Indoor Vertical Farms in Chicago Grow Local and Organic Food
Several entrepreneur farmers in the suburbs of Chicago have begun renovating large warehouses to experiment with growing crops in what are being called indoor vertical farms, reported an article from The Huffington Post. Indoor farming has reportedly become a growing trend in Midwestern cities with the goal of producing locally grown, organic food.
According to the article, farmers purchase large warehouse facilities with high ceilings to allow for multiple levels of growing beds and utilize other areas of the space to raise animals and build greenhouses. One indoor farm in particular, FarmedHere LLC, in Bedford Park, Ill is considered a “mega” indoor farm and is the largest in the country. FarmedHere supplies fresh produce, including basil, arugula, and other greens, to local grocers in the Chicago area. The biggest challenge, reported The Huffington Post, is the high cost and amount of power it takes to keep the indoor farms running; many have gone out of business because of it.
The size of FarmedHere’s growing facility allows a multitude of crops to be grown and harvested but it also makes powering the hundreds of grow lights an expensive task. Maximino Gonzalez, the master grower at FarmedHere, said, “It's different here than I've seen anywhere else, just the size, the sheer scale of it is very unique.” FarmedHere reported that it’s looking into alternative power supply options and hopes to become self-sustained in the near future.
As indoor farming continues to develop and farmers sort out which practices work best in these spaces, members of Midwestern communities will have more access to locally grown, organic produce.