A lack of lush, rolling hills doesn’t mean organic farming is out of the question.
More humans are moving to cities than ever before in history. This trend is only expected to continue, with 70 percent of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050. This will require drastic changes in how we develop our urban areas, and how infrastructure is planned.
According to some experts and forward-thinking designers, cities of tomorrow will see a resurgence of farms: not the vast tracks of crop land we currently associate with the word, but sophisticated urban farms that use closed-loop technology to make organic farming vertical instead of horizontal.
FarmedHere is a Chicagoland-based vertical farm that many consider to be the nation’s largest. Housed in a 90,000 square foot post-industrial building in Bedford Park, IL, the urban farming company grows fresh, vibrant produce that’s free from the bugs, diseases, pesticides, and weather-based challenges that plague outdoor farms.
The facility uses a combination of aquaponic and aeroponic growing technologies–often stacked on top of each other–to grow USDA certified organic greens. “Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (raising plants with nutrient rich water) in the same water system,” explains the FarmedHere website. “Aeroponic growing systems are an innovative way to hydroponically grow plants by keeping their roots in a nutrient rich mist. The aeroponic mist most efficiently supplies roots with all needed nutrients, required hydration, and adequate amount of oxygen.” This system ultimately allows the organic farming operation to recycle 97 percent of its water.
FarmedHere’s harvest goes directly from the warehouse farm to local restaurants and grocery stores. Instead of traveling more than 1,ooo miles from farm to table, the herbs and greens grown at FarmedHere typically travel less than 20.
And that’s not the only thing to love about this abundant organic farming operation secluded in a nondescript warehouse: FarmedHere recently became a zero organic waste facility by converting all of its organic waste into compost. The compost is then used in landscaping, horticulture and agriculture at other urban farms across Chicago.
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