AeroFarms broke ground last summer in Newark on what they are planning to be the world’s largest indoor vertical farm, as well as the company’s new headquarters. Using large scale aeroponics systems with a nutrient-filled mist and LED growing lamps, AeroFarms will grow several varieties of salad greens, kale, and herbs (all without sun or soil and throughout all seasons) thanks to a high-tech, climate-controlled environment. The company aims to generate 2 million pounds of fresh produce each year at the new facility.
CEO David Rosenberg says the gigantic Newark facility is just the beginning. “Our mission is to build farms in cities all over the world,” he told The Huffington Post. “We are very much building the infrastructure not to build one, two or three farms but to build 20, 30 or 50 farms.”
First Lady Michelle Obama visited AeroFarms with Al Roker last month as part of her national garden tour. The two spent time with some students from Philips Academy Charter School, which has a rooftop garden and an AeroFarms growing lab where students learn how to grow food.
AeroFarms joins a host of other companies seeking to grab a foothold in the burgeoning indoor vertical farm industry. As traditional outdoor agriculture suffers, there has been a rise in demand for locally grown, fresh, organic products, and the fresh greens and herbs that a company like AeroFarms can deliver tend to fetch a premium over lesser quality alternatives that come from farther away.
Once the Newark farm is up and running, the 70,000-square-foot indoor facility will produce 75 percent more yield than a traditional outdoor farm of the same size. This is in part to the indoor vertical farm’s ability to stagger crops regardless of season, giving 22 crop turns each calendar year.
Images via AeroFarms