NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The future of local farming is here and it probably doesn't look like anything you've ever seen before.
As CBS2's Jessica Moore reported, this urban agriculture doesn't involve soil, sunlight or rolling acres of land.
Inside the high-tech Bowery Farming greenhouse in Kearny, New Jersey, farm-to-table takes on a whole new meaning.
"First of all, we're able to grow 365 days a year, totally independent of weather and seasonality. So these crops are growing no matter the season," Co-Founder and CEO Irving Fain told Moore. "I became obsessed with this question of, how do you provide fresh food to urban environments? And how do you do that in a more efficient and sustainable way?"
The answer for the techie-turned-farming pioneer was to build vertical farms in the skyscraper-saturated land near big cities that aren't threatened by rain, snow or drought.
Fain co-developed a software that anticipates and provides a plant's every need.
"They have the perfect environment, the perfect nutrient profile for the certain stage of the plant and the different type of crop. So in many ways, it's emulating the absolute perfect environment at any moment for a plant all the time," he said.
Lush, leafy greens and herbs grow without pesticides with the help of robotics, under LED lights that mimic the exact spectrum of sunlight crops would get outside on a good day. But where's the soil?
"The plants actually have their roots dangling down and they dangle not only into water, but water that's filled with all the nutrients that the plants actually need," said Fain.
Bowery Farming is located eight miles from New York City, which he says speeds up the time from harvest to purchase to one day, versus the typical transit time of two to three weeks.
Because of its vertical orientation, Fain says they can produce 100 times more greens than a traditional outdoor farm occupying the same footprint.
Right now, Bowery Farming only produce leafy greens and herbs, but Fain says the company is hoping to broaden its product line to include a variety of produce.
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