We all should know by now that the true remedies for our ailments do not rest on pharmacies shelves. Rather than in chemicals, the true remedies are to be found growing on tree branches in Vegan-Certified Farms!
One such farm, called Metropolis Farms is not only the first indoor hydroponic verticals farm in the state of Philadelphia, but at the same time it is the first farm in the nation and the only known vertical farm to operate on the second floor of a building. Yes, you read it correctly – on the second floor of a building!
As new vertical farms continue to flourish across the country, a South Philly warehouse is churning out fresh, local produce 365 days a year and cutting the distance food needs to travel to get to local restaurants, grocery stores and plates.
“The landlord had faith in us to let us put thousands of pounds of water over his head and prove that it wouldn’t leak,” says Jack Griffin – Metropolis Farms President. “That makes it possible for others to try it. Proving it by showing it is a different thing from just talking about it.”
What does a vegan farm mean?
A vegan farm stands for pesticides-free, herbicides-free, animal manure-free and animal bi-products-free planting facility. The company brags that they were certified under the rigorous standards of the American Vegetarian Association.
“According to the CDC, green leafy vegetables grown in manure is one of the top sources of food poisoning,” Mr. Griffin told Philly.com. To prevent and deter pests, the farm places carnivorous plants between the towers to lure and eradicate bugs.
By the controlled use of artificial lighting, climate control and other patented farming techniques, stacks of plants flourish in tall towers inside the South Water Street building (which is located “just minutes from the south Philly Italian market made famous in the Rocky movies,” as the venture illuminates on their website). The farm also reduces its energy input through the use of sophisticated robotics and put their biggest hopes on solar energy transition which is about to happen.
What crops are grown on Metropolis Farms?
Metropolis Farms grows herbs, greens, tomatoes and some other crops year around in a very small planting lots—about 120,000 plants in only 36 square feet—and with a lot less water by using the system of hydroponics. The farm reassures to use 98% less water since water just recirculates and 82% less energy compared with conventional or organic farms.
“The innovation here is density, as well as energy and water conservation,” Mr. Griffin told Technically Philly. “We can grow more food in less space using less energy and water. The result is that I can replace 44,000 square feet with 36 square feet. When you hear those numbers, it kind of makes sense.”
As we have already mentioned somewhere, vertical farms are sprouting up around the world from densely- inhabited Japanese cities to perpetually wintry Jackson, Wyoming. These green hubs are growing crops in places where traditional agriculture would have been impossible otherwise. Proponents say indoor farming is a solution to extreme weather conditions caused by global climate change and can be a logical response to global food shortages.
This is what the company has noted on their website:
“When you consider that agriculture is the No.1 cause of global warming, it is not hard to realize that our systems are not only a better way to grow, but clearly they are the bright future of farming. We live in the real world, the one where the world population is rapidly on the rise and less usable farmland and fresh water is available worldwide every year.
Our food is grown in the same communities where it is then sold, so our food does not have to travel 3,000 miles (or even more!) to keep our city populations fed in the cold destitute winters. We recycle our nutrients instead of allowing them to seep into our water table.
Our protected indoor environments enable our crops to eliminate the risk of soil-transmitted lead, arsenic and other extremely harmful heavy metals, let alone soil-transmitted bacterial infections and diseases. Our produce is protected from harmful pests or the dangers of natural disasters like the California drought or unpredictable ‘winds of change.’ We create local-living wage jobs that do something worthwhile with our efforts, namely feeding people.”
That is the big frame, of course. For Metropolis Farms, the small picture is important as well. “We want to show that the urban vertical tech was adaptable,” NewsWorks quoted Mr. Griffin.
“How much available space, like nooks, second-floor space, gets wasted, or never offers a job?
Growing a significant amount of food in an economically viable model means we can bring artesian farmers back, and that anybody can do this. With a lot of the vertical farming out there, I see the very sophisticated equipment, and I think it must cost so much. But they’re over-engineering it. The average person can do this. The goal is to make it simple.”
What matters most is that crops can be plucked at their peak freshness and delivered to consumers on the same day for optimal freshness and nutrition, the company touted on their website, also adding that “instead of food miles they actually measure food minutes from harvesting.”
Mr. Griffin told Technically Philly that his vision “is to have communities start to embrace and use our open source technology to create small farms everywhere so that people can enjoy fresh produce year round at a fraction of the cost and with lower energy consumption than traditional farms.”
Now, all we can say to this great green effort is:
Just go ahead guys and populate this busy country! We all need you more than you can imagine!
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