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Edible Beats Embarks on Hydroponic Farming Venture

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Edible Beats, the Denver-based restaurant group known for its commitment to sustainability and innovative culinary practices, has taken a significant leap towards its goal of self-sustainability. The 100% employee-owned group, founded by renowned Chef Justin Cucci, has unveiled a Hydroponic FarmBox by FarmBox Foods, a local Colorado company, at its plant-based hub, Vital Root.

The hydroponic farm, aptly named BeatBox Farms, is a testament to the restaurant group’s fusion of music, love, and sustainability that defines each initiative. BeatBox Farms will serve as a local source of fresh produce for all Edible Beats restaurants, including Root Down, Vital Root, Linger, El Five, and Ophelia’s. This move is expected to augment the group’s current sourcing practice, where over 50% of the ingredients are locally obtained within Colorado.

BeatBox Farms is deeply rooted in the sustainability and waste reduction values that Edible Beats embodies. The group’s commitment is reflected in their 100% wind-powered buildings and use of compostable storage bags and gloves. In addition, with the new farm eliminating the need for produce shipping, the group anticipates significantly reducing packaging waste and carbon footprint.

Occupying a 320-square-foot area, the Vertical Hydroponic Farm (VHF) will house up to 7,800 plants, with an annual yield equivalent to 2.5 acres of traditional farmland. The VHF is projected to harvest around 120 lbs of produce weekly, including Red Russian Kale, Runaway Arugula, Tat Soi, Hon Soi, Wasabina Mustard Greens, Scarlet Frills Purple Mustard Greens, Watercress, Basil, Cilantro, and Dill.

BeatBox Farms also promises a significant reduction in water usage, consuming 99% less water than conventional farms through its innovative filtering and recycling system. In addition, the farm is dedicated to maintaining an eco-friendly operation by abstaining from pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers, thus preventing groundwater contamination.

Cori Hunt, Edible Beats FarmBox Cultivator and AgriCULTURist, will lead the FarmBox project. With a diverse background in the culinary and farming world, including pioneering the first Farm/Restaurant collaboration at Epiphany Farms in Central Illinois, Hunt is committed to championing sustainable farming practices. The vertical hydroponic system under Hunt’s supervision is expected to produce ten times more volume year-round than a traditional farm of equivalent size, with a daily energy consumption of approximately $20 and only 4 gallons of water.

In addition to pushing the boundaries of traditional farming, Edible Beats has been a trailblazer in the restaurant industry by implementing a self-funded 100% Employee Stock Ownership Plan. This initiative ensures that all 350+ Edible Beats employees share in the company’s long-term financial success. Chef and Founder Justin Cucci describes this as “the quintessential win-win.”

By integrating hydroponic farming into its operations, Edible Beats is setting a precedent for other restaurant groups, showcasing how sustainable practices and local sourcing can enhance the dining experience’s quality while benefiting the environment and the community.

Image provided by FarmBox Foods

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