Hydroponic farming effort unveiled by NBA’s Ekpe Udoh

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (July 21, 2018) – Utah Jazz’s Ekpe Udoh reached a significant milestone in his efforts to make urban communities healthier. During a launch party in Edmond, OK, his hometown, on Saturday, July 21, Udoh showed off his first hydroponic container crop full of kale, spinach and other greens.

Udoh hopes his container farms will teach students and inspire communities to grow crops in urban areas where fresh foods are harder to get.

“My mom has been growing food since she was a child in Nigeria so fresh produce was always a mainstay in my family,” Udoh said. “With LGR Farms, it is my hope that we can introduce a level of accessibility to nutrient-rich foods that will ultimately reach a wider consumer base than those who currently eat consciously. I want to engage in conversation surrounding healthy eating and actively improve the quality of life for more people in our community and do it affordably.”

National health statistics support Udoh’s efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, persons living in areas with a higher percentage of non-Hispanic whites more often than not lacked a healthier food retailer nearby compared with persons living in other census tracts. Non-Hispanic blacks have a higher rate of obesity followed by Mexican Americans. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diagnosed diabetes is 77% higher among non-Hispanic blacks, 66% higher among Hispanics/Latinos, and 18% higher among Asian Americans.

LGR Farms uses a process to grow the crops called hydroponics. Hydroponics requires only water and electricity without soil and is capable of producing commercial-grade vegetables within a small footprint.

Udoh’s hydroponic container is the kind you see on the back of a semi trailer. It’s only 320 square feet but produces roughly the equivalent of two acres of farmland. The inside climate is controlled with an app you can download on a phone.

Attendees of Saturday’s launch party tasted the freshness in recipes prepared by a chef using produce harvested from the Udoh’s first crop. LGR Farms will donate a portion of the crop to area shelters and underserved schools.

Udoh played three seasons of college basketball, two at Michigan and one at Baylor, averaging 8.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 2.8 blocks per game in 103 career games. In 2009–10, Udoh earned honorable mention All-American honors by the Associated Press, as well as being named to the All-Big 12 second team, Big 12 All-Defensive team, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Big 12 All-Rookie team, USBWA All-District VII team and NABC Division I All-District 8 second team.[4]

On April 13, 2010, he declared for the NBA draft, foregoing his final year of college eligibility.[5]

Udoh was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. Because of a wrist injury,[6] Udoh did not make his NBA debut until December 11, 2010 against the Miami Heat in the final three minutes of the game, scoring two points.