Quantcast

An Organic Indoor Vertical Farm May Be Coming to a City Near You

Food

FarmedHere, a 90,000-square-foot space in Chicago, is not only the first organically-certified indoor vertical aquaponic farm in Illinois, it’s also the largest indoor farm in North America. The farm, which we featured on EcoWatch last month, has expansion plans. The company wants to open 18 indoor vertical farms in cities across the U.S.

[insert_gallery]

"We want to be the national local brand," CEO Matt Matros told FastCoExist. "We can touch 75 percent of the country with 18 farms." At its Chicago farm, they sell their organic greens and herbs grown under LED lights to 200 customers (Whole Foods is one) all within a 200-mile radius of the farm.

That short travel distance not only reduces carbon emissions, it also allows for super fresh and nutritious produce. "If you think about traditional produce, which is grown in California, they harvest, and you're not eating it for three weeks," said Matros. FarmedHere delivers its produce to customers within 24 hours.

Sourcing produce locally also reduces the strain on drought-heavy regions like Mexico and California’s Central Valley, Matros told Tech Insider. Currently, more than one-third of U.S. produce is grown in these regions. For now, FarmedHere's main crops are basil, mint, lettuce and kale.

"If you harvest something and consume it right away, it's far more nutritious than if you harvest something and consume it 14 days later," he said. "Indoor local farms tend to be about 50 percent more nutritious than our outdoor counterparts on major vitamins—A,C, E, niacin, iron—that's mostly just because it's consumed as soon as possible."

Indoor hydroponic and aquaponic systems, which are sprouting up from Japan to Jackson, Wyoming, have many benefits over traditional outdoor farming. They use 95 percent less water and, since the company adheres to organic principles, the plants are grown without the use of synthetic herbicides or pesticides. And due to major advances in LED technology, the company can grow its plants in 30 days—half the time of traditional farms.

"Without the hassle of Mother Nature's changing climate, farmers can enjoy year-round growing seasons indoors, using less water, fewer pesticides and avoid biological invaders that cause diseases like Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria," reported Tech Insider.

The company said vertical farming is finally ready to scale, so they are "currently working with real estate agents to find land in cities across the country," FastCoExist reported. And they don't plan on limiting themselves to just the U.S. either.

"There's a substantive need for this," Matros said. "In northern Africa, where there's not a lot of access to fresh clean water ... in China and India, where there's just a lot of people. That's the beauty of this industry. Once we crack the code in the U.S., we can easily just drop these modules anywhere around the world."

FarmedHere, along with AeroFarms, Green Sense Farms and Spread are developing the technology to become robot-run farms. Matros told Tech Insider their next facility, which will be open next year, will employ technology used by the likes of Amazon, which uses factory robots to attend to packages in its massive headquarters.

Vertical farms have really taken off in recent years—even being hailed as the future of agriculture. AeroFarms, which is building a facility in Newark, New Jersey, plans to construct 25 vertical farms over the next five years. Sky Greens in Singapore has been hailed as the “the world’s first low-carbon hydraulic driven urban vertical farm.” Mirai has factories in Japan and Mongolia churning out 10,000 heads of lettuce a day. And in London, Growing Underground is utilizing a former World War II bomb shelter to grow food.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Texas Wind Farms Generate So Much Power Utilities Are Giving Electricity Away for Free

What’s Going on in Antarctica? Is the Ice Melting or Growing?

Why Buying a Vacation Home in Southern Florida Is Not a Good Idea

Monsanto Handed ‘Double Whammy’ by Mexican Courts Over Planting GMOs

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less
Two silver-backed chevrotain caught on camera trap. The species has only recently been rediscovered after being last seen in 1990. GWC / Mongabay

By Jeremy Hance

VIETNAM, July 2019 – I'm chasing a ghost, I think not for the first time, as night falls and I gather up my gear in a hotel in a village in southern Vietnam. I pack my camera, a bottle of water, and a poncho; outside the window I can see a light rain.

Read More Show Less