Agriculture
Millennial Led Hydroponic Farm Grows Vegetables Right In The Middle Of New Manila Image Credit: Agriculture
Millennial Led Hydroponic Farm Grows Vegetables Right In The Middle Of New Manila Image Credit: Agriculture

Millennial-Led Hydroponic Farm Grows Vegetables Right In The Middle Of New Manila

BEHIND A NONDESCRIPT GATE in the middle of bustling New Manila is a lot that contains a bunch of container vans, some stacked on top of each other. One of these vans houses a hydroponic farm setup where arugula, basil, and kale grow at a constant 18°C every day of the year while the rest wait to be converted to similar indoor farms.

Yvette Tan

This is NXTLVL Farms, a hydroponic farm that aims to grow vegetables in the city. “We grow in the city so that we can decrease our food miles,” says NXTLVL’s Head of Operations and Growth Robin Kwee, 29. “We want to make sure that the quality, the consistency of the vegetables is always at its highest.”

“We also minimize the logistics of farming,” adds Sandro Cruz, 22, who is part of NXTLVL’s Engineering Team. “The produce that we have is more nutritious because it isn’t cut. Because [when] you cut the roots, it starts losing nutrition value over time. But since we cut [our produce’s roots] on the same day we deliver, we don’t have that much of an issue.”

The other members of NXTLVL’s core group are Head of Marketing Aaron Qui, 34, and Earl Lim, 33, who is President.

ACCIDENTAL FARMERS

Not all of the partners expected to become urban farmers. Kwee was a software developer who worked in retail. “The reason I got into farming is I felt like I wanted to give back to the community. I went to Thailand and a few countries in Southeast Asia and saw how good the quality of vegetables are and when I came back here to the Philippines, because of logistics problems and because of our weather, we can’t always have good quality. That’s why I wanted to start growing better quality vegetables,” he says.

Cruz, who is still in college,


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