Michael Billings grew up in Shreveport, LA and after high school left to travel the world. He came back to town to be a dad and he wasn’t finding opportunities that fit his interests. His dad suggested that he make his own opportunity. That’s exactly what he did when he founded the hydroponic Cotton Street Farms.
Michael’s family was involved in alternative farming for 20 years. His dad taught him how to take something traditional and make it benefit and useful to himself. Mike said that it is not always practical to grow plants indoors commercially. But, he says if you have a business model that caters to your community, and you have interesting quality products, he is showing that you can grow food indoors in the middle of the city, even in a depressed city. You could go to the big chain grocery store or you could go to Cotton Street Farms, spend the same amount of money and leave with a way more tasty product. It’s the best smelling, tasting, cleanest produce that you can find within hundreds of miles. He says his system uses clean water, organic fertilizers, no pesticides, no fungicides, no herbicides . . . no cides! It will blow you mind walking in the door. Cotton Street Farms control the atmosphere, humidity and lighting frequency. Everything done is for the highest benefit of the plant and it just grows big, strong, colorful, and tasty.
Micheal is working to develop a local educational program, that businesses can sponsor, to help bring grow kits to schools and teach children about growing their own food with no cost to the school. In fact, Michael says that if anyone wants to help, there are many volunteer opportunities at the farm. He said he can always use help.
Michael says he has been growing in the current location for about 9 months. The day Ed and I stopped by, there were rows of beautiful green leafy foods. Kale, Swiss Chard, multiple types of Basil, Bok Choy, Dill and Cilantro. Michael said “Let me make you a salad” and we said “heck yeah!”, he then proceeded in putting together an absolutely beautiful array of greens AND flowers to top it off. I’ve never been much for eating flowers, but he gave me a taste of a light purple flower called a borage. It had the most wonderfully light, cucumber-y flavor. I was instantly a fan. Michael said he is working on a new section of a variety of edible flowers. I’m intrigued and am excited to try new (to me) tastes. In addition to leafy greens, Cotton Street Farm has jalapeño peppers, fruits and berries on the way. I encourage you to stop by and pick up your own super salad with no cides.
Cotton Street Farms is located at 406 Cotton Street, in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana. Follow Cotton Street Farms on all their channels:
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