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Urban farming right in your backyard. No, really

Produce from a previously empty lot in Everett? It’s possible. Vi Le, MS’19, co-founded the urban farming startup Urban Harvest in May which sells produce to three independently owned grocers in the greater Boston area.

Published

September 7, 2018

Vi Le, MS’19, co-founded Urban Harvest with James Allen, a University of Massachusetts graduate. The two currently rent a single yard in Everett, MA where they’re growing greens and radishes, but hope to expand the business to more backyards with a larger produce selection in the future.

Le believes shortening the time it takes for produce to move from ground to plate can create a more intense flavor and sustain freshness. By harvesting, washing, and selling the produce locally, Urban Harvest gets healthier options to those in their surrounding community quicker than produce traveling in trucks across the country.

“Growing up in Vietnam, I was used to going to markets where the veggies were harvested every day,” Le said. “When I came to the United States, it was really strange seeing all the produce boxed up. We wanted to create something that got us closer to the plants themselves.”

Le plans to take the business model to IDEA, Northeastern University’s student-led venture accelerator for further development.

Le and Allen hope to one day be the go-to organic salad mix provider for a large chain like Whole Foods.

“There are just so many people who have yards that they’re not even really using,” Le said. “This is a way to have delicious food, and make the most of the little green spaces in Boston.”

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