From Florist Shop to Hydroponic Greens

Urban farming has really taken off locally.

Central Illinois Fresh hydroponic greens bring new life to Geier Florist shop

" Something is flourishing inside the old Geier Florist building.

"Sam Hendricks and Brandon Neuzil are partners in a new business growing microgreens in an urban agriculture environment. Their business is called Central Illinois Fresh.

"The 28-year-old Neuzil had been looking for space last year to try out his idea and had been in contact with Geier Florist. When that longtime West Peoria business at 2002 W. Heading Ave. shut down earlier this year, Neuzil bought out the first floor of the building.

"In February, he and Hendricks got into contact and their business began to come to fruition in April. The duo have been selling microgreens and leafy greens since the beginning of June, including at the Riverfront Farmers Market in Peoria each Saturday — selling out their stock there during many weeks.

“'We wanted to get involved in the food movement in Peoria,' Neuzil said.

"It’s a business he’s completely new to, with no experience running a greenhouse or using commercial hydroponics, though Hendricks has farmers market experience."