In a post-Covid world, the food services industry is working hard to figure out its new normal. But for Sustainable Harvesters, the challenges of 2020 have laid fertile ground for opportunity.
Launched by Andrew Alvis and Matthew Braud right after they graduated from LSU College of Agriculture, Sustainable Harvesters has grown to house more than 20,000 square feet of environmentally controlled greenhouse. With the capacity to grow more than 10,000 heads of lettuce each week, Sustainable Harvesters serves regional fine-dining restaurants, country clubs, farmers markets, Kroger grocery stores — and, now, hundreds of Houstonians through its produce-box delivery service.
In addition to implementing sustainable farming practices that yield high-quality produce, Alvis and Braud — both Houston natives — have a unique priority of helping communities throughout Texas and the Southeast cultivate healthy lifestyles. This is achieved via educational partnerships with school districts, greenhouse tours, and donations to underserved neighborhoods known as “food deserts.” Plus, throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Sustainable Harvesters has been donating a full case of produce for every box sold to customers with its new doorstep-delivery service.
With a future-oriented vision and a community-oriented business model, Sustainable Harvesters ensures that Houston’s globally lauded food scene has a local farm to match.
Located in the picturesque Hockley, Texas, Sustainable Harvesters is a 167 acre property with 5 controlled environment greenhouses that total 20,000 square feet of growing space. All of the produce grown here uses the aquaponic technique, a sustainable form of farming that combines two ecosystems: aquaculture, which means raising fish in a controlled environment, as well as hydroponics, which involves growing plants without soil.
Compared to conventional farming, this method uses 10 percent of the land, as well as 10 percent of the water. Here’s how: Feeding the fish creates a waste product, which gets collected and sent through a series of filtration. The majority of the waste is removed from the system, and the newly ammonia-rich water is sent through a microbial filter to convert the remaining waste into a nutrient that plants absorb. The plans sit in about one food of water, soaking up the nutrients and then sending the clean water back into the fish tank.
The closed-loop recirculatory system not only saves resources, but it provides a tremendous amount of high-quality, consistent production ALL YEAR.
Interested in touring our facility? The team would love to tell you first-hand more about Sustainable Harvesters’ innovative aquaponics system.