From the Ground Up
Central City Urban Farm
by Mitch Hungerpiller, Founder
September 2, 2021
Farming with grandparents, mom and dad from early childhood brings back many memories and life lessons. Both of my parents grew up on farms in Alabama and South Carolina. We visited their homesteads several times a year before interstates permitted rapid auto travel. Many times, during the long trips in the family station wagon, we would discuss gardening tasks such as weeding, watering, fertilizing and harvesting. We would also discuss the daily care it took for livestock and recipes for our bounty. My grandparents always had a freezer full of seasonal harvests and canned goods from their garden. The flavor and smell of their meals still bring back the best memories.
I studied accounting at East Carolina University and began my professional career in 1986. I then moved to Alabama for my first career job. I worked as an accountant, corporate executive, IT professional and have also started as an entrepreneur in several companies focusing on emerging technologies. However, all this work remained primarily indoors until recently.
During the pandemic start in early 2020, I wanted to spend more time outdoors, so I moved to my mom’s family homestead in rural Alabama and began studying the latest trends in farming. That time away allowed me to share many of my childhood farming experiences with my three sons. We planted a .5 acre vegetable garden and spent a lot of time in a greenhouse experimenting with the latest farming best practices. Our garden survived all of nature’s elements including, heavy rain, high wind, insects and disease. We harvested our crop and served it daily as well as shared it with family and friends. I was hooked on plants and moved the farm inside to a recently vacated 25,000 sq. ft. property that I own. I recruited my wife’s sister out of retirement to help manage the business. Together as a team, we brought over 75 years of business experience and decades of farming history to create Central City Urban Farm.
This year, I planted a small outdoor rooftop garden using five-gallon buckets and plastic bags of soil for heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash. It was primarily an experiment as my childhood neighbor used his textile mill roof to successfully grow thousands of tomato plants in the 1970’s. The crop produced beautiful bounty, so we were able to make salsa, hot sauce and miscellaneous healthy dishes for friends and family. We will use the many lessons learned for next year!
We are proud to introduce our indoor, hydroponic, farm products to you and hope you will enjoy the taste, freshness and quality. We focus exclusively on innovative technology and best practice growing methods to maximize plant yield that produces optimal flavor, color and health. Our new customers this year have enjoyed our crop, and we will get a little publicity from one customer who appears on the Food Network later this year.
Central City Urban Farm is committed to the highest quality growing standards at our farm. Currently, we are growing gourmet leafy lettuces, kale, swiss chard, spinach, basil, chives and cilantro. We hope you enjoy our products as much as we and our satisfied customers do!