Small Business Stories: Local by Atta

October 25, 2017

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Local by Atta

Growing up on a farm, Jesse and Julian Howatt have always had a close relationship to knowing where their food comes from. In 2013, they took that relationship to the next level and started their own hydroponic, indoor lettuce and greens farm in Moncton, New Brunswick—Local by Atta.

 Over the past four years, the brothers have grown their business from a small backyard operation to now occupy a 7,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Moncton. The move has been great for business and allowed them to expand their offering beyond just lettuce. Crops include various herbs, microgreens, kale, chard, and of course, multiple varieties of lettuce. Currently, the brothers are working on increasing production as they now have the space to grow.

 But business has not been without its challenges. A fire in their previous growing site forced the brothers to start from the ground up once again. But thanks to their local credit union, they’ve had lots of support along the way. “They’ve been to the farm,” says Jesse. “I think it’s really important that they can come here and see what it all means, so they know what they’re supporting.”

 “Atta is the Latin word for leaf cutter ants. They basically take pieces of leaves back to the anthill to grow fungus to feed the larva,” says Jesse. “Technically, you could say they’re farming within their city. We take a lot of inspiration from Atta—they’re the world’s most successful urban farmers.”

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