“Since finishing Next Idea we continue to communicate with EDC, the people are great. They are a resource hub for us.”
While growing up Jason Green was more than into food, he was fascinated by it. As he puts it “I was the kid sprouting lima beans in a wet paper towel.” He would later get his undergrad degree in biology from the University of Maryland then continue his education at NYU Poly. His interest evolved into environmental science, fed by a steady diet of “electives and late night Ted Talks”. Jason met Edenworks' Co-founders Matt La Rosa at NYU Poly and Ben Silverman while working at the NYU incubator in Dumbo. They put their talents and interests in environmental science, food, civil engineering, architecture, and infrastructure together and pioneered an innovative modular system to construct urban farms. That was the beginning of Edenworks. In 2013 they had funding to build their first prototype modular greenhouse in East Williamsburg. But first they needed visibility, publicity, and credibility (as Jason puts it, they had to be “Google-able”) for the business to go to the next level.
In 2014 they entered NYCEDC’s NYC Next Idea Competition. Out of more than 200 entries Edenworks was the only city business to make the finals. Jason says that through the competition they received invaluable mentorships, made connections, and got comfortable pitching the Edenworks vision. It also helped with funding, real estate partnerships, and validation. They maintain their R&D greenhouse in East Williamsburg and sell flavorful greens and herbs to smaller food retail brands. They will be building a commercial scale greenhouse in Long Island City in 2016.
What started as three guys with a new idea, Edenworks is on an upward trajectory, already employing 9 people full-time, growing to about 15 people full-time when they open their new facility. Jason, Matt, and Ben want to make agriculture part of the built environment with their new model that addresses the increasing global need for fresh, quality food - feeding a world that’s increasingly in need of resources, space, water, and energy. As for New York City as the place to start their business Jason explains that “if we can change the way the New Yorkers eat we can have an impact on the way the whole world eats.”