5 Repurposed Warehouses Turned Indoor Farms That Need No Land Or Sun To Grow Crops
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Earth's population is expected to reach 8.5 billion people by 2030. That is 8.5 billion mouths to feed. With dwindling land resources and soaring farming costs across the country, vertical indoor farms may be a solution to feeding the world. Often repurposed from former warehouses, the indoor farms need no sunlight or pesticides and require less water to grow produce.
Following are five indoor farms leading the pack.
Location: Newark, New Jersey
Produce Grown: Baby greens and herbs
At 70K SF, the world's largest indoor vertical farm cost $39M to build, and uses LED lights and computer controls to tailor the lighting for each plant. A closed-loop aeroponic system mists the roots of the greens and reduces water usage by 95%. Constant monitoring of nutrients allows AeroFarms to grow a plant from seed to harvest in half the time of a traditional farm. AeroFarms produces 2 million pounds of produce a year.
2. Gotham Greens
Location: Gotham Greens operates greenhouses in Brookln, Queens and Chicago's Pullman neighborhood.
Produce Grown: Eight types of lettuce, tomatoes, arugula, basil and bok choy
Company/Owner: Gotham Greens
A pioneer in the indoor farming industry, Gotham Greens built its first rooftop greenhouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and installed solar panels, LED lighting, thermal curtains and a recirculating irrigation system to offset electrical use and reduce water usage. Gotham Green's newest greenhouse in Chicago is located on top of the Method home products plant and cost $8M to build. At 75K SF (or two acres), it produces a crop yield equal to that of a 50-acre farm.
3. Green Sense Farms
Location: Portage, Indiana
Produce Grown: Micro and baby greens, lettuce and herbs
Company/Owner: Green Sense Farms
Green Sense's 30K SF farm is capable of growing produce for up to 20 million people within a 100-mile radius. The farm is equipped with customized LED lights from Dutch technology firm Royal Philips and grows its produce in automated carousels, while computerized controls provide perfect conditions for year-round farming. Green Sense CEO Robert Colangelo believes his model is scalable and last year raised over $400K in equity crowdfunding to help build a nationwide network of similar indoor farms.
Location: Kearny, New Jersey
Produce Grown: Baby kale, arugula, butterhead lettuce and basil.
Dubbing itself the world's "first post-organic greens" grower, Bowery uses LED lights to mimic sunlight, grows its greens in nutrient-rich water trays stacked from floor to ceiling, uses data analysis to monitor plantings from seed to harvest and robotics to harvest the crops.
Investors love what Bowery is doing so much that the company announced Wednesday that it raised $20M to expand its operations in the U.S. and overseas. Bowery raised $7.5M in February from a pool of investors including "Top Chef" judge and chef Tom Colicchio.
5. Local Roots Farms
Location: Vernon, California
Produce Grown: Baby and micro greens
Company/Owner: Local Roots Farms
Local Roots Farms is innovating urban farming design and building indoor farms from 40-foot-long shipping containers. These portable indoor farms are capable of producing the equivalent of a five-acre farm. Local Roots believes this model will disrupt food deserts around the world by setting up the container farms where they are needed most.