Daniel Rumley, Red Heir Horticulture
An athlete by trade who was raised in Birmingham, Rumley has two loves: health and the community. Daniel has a passion for community development and says he knows that “health is wealth” – cheap food isn’t cheap when it costs you your health. “What good is money if you’re too sick to spend it?” he asks. But what if that’s all that’s available in your neighborhood? Enter Red Heir Horticulture – an endeavor after the Urban Food Project’s own heart.
1) Create small “concrete farms” in shipping containers on unused lots using hydroponic growing practices and
2) Help developing small farmers by working with them and bringing their goods to market.
The idea came about on a trip to Boston. Daniel and longtime friend Paul Delaney III (now his Red Heir Horticulture partner) knew they could create their own version of a shipping container garden that would benefit the community. Red Heir is currently piloting its first farm in Southwest Birmingham, growing high-quality hydroponic lettuces sold through the Urban Food Project to Birmingham’s best restaurants. One shipping container can produce as much as one acre of farmland – but can be located anywhere. Red Heir’s farms will be located in low-income communities with limited access to fresh foods and will employ local residents.
Rumley sees a serious disconnect in the Birmingham food system and is working to change that with the belief that you can, in fact, run a capitalistic endeavor with an honest community focus. “It is possible,” Rumley stated. “I will fail or succeed with that…I won’t compromise the community for capitalism but you can do both.” What is the most inspiring thing about Rumley’s work? “The future,” he said. “The thought of community members being able to walk to the concrete farm in their neighborhood and purchase fresh produce right there.” We think that’s pretty inspiring too.
You can follow the work of Red Heir Horticulture here.