Demand for organic and chemical-free food has surged in recent year as consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about what they eat. Take a stroll down any grocery or supermarket isle. You will see hoards of products strategically promoting “organic” labels. This provides all the evidence one needs that sustainable food movements are steadily growing, challenging consumers to truly consider where our food comes from.
The reality of the world we live in today is that people are not sure where their food comes from or how its grown. Chances are some people living in urban or suburban areas have never even seen a farm.
For the most part the food we buy every day in our local supermarkets or bodega is flown in from different parts of the world. Grown in environments that might be very foreign to the surroundings we know. Look through the food label in your kitchen and you will find your house is an international potluck of your favorite treats.
A true testament to the interconnected society we live in. But while cities have certainly benefitted from the international trading that deliver our favorite food products to our local stores. It also leaves communities very susceptible a variety of external factors that can jeopardize our food supplies. Factors like trade agreements and climate change can dramatically shift not only the cost of our food but the supply as well.
A growing movement of urban farmers are looking to change this. Urban farmers are looking to abandoned warehouses and city rooftops to help localize some of the production of our foods. The following list of urban farming projects aims to create a network of greenhouses in cities throughout the country that will make for more sustainable communities.
New York based Gotham Greens was founded back in 2009. It opened its first greenhouse farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Since then it has since expanded to rooftops and facilities in Chicago other parts of New York.
Gotham Green’s see themselves as people of the community. Highlighting that they often live in the same communities they grow and sell their produce.
While primarily selling fresh green to local distributors and supermarkets, Gotham Green’s is also in the business of urban renewal. The company likes to use abandoned or rundown site in cities to transform them and give them new life as urban gardens.
The AeroFarms headquarters in Newark, New Jersey feature the largest indoor vertical farm. Founded in 2004, AeroFarms aims to disrupt global produce supply chains by growing food right near major population centers.
AeroFarm’s patented growing system is claimed to produce faster harvest cycles and superior food safety. All while reducing its overall environmental impact, compared to traditional farming methods.
The green are grown in a fully controlled environment at AeroFarms. Every aspect of the growing process is monitored and adjustable. From the color, texture, and nutrition to even the flavor of greens. AeroFarms leverages data to grow the best possible produce.
Square Roots was founded by Elon Musk’s cousin, Kimbal Musk. With a farming campus in Brooklyn, Square Roots believes the future of farming will grow inside its shipping containers. Their shipping container feature a distinct purple light that it meant to improve energy efficient compared to white light while also maximizing light absorption for the produce growing in the shipping containers. Each container can yield more than more 50 lbs of leafy greens each week and only needs about eight gallons of water a day.
Every 13 months Square Roots lends its shipping containers to start-ups and entrepreneurs through its “Resident Entrepreneur Program”. At the onset of each residency – 10 entrepreneurs are selected to participate in the program giving them full access the Square Roots platform/shipping containers.
“Ten real food entrepreneurs grow local, tasty, food inside hydroponic, controlled-climate container farms located in the parking lot.”
By tapping local entrepreneurs, Square Roots hopes to accelerate business models that leverage its urban farming techniques.