NYC is home to a new collaborative working & learning space for sustainable food and urban agriculture ventures.
In a bid to deepen and expand the resources, connections, skills, and capacity in New York City's growing sustainable food and urban agriculture ecosystem, the AgTech X Co-Lab opened its doors to prospective members last week. The venture will offer hands-on experience, the use of hydroponic equipment, educational events, and access to resources for both newcomers and entrepreneurs alike, with its mission clearly stated as aspiring to be "the #1 resource for newcomers looking to transition careers into AgTech & Urban Agriculture."
"Every day I talk to young professionals who are considering leaving well-paying jobs in tech, finance, or other common industries. They want to be involved in a more mission-driven space that addresses social inequality, human health, and environmental sustainability. Food is the thread that ties these all together. But the large majority of people I speak with don’t know where to start to make their career transition or business launch goals a reality. So we want to give them a space where they can do this in a more natural way, without necessarily having to take the risk of quitting a full-time or part-time gig. It’s about allowing our members to explore various pathways in this realm and providing them with the resources to make more confident and informed decisions." - Ricky Stephens, co-founder
The AgTech X Co-Lab is available to members by the day, the week, the month, or the weekend, and the facilities include a kitchen, WiFi, basic furniture, and a variety of growing systems that can be used to learn from and experiment with. According to Stephens, members will have access to indoor growing systems ranging from high-tech hydroponic towers (Salad Wall and Tower Garden) to a modular DIY system (ZipGrow Farm Wall) to small-scale consumer systems such as Urban Leaf and Hamama. Space is also available for prototyping growing systems in a closed environment growing tent for those looking to test their own solutions.
In addition to the standard coworking amenities and the growing equipment available to members, a Co-Lab membership also includes bi-weekly one-on-one consulting sessions with Henry Gordon-Smith of Blue Planet Consulting and Agritecture.com, which are designed to help members further their urban ag careers, partly by networking with others in the sustainable food ecosystem and partly by helping them define and craft their resume and goals.
The Co-Lab is intended to help budding urban agriculture and agriculture technology specialists to develop a business concept, to trial new growing technologies, or start a career, and the hub also facilitates events, workshops, seminars, and more that can help broaden the knowledge and skillsets of both members and the general public alike. Currently, there are 8 spaces available, and the space is open from 9 am to 9 pm on weekdays, and from noon to 5 pm on weekends, with day passes for $29 and a 5-day pass for $89. The Co-Lab is located at 164 Meserole St in Brooklyn, New York.