Refrigerators

Vertical Farming Is Coming to the Garden State

Could the New York metro area become the Salad Belt?

AeroFarms Newark farm concept image Credit: AeroFarms

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You may not be familiar with the concept, but vertical farming is projected to be a big part of the future of food. In fact, Toshiba has already turned one its disused floppy disk factories into an indoor farm. Now it appears Newark, New Jersey, will soon be the unlikely home of the world's largest indoor vertical farm.

AeroFarms is breaking ground today on a 69,000-square-foot facility, according to a company press release. Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and acting New Jersey Governor Kim Guadagno will be part of the ceremony to christen the facility, which will also act as AeroFarms' new headquarters.

The farm will be able to grow two million pounds of produce per year.

It will cost $30 million to convert what was once a steel factory into the new, state-of-the-art farming facility. Upon completion, the farm will be able to grow two million pounds of baby leaf greens and herbs per year. As for jobs, the first phase of the project will be ready in the second half of year and require 78 employees.

The farm will be located in Newark's East Ward, near the city's Ironbound neighborhood. AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation to recruit and train Newark residents, which will ensure that the jobs stay in the city and help the local job market. That's a big deal, since Newark has an unemployment rate that's double the national average.

It's exciting news for Newark, to be sure, but this urban farm won't be unique for very long. AeroFarms says it plans to build farms in other cities around the country in the not-so-distant future.