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The new AeroFarm facility in Newark, New Jersey is inside a former steel mill. It will accommodate 35 rows of growing greens on trays stacked 12 high. The potential harvest is two million pounds of fresh, leafy greens a year, without any soil, zero pesticides...and no sunlight! Seeds are placed on stacked trays covered by recyclable cloth made from recycled plastic. LEDs provide the light stimulation and sensors track the growth. This will be the company's ninth farm.

"We disrupt traditional supply chains by building farms on major distribution routes and near population centers. We defy traditional growing seasons by enabling local farming at commercial scale all-year round. ... And we do it all while using 95% less water than field farmed-food and with yields 75 times higher per square foot annually."-AeroFarms

While landscape architects are often tasked with designing attractive and sustainable landscapes, some are at times involved in designing residential or community edible gardens. While this is a small segment within the landscape architecture profession, it certainly is primal to our agrarian roots. Eating vegetable from your garden is about as sustainable as you can get.

In our crowded urban environments, landscape architects are often designing green spaces. Growing food in cities always comes down to arable space, which is at a premium; that's where vertical farming comes in.

Since 2004, AeroFarms ( has been building and operating indoor vertical farms. The grower has nine vertical farms, the latest being what the company asserts is the "world's largest indoor vertical farm," which happens to be in an unlikely location: a renovated and expanded former steel mill in Newark, New Jersey.

AeroFarms grows over 250 different leafy greens and herbs. The company says its vertical growing technique uses 95% less water that conventional farming. No pesticides (ever) and up to 30 harvest a year. The "farmers" in this vertical growth sector wear coverall suits, gloves and hairnets to avoid contaminating the produce.

Starting in November, AeroFarms will partner with organic wholesaler Farmigo to sell its produce to New York City groceries.

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May 26, 2019, 3:24 pm PDT

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