Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 Episode 16: Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table

March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Today we have the pleasure to air the panel presentation “Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table” with George Irwin, Tom Ferraro, and U.S. Congressman Tom Reed from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on greenroofs.tv and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.

We’re happy that George is an  editorial contributor to Greenroofs.com as The Green Wall Editor (2008).  Outspoken and sometimes even a bit brazen, he always  shoots from the hip and  writes from the heart and George  has become a true friend and staunch supporter of ours.  With George’s excellent work combining his greenroof and greenwall systems with  education for  youth and the  underprivileged plus his implementation of vertical food farms, I felt he would make an excellent leader of a panel on the subject.

This panel of experts addresses how urban agriculture is on the rise globally – up the walls and on rooftops.  Fresh, local crops benefit the entire community for many reasons.  U.S. Congressman Tom Reed from the 29th district of New York, Tom Ferraro, CEO of Foodlink – a national network of 200 food banks – and George Irwin, CEO of Green Living Technologies International (GLTi), provide interactive conversation and commentary concerning the impact of education, economics and opportunity around local food production with green walls and roofs.

Rochester-based GLTi started in New York City and has since grown nationally and internationally through education and collaborative hands-on projects with local youth, the underprivileged and disadvantaged in New York and Los Angeles and with business partnerships in Santiago, Dubai, and beyond to include their Food Factory and more.

George Irwin is founder and CEO of Green Living Technologies International, LLC (GLTi), a privately held company manufacturing patented Green Living Walls and Green Living Roofs, and is a global pioneer in vertical agriculture.  Prior to founding GLTi, George was a landscape contractor for two dozen years.  He holds a degree in education and his mission is to help create sustainable solutions to the challenges of food insecurity and the dearth of job opportunities for at risk youth throughout America’s inner cities. His efforts have earned him recognition as an official education partner for the New York City Department of Education and additional higher education facilities, with the development of a GLTi-dedicated degree track in “Green Tech” education at secondary schools in multiple states.  The first high school is scheduled to open in September of 2012.  George is also a contributing editor on Greenroofs.com (2008); he is The Green Wall Editor and talks about his own experience as well as industry happenings within the field.

George is the Moderator for “Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table.”

Tom Ferraro is Executive Director of Foodlink.  Founded in 1978, it has grown to serve a 10-county area in the Greater Rochester area.  As a founding member of Feeding America, Foodlink is part of a national network of 200 food banks whose mission is to provide hunger relief, eliminate the root causes of hunger, improve health and promote economic development.  They do this through the distribution of food to a network of agencies and by empowering individuals through nutritional and agricultural programs.  Foodlink’s vision is to build a hunger-free community and sustainable regional food system in which every individual has access to nutritious food and is empowered with the tangible skills to lead a healthy and productive life.  Locally, they rescue and redistribute over 11 million pounds of food annually to a network of 450 programs.  Today, the food bank’s network of agencies serve 102,000 meals each week, or over 5 million meals annually to an estimated 125,000 different people.

U.S. Congressman Tom Reed was elected to represent the 29th District of New York in a special election held November 2, 2010.  He took office during the “lame duck” session of the 111th Congress and began his own full two year term in the 112th Congress on January 5, 2011.  In June 2011 Congressman Reed was recently appointed to the Committee on Ways and Means and serves on the Human Resources and Oversight subcommittees of Ways and Means.  Tom previously served on the Rules, Judiciary, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.  He graduated from Alfred University in 1993 with a degree in Political Science and from the Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1996.  Tom says, “Job creation and the nation’s financial health are the most important challenges facing the country and upstate New York.”

After the presentation on the second day of the 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit, George Irwin and Tom Ferraro were available for the live Q & A session; the transcript was available archived for 30 days for participants of the Virtual Summit – unfortunately, we do not have it available now – one of the reasons to participate in this year’s Virtual Summit!

Enjoy!  Visit greenroofs.tv to see “Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Wall to Table” or click below:

Watch earlier videos on our exclusive Virtual Summit greenroofs.tv play list, or see the following Virtual Summit videos now available on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

If you’re looking for an overview, make sure to see our 2011 Virtual Summit Highlights video (6:18) and our 2011 Virtual Summit Trailer (2:59).

Check back next week on GreenroofsTV for our 17th installment from the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011!

~ Linda V.