It doesn’t get much more local than this. In Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee grocery store commissioned Friday’s Fresh Market (FFM) to install and maintain two eight-tower Grow Walls (hydroponic vertical gardens) on the outside of their store – and they sell the produce inside. Owner Andrew Freitag told Inhabitat they can obtain between 10 and 15 pounds of fresh produce every week, depending on the crop.
Basil, lettuce, and mint flourish on the outdoor Grow Walls at Hy-Vee, installed by FFM in May this year. There’s no soil needed here: the plants are suspended in a growing medium made from recycled plastic bottles and grow in the sunlight. FFM also installed a smaller Grow Wall inside the grocery store in the produce section. They maintain both systems, germinating seeds, transplanting, supplying nutrients and water, harvesting, and packaging the produce for sale in the store.
We are at the HyVee in Davenport, Iowa checking out a Grow Wall from Friday's Fresh Market!
Posted by Inhabitat on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
FFM manager Chen Freitag told Inhabitat, “We see this disruptive technology becoming more and more popular in our future farming industry. It will help to improve the fresh food desert situation here in the Midwest tremendously and stimulate the local economy.”
The Grow Walls aren’t the only aspect of FFM’s business. They also cultivate indoor farms in shipping containers, using the same towers and irrigation system as a Grow Wall. Freitag said these farms consume around 90 percent less water than traditional methods, and since FFM can control the environment, produce grown inside the shipping container farms is more colorful and flavorful, with a higher nutrient content. She said FFM started pursuing hydroponics as a more efficient, sustainable way to grow fresh food, no matter the weather outside.
“Our goal is to improve the quality of life in our local communities,” Freitag told Inhabitat. “People here deserve to eat better, live better. We believe we are capable of being self-sufficient when it comes to fresh, local food year-round.”
One small Iowa company may not be able to change the entire agriculture industry right away; instead, Freitag said they focus on changing people’s daily lives with better food, and hope the industry evolves from there. “The earth is the resource account we cannot afford to overdraw,” she told Inhabitat. “We need to think about future generations: what we leave them to live with.”
Images via Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat