Urban farming is increasingly become a common technique of cultivating, processing and distributing food in and around urban locations. Recently, we talked about ‘Home Farm’, an innovative collective community initiative that aims to combine elderly care with sustainable vertical farming. Taking this agricultural revolution forward is Gotham Greens, a Brooklyn-based company that is making the news for building the world’s largest rooftop urban farm, in Chicago.
Founded by Viraj Puri and Eric Haley back in 2008, the company has been credited with the construction of United States’ first commercially successful rooftop hydroponic farm. As part of its latest undertaking, Gotham Greens has built the largest rooftop organic farm in the entire world. Situated on top of Method Products’ manufacturing unit, in Chicago’s Pullman area, the newly-erected facility includes a 75,000-sq-ft state-of-the-art greenhouse that can produce a total of 10 million crops per year. Speaking about the project, Viraj Puri said:
We’re proud to expand our footprint and bring Gotham Greens’ award-winning local produce into a new market, particularly Chicago, which is not only where I spent my early childhood, but also currently, perhaps, the most exciting city for culinary innovation, green development and urban farming. We’re especially proud to bring so many new jobs to the Pullman area, while also helping to make the local food system healthier and more ecologically sustainable.
The Chicago-based farm is Gotham Greens’ fourth greenhouse facility, with the others located at different parts within New York City. The crops, in all of these facilities, are grown using advanced hydroponic techniques, which in turn yield over 30 times more produce per acre than conventional field-based agriculture. The Pellman greenhouse integrates some of the latest food production technologies currently available. According to the developers, it can grow 50-percent more crops than traditional field production. Powered entirely by renewable energy, the new unit employs up to 50 workers, many of whom belong to the local community. Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, said:
With more than $1 billion in venture capital invested in the city in 2014, Chicago continues to emerge as the country’s newest hot spot for innovation and growing companies. Gotham Greens’ expansion means even more jobs and investment in the Pullman neighborhood; and through cutting-edge agricultural innovation they will provide fresh, healthy and locally-grown foods to residents across Chicago.
Thanks to its advanced food production techniques, Gotham Greens can grow fresh, organic herbs and greens all year round. The crops, produced in the Chicago farm, will be made available to a number of local and national retailers in the city, including Peapod, Whole Foods Market, Sunset Foods, Treasure Island, Target, Plum Market and so on. Furthermore, the company has joined hands with several Chicago-based institutions, such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Pilot Light, Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network, Chicago Botanical Garden’s Windy City Network, and others. Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, the Chief Agricultural Officer at Gotham Greens, said:
Above all else we are focused on growing the freshest, best tasting produce available. Our commitment to quality and growing excellence is best illustrated by Gotham Greens’ new and long standing relationships with the nation’s best retailers and Michelin rated restaurants committed to providing their customers with the freshest and finest ingredients possible.
In addition to its sustainable crop production techniques, the company is known to recycle 100-percent of its irrigation water, and even requires 10-percent less water than traditional agricultural practices. It strives to eliminate food waste, while also helping in the reduction of environmentally-harmful greenhouse emissions. Eric Haley, one of the company’s co-founders, said:
We’ve raised over $30 million since launching in 2009. We now have four operational greenhouse facilities across two cities totaling 170,000 sq ft. This makes us the largest and most commercially successful urban agriculture company in the world.
To know more about Gotham Greens, head over to the company’s official website.
Via: Green Prophet