A massive indoor vertical farm is about to open in the US and it grows baby leaves and herbs using a method which requires no sunlight or soil and next to no water.
Run by urban farming company AeroFarms, the 69,000-square-foot farm will produce leafy greens and herbs grown without any pesticides or herbicides for the local community.
Light, air, humidity and temperature inside the farm are all tightly controlled and the method makes it possible to achieve between 22 and 30 yields a year, compared to two or three at a conventional outdoor farm.
Built in a converted steel mill in Newark, New Jersey, it is the largest indoor vertical farm in terms of production capacity, which is estimated at 2 million pounds of greens a year, according to the company. This rendering shows what the facilities will look like when fully operational. Courtesy Aerofarms
AeroFarms hopes to transform how food is produced with an approach to farming which involves gathering vast amounts of data to create algorithms to help them optimize the growing method for each variety. Courtesy Aerofarms
So far AeroFarms have grown over 250 varieties of leafy greens and herbs including arugula, watercress, basil and romaine lettuce, pictured. Courtesy Aerofarms
Urban farming for local markets is part of the philosophy, and the company says they will only sell their greens to restaurants, shops and markets nearby. Courtesy Aerofarms
The leaves cost about 20% more than other greens, which is about the same premium as organic produce.