A Beautiful Greenhouse Saved, Children Taught About Indoor Farming, and a Business Launched
Oakland Urban Growers was created by passionate Michiganders wishing to bring locally grown fresh MicroGreens, Herbs and Baby Vegetables to South East Michigan’s finest restaurants and country clubs.
Bruce Ellwanger and his son Jeffery dreamed of growing produce year round in Michigan. They identified the Ernst Greenhouses, which are owned by Oakland County but were on the verge of being demolished after little use over the last 10 years and none in the last couple. Shortly thereafter Bruce renewed his acquaintance with Mike Skinner, who has been involved in USDA food businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises for more than 15 years. Bruce and Mike teamed up to start Oakland Urban Growers.
Bruce and Mike negotiated with the Parks and Recreation Department of Oakland County for almost 14 months and in October 2017 agreed to a long-term lease of the greenhouses. The agreement provides that Oakland Urban Growers will operate the greenhouses for commercial year-round growing and will provide educational activities about indoor farming for Oakland County Schools.
Oakland Urban Growers is using the facilities to grow locally grown fresh MicroGreens, Herbs and Baby Vegetables in both soil based and hydroponic environments. Oakland Urban Growers works with chefs throughout SE Michigan, providing a wide variety of crops not easily available, particularly in the winter months.