaper, which led to work in a flower shop, which somehow led to me managing a Chinese restaurant. I learned a lot about business at that Chinese restaurant and made a lot of friends, but the call of the outdoors was too much for me to handle. 

In 2008 I started a small fresh cut flower growing operation at my grandparents farm in the town I grew up in. This small farming business has flourished into a floral design business and I am lucky enough to live in the city and spend a few days every week at the farm, the best of both worlds.


 

Katrina and Keely

Tinyfield Roofhop Farm

Brooklyn, NY



Katrina and Keely first met in the summer of 2013 while working on open space greening projects in Brooklyn, NY and bonded instantly over urban farming and pop culture. After many discussions on the frustrations of finding financially sustainable jobs in urban agriculture, they decided the best solution was to start a project for themselves. They combined their passions to create Tinyfield Roofhop Farm.

Katrina hails from California with an endless bounty of fresh food and parents who have always gardened. After college, Katrina biked from California to Massachusetts and experienced stretches of the country where it was difficult to find fresh food. When Katrina moved to Brooklyn, the lack of fresh options solidified her desire to spread access to locally grown, healthy food.

Keely is a fourth generation farmer from South Dakota, and her love for agriculture was cultivated at an early age. Similar to Katrina, when Keely moved to New York City she realized how important it is for urban dwellers to connect to their food and wanted to become a part of the growing young farmers movement on the East Coast.

Keely and Katrina are starting Tinyfield Farm because they are passionate about growing food and farmers, and the unique opportunity that exists for urban agriculture in NYC.


 

Ray

Got Laundry?

Philadelphia, PA



My name is Ray Wall. I am the oldest of six children who were raised by our single mother in Camden, NJ. Camden is a small city that gets more than it's share of negative reporting. Being the oldest boy in a household of seven people, I was the brother, son, father, and man of the house. I had to learn how to do a lot of household chores from babysitting to cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry. As you can imagine, for a household of seven, there is a lot of laundry that needs to be done. 

The majority of my life I spent in Camden, from my youth, all the way up to college. During this time, I worked several odd jobs and tried many entrepreneurial things. I eventually decided to move to Philadelphia to pursue a nursing career. I am now 41 years old, happily married, and the father of seven children. Once again, I found myself bogged down with many chores, and of course a lot of laundry! 

The amount of laundry my family produces seemed like it would never stop growing, so I decided to develop my own laundry service, that specializes in providing convenient and high quality service.



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