A new $30 million deal will soon make New Jersey’s largest city home to the world’s largest indoor vertical farm. Currently under construction, the 69,000-square-foot facility will serve as the new global corporate headquarters for the urban agricultural company AeroFarms and will be capable of aeroponically growing two million pounds of soil-free leafy greens and herbs each year. In addition to bringing fresh, nutritious, and pesticide-free food to the community of Newark, the environmentally friendly project will also introduce 78 new jobs to the city by the end of 2015.
The multimillion-dollar deal was developed by AeroFarms in partnership with property management firm RBH Group, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial Inc., and the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The urban vertical farm will anchor the ongoing ‘Makers Village’ redevelopment project in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood. The first phase of the project is slated to open later this year and is expected to generate part of its energy through renewable sources, such as solar energy.
Housed in a converted steel factory, the urban vertical farm will use AeroFarms’ innovative aeroponics technology that grows soil-free plants by spraying a mist of high-nutrient solution onto the crops. Instead of soil, the plants take root in a permeable micro fleece cloth stretched across modular and stackable planters. The sustainable process uses recycled water, zero pesticides and fertilizers, and takes up less space and resources than traditional farming. Monitoring equipment will regulate the amount of carbon dioxide the plants receive, as well as the color wavelength and intensity of the overhead LEDs.
Images via AeroFarms