AeroFarms has put $30m into a green revolution that seeks to produce more crops in less space.
An ambitious almost fantastical manifestation of agricultural technology is expected to come to fruition this fall.
From the remains of an abandoned steel mill in Newark New Jersey the creators of AeroFarms are building what they say will be the largest vertical farm – producing two million pounds of leafy greens a year.
Whether it even qualifies as a ‘farm’ is a matter of taste.
The greens will be manufactured using a technology called aeroponics – a technique in which crops are grown in vertical stacks of plant beds – without soil – sunlight or water.
The farm built in the economically depressed New Jersey city promises new jobs – millions of dollars in public-private investment and an array of locally grown leafy greens for sale.
The company has spent some $30m to bring to reality a new breed of ‘green agriculture’ that seeks to produce more crops in less space while minimizing environmental damage – even if it means completely divorcing food production from the natural ecosystem.
AeroFarms and other companies developing similar controlled growing climates claim to be transforming agriculture.
Proponents of vertical farming call it the ‘Third Green Revolution’ – analogizing the developments to Apple and Tesla.
They tout the potential of such technology to address food shortages as the world population continues to grow.
AeroFarms touts their products as free of pesticides and fertilizer – an attribute that investors think will attract customers who buy organic produce.