How an indoor farm is redefining local

16-10-2020    13:54   |    Washingtonian

US- Washington D.C. sits at the intersection of some of the best farming areas in the country. According to the 2017 United States Census of Agriculture, there are over 53,000 farms in Pennsylvania plus another 40,000+ farms in Virginia. Yet, for all of the area’s agrarian prowess, you may not have seen a farm quite like this.

Standing in front of Bowery Farming’s newest farm, located just outside of Baltimore in Nottingham, you could easily mistake it for a shipping warehouse. But, like most good things, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Bowery is an indoor, vertical farming company. Walking into its Nottingham Farm feels a bit like stepping into the greenest library you could imagine. Rows and rows of fresh lettuces and herbs stretch towards the ceiling, where they’re nourished under LEDs and a constant, carefully controlled amount of filtered water and essential nutrients. 

Bowery’s pesticide-free, Protected Produce is also restoring the Nottingham area to its farming roots. From the 1940s to the late 1970s, this land was largely agricultural. Since then, it has been cleared and developed. But today, Bowery has repurposed an industrial area back into a fully operational farm that employs local Modern Farmers who keep the Mid-Atlantic region nourished with fresh produce year-round.

So why grow indoors anyway? After all, traditional farms have been growing food across the country as long as anyone can remember. Growing produce indoors has a few distinct advantages. 

First, Bowery’s indoor farms use less finite resources like water and land. Filtered water that’s not taken up by the plants is recycled, refiltered, and fed back to the plants. Bowery’s farms also take up less space. Because of their vertically stacked design, they can grow 100x more food on the same square footage as a traditional farm. 

Indoors, crops are also exempt from seasons. Rain, sleet, or snow, Bowery’s greens grow every day, all year long. And, because their farm is located right outside of the cities they serve, their fresh produce reaches local retailers within days of harvest.

Lastly (but to our taste buds, most importantly), Bowery selects non-GMO seeds for flavor attributes, unlike outdoor growers that are usually looking for options that can withstand a range of weather conditions or pests. Bowery removes the uncontrollable variables found in the field, giving plants the seasonal conditions they crave indoors so they can grow up to be the best expression of themselves.

Source and Photo Courtesy of Washingtonian

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