Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Aims To Become International Hub For Indoor Farming

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- On the CBS3 health watch, its vertical farming. Philadelphia aims to become an international hub for indoor growing, according to a resolution passed today by city council.

When growing produce we usually think of acres of farmland. Some say the next generation of farming will be in urban centers like Philadelphia, and you won't need soil or the sun, just an old warehouse.

Welcome to vertical farming, where produce is grown inside, in specialized shelves that are stacked up vertically.

"We're able to grow more food in less space," said Jack Griffen " we fit 13 acres in 1600 square feet."

Inside this nondescript warehouse in South Philly is the prototype farm of the future.

"It's a cool thing, I mean you know think about how many empty warehouses are in the Philadelphia region that could be creating jobs, that could be creating food for our local population," said Jack Griffin the president of Metropolis Farms.

Philadelphia city council recognized Metropolis with resolutions to make the city an international hub for vertical farming.

The idea is "to establish Philadelphia as a promenade training center for this type of farming," said Al Taubenberger.

"Remember we don't have the weather, when it snowed this April we were growing inside," Jack said. "We were growing food in January."

The year round inside farm works by using artificial light. The light and the plants are grown in nutrient rich water, that's constantly recycled.

"It's the same nutrients as soil just in a cleaner fashion," Jack said. "We're vegan certified which means we have no pesticides, and I mean zero, no herbicides, and no manure, manure being one of the number one causes of food poisoning."

They can grow everything from lettuce, and basil, to peppers and carrots.

"That's about as fresh as it's ever going to get."

Jack has plans to branch out into empty warehouses all over the city, with hopes of becoming a world leader in vertical farming.

He says he's addressed a variety of criticisms about vertical farming, by creating systems that are cost effective and use less electricity. Jack sells the produce to local restaurants and places like Whole Foods.

For more information, visit

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.