Urban farming is part of a new, uber-local trend occurring in the world of food production. One of the latest innovaters to join the movement, FarmedHere, opened their doors earlier this year. Transforming an abandoned 90,000-square-foot warehouse on the outskirts of Chicago into the nation’s largest vertical indoor farm, FarmedHere now has the capacity to produce a million pounds of fresh greens a year — it’s no small venture.
FarmedHere is not only the largest vertical farm in the nation, it’s also the largest indoor aquaponics facility and the first indoor farm to be certified organic by the USDA. Inside the converted Chicago warehouse, they grow four different kinds of basil, arugula, and a lot of fish. All the products are sold within a few miles of the facility to local restaurants and stores like Whole Foods.
In a recent interview with Co.Exist, FarmedHere CEO Jolanta Hardej explained, “We use about 3% of the water of traditional agriculture, and it’s all recyclable.” Additionally, the company saves energy by eliminating the need for heavy equipment or transportation of the product to distant markets.
The expansion of urban farming initiatives is one of the ways that America will be able to produce more food while simultaneously reducing the amount of oil used in the production and transportation of that food. Innovative farming ventures like FarmedHere and others that we have profiled in the past are helping pave the way to a more sustainable future for America.