Chicago now home to nation’s largest vertical farm

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, March 24, 2013 12:00 EDT
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An formerly abandoned warehouse in Chicago is now home to the nation’s largest hydroponic vertical farm.

FarmedHere LLC opened the 90,000-square-foot farm in Bedford Park on Friday. The facility utilizes aquaponics, a sustainable system that combines raising fish with growing soil-free plants.

“The tilapia fertilize our plants. Their primary job is eat, produce waste. The plants are able to soak it up. The plants clean the water for the fish and it comes back to the tanks,” one worker, Max Gonzales, explained to WGN.

The vertical farm is expected to produce more than 1 million pounds of basil, arugula and mixed greens. Thanks to a partnership with Windy City Harvest, an urban agriculture training program, the unique farm is also expected to create 200 jobs for young adults in Chicago.

FarmedHere has opened two other vertical farms in southern Chicago and central Illinois. Produce from those facilities is already been sold at local grocery stores.

Chicago is also home to another vertical farm, called The Plant. The first-of-their-kind facilities have the potential to provide the city with huge amounts of locally-produced, sustainable, organic food. The cost of vertical farming, however, has prevented the practice from being widely adopted.

Watch video, courtesy of WGN, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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