Glynn and Kellie Barber stand in a client's greenhouse in Daleville.  (Photo: Jordan Kartholl/The Star Press)
Glynn and Kellie Barber stand in a client's greenhouse in Daleville. (Photo: Jordan Kartholl/The Star Press)
MUNCIE — Glynn Barber, an urban-agriculture entrepreneur, sets a container of ripe, black-cherry heirloom tomatoes on the conference table in his Briarwood Lane office on a recent morning.

"Do me a favor," he says. "Take one of those tomatoes home and set it in a window. Tell me if it rots. I guarantee it will never rot, it won't draw the first gnat, it won't draw fungus, it won't draw mold. It'll dry out, and take almost a year to do it, guaranteed."

Besides being sweet and juicy, he believes the tomatoes taste so clean and pack so many nutrients that it warrants marketing them —and similarly grown produce — as "pharmaceutical grade."

Pending city council rezoning approval and the issuance of building permits, Barber intends to construct a $5 million to $8 million prototype aquaponics greenhouse, restaurant and exercise facility, to be called FARMacy, on West Jackson Street, a block west of the St. Mary's Church.

Barber has patented an aquaponics system — a combination of aquaculture, or raising fish in tanks, and hydroponics, or raising plants in troughs of water — called Environmentally Controlled Sustainable Integrated Agriculture (ECSIA).

The cherry tomatoes used in his demonstration to The Star Press were raised in an ECSIA greenhouse in Daleville doing business as Healthy Life Organics.

Barber's greenhouse systems also are operating in a number of other locations across the country — including one owned by the city of East Chicago; the North Central Indiana Teen Challenge in Elkhart; Wapahani High School; and Urban REAP in Waco, Texas — plus Haiti.

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