Marcus Houser came from a family of farmers, but he didn’t think it would be possible for him to continue the tradition in his hometown of Arnold, PA. “I always aspired to that, but it was distant,” he said. “Buying land isn’t openly accessible to my culture, and it’s very expensive. I knew traditional means were limited at best.” Marcus began researching alternative methods of farming. Then he found Freight Farms.
Freight Farms converts newly insulated shipping containers into vertical hydroponic farms that can be placed anywhere. And because of the controlled growing conditions, the farms could produce continuously all year long. Marcus knew how difficult it could be to access fresh fruits and vegetables in food-insecure areas. He saw in Freight Farms a shift in traditional farming methods that could benefit his community. It inspired him to launch VeggieHouse farms to bring fresh hyper-local, year-round, hydroponic produce from the farm to the tables of residents in Arnold, PA, and beyond.
“My vision and my dream were very complex, so I knew I needed an alternative lender that looks outside of the typical lending box,” says Marcus. “Bridgeway lends people opportunity by providing the financing they need to make a positive impact in their communities.” Marcus received a Bridgeway Capital loan to purchase a shipping container, land, equipment, fixtures, and working capital. “Bridgeway was always there to assist and provided resources to help me grow as a business owner, including business assistance with marketing, accounting, and QuickBooks. Bridgeway was behind me 100%,” he says.
Marcus’ innovative approach to entrepreneurship and increasing access to fresh produce is part of the community initiatives and economic revitalization taking place in Arnold. He is committed to expanding his customer base and keeping prices fair and is a registered operating SNAP location. “I’d like to live a long, healthy life, and I want to make sure everyone has that opportunity,” he said. “It should not be a luxury to eat healthy.”