Whalley Avenue in the Westville neighborhood of New Haven isn’t exactly an agricultural hot spot, but self-described environmentalist Brad Armstrong hopes to change that.
Urban Seed in New Haven is Armstrong’s creation. He’s hoping to build hydroponic garden systems that can be used at homes and restaurants across the city.
“It’s a form of container gardening,” Armstrong said. “So on the roof is perfect.”
In a city with litter open space being able to brings gardens to roofs, decks, and other small spaces is key.
A hydroponics system uses water instead of soil to grow fruits and vegetables.
Brad Armstrong started his business last year at Caseus, a restaurant on the corner of Trumbull Street and Whitney Avenue. Armstrong’s systems housed kale, lettuce, spinach, herbs and tomatoes that were used by the restaurant’s chefs.
Armstrong has moved his business to a store on Whalley Avenue with the help of Project Storefronts. The program is run by the city and is a way to encourage creativity, entrepreneurship, and economic development in New Haven. Project Storefronts is covering the first few months of rent and utilities for Armstrong as he gets his project off the ground.
“Project Storefronts is awesome,” Armstrong said. “It’s a partnership between the city of New Haven, they partner with building owners, property owners, and they get entrepreneurs in for short periods.”
Now that Armstrong has a storefront, he knows the hardest part of entrepreneurship is ahead of him – turning a profit.