Next time you dig into a bowl of leafy greens, chances are they were grown in the heart of Newark, soon home to the world's largest indoor vertical farm*.
AeroFarms, a leading commercial grower for vertical farming and controlled agriculture, together with property management firm RBH Group, a slew of investment partners along with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the intent to redevelop a former industrial site in Newark's Ironbound district into a state-of-the art 69,000 square foot indoor vertical farm.
Putting down roots (no pun intended) in a converted steel factory located at 212 Rome Street, the $30M project will also include AeroFarms' global corporate headquarters.
Read on for some more information we've received.
Currently under construction, the first phases will open in the second half of 2015, creating approximately 78 jobs in a local community with an unemployment rate that is twice the national average. Additionally, AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation to create a recruiting and job training program targeting local residents.
The building is located on a 3-acre industrial site in the center of the Ironbound community in Newark, NJ. It is adjacent to elevated truck Route 1 and 9, a freight rail right of way, and to other industrial businesses along Rome and Christie Streets.
When completed, AeroFarms will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million pounds per year of baby leafy greens and herbs in an environmentally controlled, safe, and sanitary facility. It will provide healthy foods to the local community as well as to other markets. AeroFarms is a model for successful, sustainable farming offering 75 times more productivity per square foot annually than a traditional field farm while using no pesticides and consuming over 95% less water.
"We are delighted to introduce AeroFarms, a farming and technology leader, to the City of Newark, creating jobs for local residents and greater access to locally grown produce for our community," said Ron Beit, founding partner and CEO of RBH Group. "AeroFarms will anchor our broader “Makers Village” development project in the Ironbound neighborhood that will compete toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Navy Yard in terms of a superior cost structure and greater transmodal access, bringing 21st century “maker-type” businesses to Newark and the State of New Jersey."
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka remarked, “Newark is increasingly becoming a destination City for high-tech and environmentally-friendly commerce, and this $30 million project in the East Ward will bring jobs and prosperity to our City. It will also expand the role of urban farming and locally-produced vegetables in our City. This will provide greater access to healthy and inexpensive food choices for our residents, helping them live healthier lifestyles."
*based on annual growing production