Vendor Spotlight: Westbridge Farms

This week’s spotlight is on Westbridge Farms an indoor farm located in Fort Collins that specializes in growing greens, herbs, shoots, and plant starts – pesticide and fungicide free.

Owner and Founder Ryan Wiens Answers Our Questions

westbridge-farms-basilHow long have you lived in Fort Collins?
About 6 years, I moved here from Minnesota to attend CSU and study horticulture.

How long have you been growing your produce?
I started experimenting back in 2011, but started the company in January 2012. We have been working with local businesses ever since.

What got you started?
I was studying horticulture at CSU and saw how broken and inefficient our agricultural system is. I thought there has to be a better way to do this. We waste huge amounts of limited resources like land and water, as well as underpay and exploit laborers. We ship produce all around the country, sacrificing the foods nutrient content and our environment.

I realized that all the produce I was eating most likely came from a different state, and even if it didn’t, it was still guaranteed to have had some form of pesticide or fungicide applied to it during its life, weather it be organic or not. Just because a pesticide is organic doesn’t mean it won’t effect human health, it just means the active ingredient was extracted in a more natural way.

Ultimately, I wanted to find a way to produce clean, healthy produce in an a more environmentally friendly way.

How often do you have a stall at the farmers’ markets here in town?
We are at every Winter Farmers’ Market and are working on getting into one or two of the summer markets.

westbridge-farms-winters-farmers-marketWhere else can people purchase your produce?
Our produce is currently only available to the public through farmers markets. We are talking with some local businesses to try and change that though.

We do work with some local restaurants in town like JAX’s Fish House and Cafe Vino, and we also have some sprouts that go to the Food Co-Op’s deli.

Which people and/or organizations have had an influence on the growth and success of your business?
I have been influenced by a lot of people and organizations, some local and some abroad. Some organizations that I look up to would include Angel Eyes Produce, The Plant, & Ecopia Farms (Innovative indoor farms in the USA.), as well as companies like Apple, Tesla, Orbitec, and SpaceX. I’m inspired by people like Elon Musk, Larry Page, Steave Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Graham, My Parents, My Grandparents, and many more.

What are your goals, your vision for the future?
My goal is to create a 0 carbon footprint farm that can feed local communities clean, healthy, and pesticide free produce on a year round basis. Each city would have its own vertically stacked indoor farm that needs no inputs from any outside resources at any time. This includes things like soil, water, nutrients, and even air. All resources would be recycled and reused in the farm. This general idea has been around for some time, but I am trying to do some unique things that will, hopefully, help add to and improve on it.

westbridge-farms-greensWhat do you like best about the farmers’ markets?
I like the atmosphere and the entrepreneurial spirit of all the vendors. There is great music, love The Seers the most, the customers are great, really enthusiastic. There is a wide variety of products offered as well.

The Galleria is a perfect venue for the market with all the natural sun and the location in the heart of Old Town. Lots of fun.

What’s your favorite product available at Fort Collins farmers’ markets?
The coffee from the Bean Cycle is probably my favorite. We harvest all of our produce in the morning right before the farmers market, getting up at 2:45am usually, so their delicious coffee keeps me up and going.

 

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