NJBiz has a great feature out about AeroFarms, an urban farming company that has found success in growing crops locally in a Newark warehouse.
Moving from Ithaca, NY into their current space on Ferry St in Newark just two years ago, AeroFarms is now preparing to open another facility two miles away that will become the largest indoor vertical farm in the world.
Utilizing innovative technology stemming from Cornell University, AeroFarms warehouse is outfitted with vertical growing towers. These 80-foot long towers have seven growing levels complete with LED lighting and a misting system that provides water and nutrients.
AeroFarms’ success can be attributed to a variety of factors. For starters, the local movement has greatly increased demand for locally sourced foods. They’ve chosen to focus on arugula, kale and other leafy greens which typically come from Salinas, California, or Yuma, Arizona. Due to the long transit time and short shelf life, it’s estimated that 62% of these products don’t get consumed. By growing them close to home, the product makes it to the customer quicker and remains fresh longer.
Another factor to their success is their efficiency. AeroFarms’ co-founder, Marc Oshima, claims their technology creates “75 times greater productivity per square foot annually than we would out in the field, and 10 times more than a greenhouse.”
There are environmental advantages too. AeroFarms technology uses 95% less water than traditional farms and requires no pesticides.
Backed by investments from Prudential Financial and Goldman Sachs, AeroFarms’ future looks bright. With the coming expansion, they’re planning to add 40 employees to their current staff of 70. Further growth is also on the radar. Choosing to distribute only within a 50-mile radius of their facility, they’re considering other markets. First on the list is Philadelphia, where they’re considering sites in Camden and Philadelphia.
Read the full feature here: Future farm: Indoor agriculture is happening today in downtown Newark