During the summer of 2010, Fork Farms co-founder Alex Tyink volunteered at a rooftop garden in Brooklyn, New York. It overlooked the New York City skyline and was a place of tranquility amid the busy grey of the city. The garden was created by an eccentric local artist as a summer hobby meant to feed hungry families at the food pantry on a lower floor of the building. At the end of the summer, Tyink was given a portion of the food to take home as a token of appreciation for his service. He had never grown his own food before. And as simple and silly as it sounds, that bag of lettuce that he carried home on the subway that day changed him forever.
When you put your own sweat into something you can’t help but become more emotionally attached. Involvement and engagement breeds connection and connection leads to real, sustainable change. Eating fresh food he had grown led Tyink to continue eating fresher food. He became hooked because of his involvement. The better he ate, the better he felt. The fresh food unearthed and helped relieve his unrecognized depression symptoms. He decided he needed to help other people experience the same thing. By putting the power to grow lots of fresh, good food in ordinary people’s hands, he believed that more people would grow to appreciate good food and change their eating habits – not because they felt like they needed to, but because they wanted to. This hypothesis proved to be true.
Since then, Fork Farms has been involved in hundreds of indoor farm installations across the United States with people at schools, food pantries, family homes, cafeterias and more. We believe in the power of good food, and we have made it our mission to Grow Happier, Healthier People.
Fork Farms founded as an independent contractor building rooftop and indoor gardens for schools and food programs in New York. Initial product research focused on lowering operating costs of indoor agriculture.
26 product prototype iterations built. Core intellectual property discovered.
Patent awarded. Business moves to Wisconsin. First Flex Farm prototype built out of wood in a garage.
8 field-test installations of Flex Farm Generation 1 (made out of stainless steel) with support from Goodwill Industries. First prototype donated by Bassett Mechanical.
Resounding positive product and program feedback from community leads to family and friends capital round and engineering of Generation 2 Flex Farm. Partnership with Feeding America established.
Generation 2 Flex Farm launches (made out of recyclable plastic) and 30 installations completed. Environmental efficiencies and commercial viability proven.
Seed capital round raises $750K. 95 Flex Farm installations. First commercial-scale installation commences (2,000 sq ft). Fork Farms wins THINC! Innovation Award.
Generation 3 launches, opening global shipping capability. Over 50 Flex Farm installations completed across 10 states. Gardan Inc. formalized as a fulfillment partner. FIRST Educational Resources develops custom K-12 curriculum. Taher Inc., a food service company based in Minneapolis, MN, begins providing Flex Farms to its clients. Fork Farms enters into multiple product distributor agreements.