For Tracey Westbrook, fast food runs in the family.
Her parents owned a Burger King franchise and company that provided supplies to Burger Kings throughout the southeast. Out of college, Westbrook founded King Uniform, which supplied uniforms to Burger King locations across the world.
Westbrook still works in the food industry, but now her field is a bit slower paced. After seeing her friend’s rooftop urban farming in Los Angeles, Westbrook was inspired to bring something similar to northeast Florida, but on a larger scale.
She founded Atlantic Beach Urban Farms, a commercial aeroponic farm that grows five types of lettuces and kale.
“I knew there was a need for new food resources in our community,” Westbrook said. “Rather than start a small-scale operation here, I decided to go big and start a commercially scaled aeroponic farm. Once it is fully operational, it will provide a platform for a host of partnerships and collaborations across the region.”
A few partnerships have already cropped up, including one with the YMCA, putting 22 aeroponic towers in 15 locations to teach about nutrition and sustainability.
Westbrook said she hopes to inspire others to see food production in a new way and broaden access to fresh, healthy food for those in the community. And while it’s a departure from the world of fast food, Westbrook said she’s open to the change.
“Shifting and adapting and taking risks are all part of entrepreneurship,” she said. “I’m not afraid of it. I love connecting people and ideas and opportunities and seeing what can happen.”