FarmedHere, the largest urban farm in the U.S., is in Chicago's Bedford Park neighborhood. Source: FarmedHere.com
Chicago will Become the Leader in Urban Farming
Home to 821 growing sites across the town, Chicago is becoming the country’s urban agriculture capital. Highlighted by O’Hare airport’s aeroponic garden in Terminal 3, other growing sites include small community gardens to multi-million dollar farms.
O'Hare has the world's first airport aeroponic farm located in Terminal 3. Source: FlyChicago.com
A major location is the 90,000 square-foot space in the Bedford Park neighborhood, FarmedHere, which is currently the largest indoor farm in North America. The facility uses a two-story abandoned warehouse, operates with 97% reused freshwater, and grows plants without herbicides or pesticides. The farm also uses LED lighting (replacing natural sunlight) and takes advantage of Chicago’s economical electricity costs.
Nate Laurell, FarmedHere’s CEO, projects the market to reach over the estimated $3.88 billion by 2020. Laurell states, “The greens market for Chicagoland alone is $400 million. Given the market is so big, and it’s so top of mind for people where their food came from and how it was grown, even if only some fraction of that food grew in an indoor environment, when you extrapolate to other cities in the U.S. and abroad, you’d easily reach $4 billion; $4 billion seems light."
Another major farm, Urban Till, is located on the west side of Chicago. Urban Till offers herbs and microgreens to over 200 clients. Brock Leach, Urban Till’s CEO, stated plans for the farm to expand operations nationally and internationally with their proprietary hydroponics.
Leach said, “We have an intellectual property to produce more water from the air than what we use in the farm at no additional cost of electricity, and we’re able to produce agricultural goods without water supply to do so.”
In 2015, Gotham Greens opened the world’s largest rooftop greenhouse in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood in the city’s South Side. The facility grows up to 10 million heads of leafy greens and herbs year-round using the 75,000 square foot space. Gotham Greens has other locations in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.
Gotham Green's location in Chicago's Pullman neighborhood is the largest rooftop farm. Source: GothamGreens.com
With technology continuously improving, these urban farms are only the beginning of a new chapter of urban agriculture. And thanks to visionaries at FarmedHere, Urban Till and Gotham Greens, Chicago is on its way to become the hottest place to farm.
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