Inside the Nation’s Largest Organic Vertical Farm

Chicago city isn’t popular for its agriculture or farming but the residents of the city are still eating organic products including microgreens, kale, arugula, and basil. Surprisingly, they are producing all these vegetables in their backyard.

FarmedHere is the first of its kind indoor farm house in North America. This farm is 90,000 square foot and its located in Bedford Park. It is the largest organically certified indoor aquaponic farm in the region.

hydroponics grown CEA food

FarmedHere is a two-story tall windowless facility in the outskirts of Chicago. This tall building was a warehouse initially which was converted to the farm house after it was abandoned.

The farm house grows a variety of plants which are stacked on top of each other. This vertical farming system is an aquaponics system that uses fish’s waste as fertilizer. The facility also makes use of plants as filter for wastes.

nitrogen cycles

FarmedHere’s produce is grown in a sustainable environment where 97 percent of fresh water is reused and plants are grown without the use of herbicides or pesticides. The farm’s LED lighting system mimics outdoor conditions, meaning plants don’t need natural sunlight to grow.

According to PSFK, the company boasts “up to 15 times as many crop cycles a year compared to traditional farming” and supplies its harvest for approximately 80 retailers in Chicago.

The company says that total growing time is about 30 days, which is half the time of traditional farms.

indoor farms beauty

“Our vertical growing technology and local distribution methods reduce energy use, travel time and costs tremendously, making this model one of the most sustainable ways to guarantee access to fresh, healthy produce in city centers, in any season,” the company, which launched in 2010, advertises on its website.

As EcoWatch has reported, indoor farms could help solve potential global food shortages and food deserts.

inside organic

The global population is expected to reach a staggering 10 billion by 2056 and there is only so much arable land available. Climate change is only confounding the problem, as extreme weather events such as flooding, hurricanes and drought increase in frequency and intensity, and leave a damaging impact on agriculture.

The beauty of indoor farms, which are sprouting up from Japan to Jackson, Wyoming, is that the plants growing inside are immune to hot, cold or extreme weather.

If all goes according to plan, those of us outside of Illinois might get to enjoy FarmedHere’s year-round, fresh-grown produce a lot closer to home.

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