While agriculture might have once been a major industry in parts of Essex County, the streets of the county’s 22 municipalities tend to be lined with houses, apartments, stores, and office buildings today rather than farmland. At first glance, it might appear that farming is a thing of the past in the Garden State’s third largest county, but over the last few years, a different kind of agricultural business has started to boom in the Newark area.
Instead of the traditional outdoor farming that one might be used to seeing in sparsely populated corners of the state, the latest trend in the industry tends to be centered around locations that would previously never have been thought to be associated with agriculture. For instance, AeroFarms operates what has been described as the “world’s largest vertical farm” in Newark and owns additional indoor farms in the city, including a “research and development farm” in the middle of the downtown district. New York-based Radicle Farm also runs a smaller greenhouse in Newark’s North Ward.
Now, Orange could become the latest community to see indoor farming in action. A legal notice that was issued that month shows that a company called Intravision Greens NJ, Inc. is looking to begin hydroponic salad production at 182 Hill Street, which is located in an industrial area between Route 280 and the New Jersey Transit train tracks.
The firm is seeking approval from the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, including a use variance, in order to “permit the use of these premises for the growing and harvesting of salad foods for wholesale distribution to local food purveyors,” according to the notice.
The matter is scheduled to be heard by the board during its meeting on Monday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. Intravision Greens NJ reportedly wants the board members to “recognize hydroponic salad production as equivalent to light manufacturing.”
It is not immediately clear who is behind Intravision Greens NJ. Property records indicate that the site is owned by an LLC that is registered out of the Illinois offices of the Timber Hill Group, but the website of Team Resources, Inc. mentions a seven-year 13,500-square-foot lease by a company called Intravision Greens USA. Last year, plans for a Canadian indoor farm by a firm known as Intravision Greens were revealed, but it is not known if there is a connection between the business north of the border and the proposed one in Orange.
Note to readers: The dates that applications are scheduled to be heard by the Orange Zoning Board of Adjustment and other commissions are subject to change.