The world’s largest rooftop farm covers nearly two acres, is run completely on renewable energy, and produces nearly 10 million annual crops of local, premium-quality, pesticide-free, leafy greens and herbs. Brooklyn-based Gotham Greens has expanded its farm family with the creation of this new project, which is housed atop the Method Products manufacturing plant on Chicago’s south side. The innovative project was designed by William McDonough + Partners and Heitman Architects, and as urban agriculture goes, this farm is the king of the crisper.
The 75,000-square-foot rooftop farm is situated atop Method Products manufacturing facility in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, which touts itself as the “world’s most perfect town.” Two acres is small as traditional farms go, but since this one is comprised completely of rooftop greenhouses, it’s anything but typical. Gotham Greens’ Chicago farm is their third rooftop farm and the first outside of New York. The greenhouse is outfitted with climate control, which makes it possible to cultivate delicious, nutritious produce throughout the year, despite Chicago’s wicked winter weather and heavy snowfall. The farm will supply local retailers and restaurants with hyper-local produce, available for purchase in many places on the same day it was harvested.
Locals will find Gotham Greens products for sale at Whole Foods Market, Peapod, and Target, among other stores. The company has also partnered with a variety of social programs, including the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network, Pilot Light, and the Chicago Botanical Garden’s Windy City Harvest.
“We’re proud to expand our footprint and bring Gotham Greens’ award-winning local produce into a new market, particularly Chicago, which is not only where I spent my early childhood, but also currently, perhaps, the most exciting city for culinary innovation, green development and urban farming,” said Gotham Greens co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri. “We’re especially proud to bring so many new jobs to the Pullman area, while also helping to make the local food system healthier and more ecologically sustainable.”
The farm relies entirely on renewable energy for its 10 million crops each year. A team of 50 workers maintains the farm, where all of the vegetables and herbs are grown free from pesticides using sustainable methods. The climate-controlled greenhouse environment relies on high-tech equipment to grow up to 30 times as much as a traditional agricultural setting, which is good news for all the hungry people of Chicago.
Images via Gotham Greens, aerial shot via McShane Fleming Studio