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Veggies in the Sky

TWO UW-MADISON BUSINESS STUDENTS are hoping to get an intriguing food idea off the ground—literally. Keith Agoada and Troy Vosseller have launched Sky Vegetables, a startup company seeking to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in greenhouses on top of existing supermarkets (see illustration, left). With the average supermarket produce item spending 2,000 miles and as much as two weeks in transit, the students see an opportunity to cut production costs while offering customers a fresher alternative. Their idea took top honors in the School of Business’ G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition, which earned them $10,000 and a spot in a statewide competition. But will rooftop produce fly? “This really is a new way to tap into consumer interest in foods that are locally produced and healthy to eat,” says horticulture professor Brent McCown BS’65 MS’67 PhD’69, who advised the team. “If the greenhouse is on the roof, you can’t get much more local than that.”