Early Morning Harvest works to incorporate sustainable closed-loop circular initiatives into their farming practices. They use many different processes to ensure that almost everything has a purpose that can be used in the cycle of their manufacturing. They do this in many ways, one of which is their aquaponics system.
Loyola University Chicago
Early Morning Harvest specializes in growing through aquaponics. Aquaponics can be seen as a closed sustainable circle that connects the growth cycle of fish and plants. The fish provide nutrients for the plants and the plants help clean the water for the fish. This process offers many benefits in sustainable farming because a traditional farm would otherwise use more water and nutrients. While this process helps Early Morning Harvest operate sustainably, the company is also working to reduce waste by using leftover crops to help feed the animals on the farm. The farm also works toward zero waste by creating fertilizer from the manure to add nutrients to the plants.
Jeff Hefner, the owner of Early Morning Harvest, has had years of experience farming with his father, Earl, since 1993. In 2000, Jeff and Earl transitioned the farm to organic. Later, Jeff went a step further and added aquaponics to the farm, inspired by his deskmate in the military who had a great understanding of the benefits of aquaponics.
The impact of this change to organic and aquaponics has been very influential in the community gaining many customers for sheer interest in the aquaponic farm. Not only has Early Morning Harvest provided organic local fresh produce in their community, but they have also identified their company as an inspiration for the future of sustainable agriculture.
There are many business benefits to aquaponic farming. Though the costs of starting an aquaponic farming company may seem large, it comes with great benefits in the long run. The aquaponic culture and zero-waste mentality help the company incorporate items into the system that would otherwise be wasted. Integrating this waste back into the system for growth allows for cost-savings, also.
Socially, Early Morning Harvest stands as a local organic and sustainable company that serves as a role model for the future farming industry. In a rural and primarily farming state, this farming approach is a huge transition and has garnered interest for these reasons. The environmental benefits of this company speak for itself through reduced inputs, healthier soil, reduced energy usage, no synthetic chemicals, and the utilization of waste.
Jeff Hafner, Owner
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Panora, Iowa, US
Business Website: https://earlymorningharvest.com/contact-us/
Year Founded: 1993
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Early Morning Harvest is a family-owned farm dedicated to sustainable farming practices that are safe. Early Morning Harvest works to provide fresh foods to the local community. Based out of Panora, Iowa, Early Morning Harvest is one of the only companies growing through aquaponics in the state of Iowa.