J.J. Reidy Johns Hopkins Carey Business School & The MD Inst College of Art, Tuvalu
Our Story: Sprouted from the cities of the Great American Rustbelt, Urban Pastoral will pioneer a Collective of urban agricultural ventures across the U.S. and beyond. We represent the farmer’s of the future. We are a Collective of integrated business and ecological processes that work towards a closed-loop ecosystem. Vision Urban Pastoral Collective will transform areas of urban decay into centers of burgeoning economic and environmental growth, by producing fresh, local, year round produce, in the heart of Baltimore. Funneling entrepreneurial innovation towards urban agriculture, UPC will design and operate commercial greenhouses fueled by sustainable energy. Using ecologically growing methods, UPC will provide restaurants, breweries, and institutions with a reliable, year-round, local supply of produce grown to the utmost quality and least ecological impact. Philosophy We believe in the power of a Local Economy We believe in the spirit of Self-Reliance We believe that society must turn to its Roots We believe that urban agriculture will Empower our Communities
Who We Are UPC is at the forefront of urban revival. We are farmers who grow in the city, for the city. Our plants cast their roots not in soil but in the heart of the community. Where one sees rust and decay, we see burgeoning growth. We are steadfast, providing fresh, honest food, always. J.J. Reidy, Founder and CEO J.J. founded Urban Pastoral Collective in 2013. He has developed enterprises in Baltimore, Vermont, Ethiopia, and Peru, focusing food security, social development, and sustainable supply chains. Prior to founding UPC, J.J. scaled growth ventures at LivingSocial, a prominent, D.C. based e-commerce startup. J.J. has been cultivating his entire life, and left the startup bustle in D.C. to return to his roots in food and agriculture help run Earth Sky Time, a vibrant organic farm and wood fire bakery in Manchester Vermont. J.J. began his building his vision for UPC at Johns Hopkins, pursing an MBA at the Carey Business School. Inspired through his hydroponic research at the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s, food systems think tank, the Center for a Livable Future, J.J. has been heavily involved in initiatives that seek to revitalize Baltimore through urban agricultural development. Originally from Buffalo, New York, J.J. is a product of the great American rustbelt, and hopes to restore these cities to their former glory. Julie Buisson, CCO Julie joined the team in 2014, as Chief Creative Officer, to oversee the design behind the vision of Urban Pastoral Collective. She is currently a full-time graduate student of the MA/MBA Design Leadership program between Johns Hopkins and MICA. The partnership between the two schools seeks to promote the marriage of design and business. Julie expands the conceptual process by applying human-centered design and cradle-to-cradle principles to apply to UPC. Originally from France, Julie has been living in the United States for over 11 years. After graduating with a degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Personal Selling from the University of Georgia, Julie started working as a brand consultant for the agricultural machinery conglomerate, AGCO. During her time in the company she had the opportunity to interact with farmers from across the United States and became acutely aware of the problems facing the agricultural industry. Once she ended her relationship with AGCO, she traveled around Southeast Asia working in permaculture farms. Now that she is in Baltimore, Julie is involved with urban planning by promoting the use of sustainable urban agriculture and place making. Mark Verdecia, Chief Scientist Mark is responsible for spurring innovation at UPC through cutting edge science. Prior to joining UPC, Mark was a scientist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he engineered biosensors for monitoring cells and the environment. Mark began his science career at the University of California, San Diego where he earned a Ph.D in Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Joe Noel, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Dr. Noel is a leading expert in plant metabolic pathways and his lab has contributed to ongoing efforts to improving agricultural productivity. After graduating, Mark trained with world-renowned neuroscientists Dr. Paul Brehm and Dr. Gail Mandel who taught him how to use the zebrafish animal model, Danio rerio, to study the connections between neurons and muscle. This fellowship was highly influential in Mark’s career as it was during this time that he realized how powerful the zebrafish model system was as biotechnology solution to outstanding issues in sustainable farming. Currently, Mark is pursuing his MBA at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and he is passionate about applying his scientific knowledge to challenges in urban farming.