Nothing says fresh-fresh-fresh like salad greens and herbs grown right in your hometown. Soon, Louisville, Kentucky residents will be able to source even more local foods, because America’s biggest indoor vertical farm company is coming to town. Chicago-based agriculture firm FarmedHere has announced ambitious plans to open up a slew of new locations, and they’re bringing a 60,000-square-foot vertical indoor farm to a new urban redevelopment project in West Louisville.
FarmedHere’s climate-controlled farm will be part of the West Louisville Foodport, an urban reinvestment project of Seed Capital KY that aims to support food-related business in the region by adding jobs and connecting consumers with local products. (Read more about the Foodport project in our previous coverage.) The new indoor vertical farm will occupy 60,000 square feet of the 24-acre campus. In 10 rows of vertical grow beds, the company will grow organic microgreens and herbs using the company’s unique aquaponics approach. Part of the facility will also be used for sorting and packaging of the roughage, as well as the company’s other products – salad dressings, baby food, and more.
The vertical farm’s modular setup makes it relatively easy for the company to scale up (or down) the size of its farms depending on the location. By comparison, the main indoor farm on Chicago’s south side is approximately 90,000 square feet. FarmedHere touts itself as the “first commercial-scale vertical farm in the country” and if they are able to make good on their promises to expand into 18 states, they’ll set a good example for other communities seeking to make it easier for people to make healthy food choices. Folks in Louisville sure are getting excited about the prospect. Kentucky’s economic development agency is extending tax incentives to make the new facility possible, and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is thrilled with the news.
“FarmedHere’s sustainable practices and compassionate hiring policy make it an ideal community partner in west Louisville,” Fischer said in a statement. “The addition of this innovative company to the West Louisville FoodPort affirms our commitment to giving every citizen an opportunity for a healthy lifestyle by making locally grown food easily accessible.”
Construction on the West Louisville FoodPort is expected to begin in August 2016. FarmedHere’s new plant is expected to hire 40 employees to run the new indoor farm.