The Bourbon Friday Show

The Bourbon Friday Show with James Forbes from Good Life Growing

On this episode of the Bourbon Friday Show, we had the opportunity to talk with James Forbes, Co-Founder and CEO of Good Life Growing.

The Bourbon Friday Show | Good Life Growing

Join us today to see our interview with James Forbes, CEO & Co-Founder of Good Life Growing. This innovative business is developing new, highly efficient methods of growing organic produce and creating local, sustainable jobs.Every Friday at 4:30pm, we feature a new startup or business resource on The Bourbon Friday Show!

Posted by EQ – Entrepreneur Quarterly STL on Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Life Growing—Combating Food Insecurity

What do urban decay, food deserts and a stressed national and global food system have in common?

They can all be alleviated with a technique called urban farming.

Back in 2013, James Forbes got an opportunity to combine his interests in aquaponic systems and agriculture with his desire to do good for the St. Louis community. So Forbes and his business partners began the first Good Life Growing urban farm in North St. Louis City and haven’t looked back since.

“Good Life Growing is a social enterprise with a mission based bottom line to combat urban decay and food insecurity—” says Forbes “we founded ourselves on the principles that it’s possible to make money while also being a good steward for the environment and caring about the communities you set up shop in.”

The system that Good Life Growing uses to grow produce is called aquaponics, while similar to hydroponics, has a few distinct differences. Essentially, an aquaponics system is set up to harness the power of biology by raising fish in a reservoir and using the wastewater to then fertilize the produce.

This method allows them to grow plants 60% faster than traditional soil growing, while also using 90% less water. They grow 64 different varieties of crops, with lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, and microgreens being the best sellers in the St. Louis community.

Good Life Growing currently has two locations, one in East St. Louis and one in North St. Louis, with plans to open a local grocery store, Old North Provisions, in North City.

In addition to growing and selling their produce, they also help other people in the area set up their own urban farms as well as offer a free training program for people who want to learn about urban farming. After the completion of the 2,500 hour training, attendees have the potential to work with Good Life Growing or get a job in the urban farming scene beyond St. Louis.

If you want to learn more about Good Life Growing go to or check out the Green Dining Alliance list to find restaurants and stores that carry Good Life Growing’s produce.

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Bourbon Innovation

As always, the Bourbon Friday team does their best to choose a fitting drink for the occasion.

This week the drink of choice is Dogmaster Bourbon Whiskey. The Dogmaster Distillery is located in Colombia, MO, and it just so happens that three out of the four founders of Dogmaster went to college at the University of Missouri in Colombia, where Forbes got his degree in agriculture.