Argos recently discovered a local start-up business that is doing some wonderful work in community revitalization, job creation and sustainable, healthy food systems.  Thomas Mueller has started Lila’s Garden, an operation which uses hydroponic plant production to positively impact local communities.  Mueller has located his hydroponic systems in schools and local warehouses.  He hires local youth from neighborhoods surrounding the schools and warehouses and provides them green collar job skills and education.  According to Mueller, hydroponic production yields are between 5 and 30 times greater when compared to traditional in-soil farming,.  Mueller’s system uses no pesticides and has a comparatively low carbon footprint to other forms of farming by using solar power, recycled water and minimal transport distances due to exclusively local sales.  Jamario Jackson, a new employee of Mueller’s, commented on how much the opportunity has changed his outlook on life.  “Before this opportunity, I was just hanging out.  I had no focus.  Now, I wake up and I have focus, I have goals.  The plants are my babies.  When one doesn’t make it, I have a hard time throwing it away.  This opportunity is teaching me valuable skills and I’m learning about herbs and vegetables, so now I’m eating more of them.” Mueller has big plans for Lila’s Garden.  He is already linking up with local schools to start hands-on farm-to-table programs, which provide production and agricultural skills, but most importantly are teaching young people the benefits of healthy lifestyles and healthy foods.  Mueller said, “All people relate to food.  What better way to bring people together in a community than around food?”