HARTFORD, Conn. — Levo International is on a mission to grow 20,000 pounds of fresh produce in Hartford.
The non-profit uses hydroponic technology to turn backyards and empty lots around the city into urban farms.
“We see it as really important for sustainability, both for economic sustainability and environmental sustainability, for us to create a system that lasts,” said Levo founder and Director of Innovation Christian Heiden.
Heiden says the goal is two-fold. He’s looking to bring more fresh produce to a city he describes as one of the worst in the country regarding access to fresh food and to allow urban growers to profit from the crops they are producing.
Levo currently has about 30 urban farmers in Hartford and wants to grow that number in 2023. Participating in the program is free, and new growers will be provided with the training and supplies they need to get started.
“By being able to sell produce, we can create something that is long-lasting, whether we have grants or donations, we have a market for their produce, so they always have access to produce,” said Heiden.
Levo is partnering with area restaurants and non-profits to supply them with the produce they need for their menus.
The soon-to-open non-profit restaurant, Fire by Forge on Broad Street, wants to buy 40% of its produce from Levo farmers when in season.
“This kind of partnership makes a lot of sense for us because we are all about economic development and economic opportunity within the city, so it really is a perfect fit, plus it is high-quality produce we are excited to feature,” said Forge City Works Executive Ben Dubow.
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