The largest indoor vertical farm in the United States has opened. FarmedHere is located in a formerly abandoned warehouse in Chicago. The 90,000-square-foot space called is one of many urban and indoor farming communities popping up around the world.
Located in Bedford Park, Illinois, the farm uses a soil-free, aquaponic process to grow organic produce that is touted as better tasting, and is grown in a more environmentally sustainable manner than conventional farming methods.
Plants are grown in beds stacked up to six high, and a tank of hormone-free tilapia provides mineral-rich water that is distributed for optimal growing. The goal is to provide 1 million pounds of leafy greens to the Chicago area once production is at its peak, including mint, basil, and arugula. By 2014, the farm will provide about 200 jobs, many of which can be attributed to a partnership with Windy City Harvest, an urban agriculture training program that encourages local youths to get involved in farming.
This is actually the third farm for FarmedHere, which is has a 10,000-square-foot facility in Flanagan and a 40,000-square-foot facility in Englewood. The new facility was partially financed with a $100,000 loan from Whole Foods, one of the company’s biggest customers in the Chicago area. It also sells greens to Mariano’s and Green Grocery, and CEO Jolanta Hardej says she is also in talks with Trader Joe’s and Meijer.
Have you participated in any indoor or urban farming projects? Have you noticed anything like this popping up around your community?