MSRE ’12 alumnus Chris Bajuk has been receiving lots of media attention lately for his environmental agriculture startup, UrbanHarvest. Bajuk has partnered with The Millionair Club, a leading Seattle charity, building a 250 square foot hydroponics system in the basement of their large Belltown facility, with the goal of harvesting some 20,000 bowls of salad a year. The program will provide fresh produce for sale to local stores and restaurants, as well as supply homeless individuals and families with donated fresh produce. It will also create job training and employment opportunities in urban farming to participants in the Millionair Club’s jobs program.
The 93-year-old Millionair Club charity provides employment opportunities, meals and other social services to thousands of people a year. UrbanHarvest, founded by Bajuk in 2012, operates on an ethic of “people, planet, profit” — meaning that in addition to being financially sustainable, the company focuses equally on positive benefits for employees, consumers, and the environment. UrbanHarvest won top honors in the University of Washington’s annual business plan competition, and hopes to bring a new type of farming to rooftops – and basements – across Seattle and beyond.