Delicious (Indoor) Farm To Table Local Produce – Pure Agriculture, Chemical Free, Energy and Water Efficient
Post-organic greens? No pesticides, no chemicals, grown with efficient use of energy and very little water. Grown locally and delivered within a day… and they are delicious!
A brilliant friend has worked for the past few years on growing green leafy lettuces inside a building near New York City without sunlight, fertilizer and pesticides. Sounds simple? Not really. It is an important step in feeding urban populations healthy produce in a sustainable manner. Lettuce is harvested at its peak and delivered in less than 24 hours. Salad is chemical free. No exposure to pollution, no bugs, no bacteria. Even the seeds have been developed over a decade – not GMO. Pure food.
There are several companies perfecting high tech urban farming. The one I know best, Bowery Farming, has just started shipping its produce to selected New York Area Whole Foods. They sell a variety of lettuces, spinach, kale, and basil wholesale to top restaurants – and they are developing a wide range of green leafy, local produce for NYC.
This is not the garden Peter Rabbit loved. Bowery uses LED lighting, sensors, robotics and data analytics with no pesticides, no bacteria – all inside a warehouse. They grow green leafy vegetables 365 days a year and produce 100 times the edible greens as similar sized traditional farms – and they use 95% less water. They track data to maximize the growth and flavor of each plant, then mist just the right amount of water at the precise moment each plant needs it.
The futurists tell us that human population is growing and concentrating in cities. Fresh water shortage may be humankind’s ultimate challenge. Farming with minimal negative environmental impact is the path to sustainable cities. In addition to low water and power usage, produce is picked and delivered in the same area, so transportation is minimal.
Sustainable farming is useless if the produce tastes like the early hydroponic lettuce – sorry, but water has more flavor than those pale leaves. I have tasted Bowery lettuce and it could have come out of a summer garden. We talked to Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns about Bowery lettuce and he raved about the taste and suggested that he would use it in his NYC restaurant. This surprised us as he is a leading light in the move toward locavore, ‘in-season’ produce. Investors in Bowery include “Top Chef'” head judge Tom Colicchio and Blue Apron CEO Matt Salzberg. Feels like the beginning of a revolution in food.
Not surprisingly, a number of urban farms are racing to perfect this produce. Here are some that we know about in NYC.
Aero Farms, with headquarters in N.J., sells leafy greens including Kale, arugula and watercress. Their brand is dream GREENS.
Sarah Jacobs, www.businessinsider.com
Square Roots grows ‘urban greens’ in ten farms made of 320-square-feet shipping containers. Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, is a co-founder and describes it as a ‘food revolution’. Musk and his co-founder make the indoor farms available to entrepreneurs who are racing to refine their growing techniques. They will deliver to your office in NYC with a subscription, Farm-to-Desk program.
Header Photo Credit – Bowery Farming