The World’s Largest Indoor, Vertical Farm

© Aerofarms

As urban populations continue to grow so does concern about how to feed them. Global warming only exacerbates fears. Heat and water stress, extreme weather and unpredictable seasons threaten food production. In response, urban agriculturists are innovating. One solution: vertical farms.

From the Ground Up

Newark, New Jersey-based AeroFarms gets its name from its aeroponic method of plant growth. Crops are cultivated in a rising series of trays in a large warehouse where a steel mill once stood. Rather than using soil to grow plants, roots are suspended in patented, recycled cloth and are nourished through frequent misting. Replacing sunlight are LEDs. The promises of the innovation abound.

“We are able to grow plants using as much as 95% less water and grow a plant on average in 14 days,” said David Rosenberg, AeroFarms Co-founder and CEO, in an interview with ABC13. Baby leafy greens can be grown by AeroFarms in 14 days but might take as many as 45 days to grow on a traditional farm by contrast.

Aeroponic farming is part of a larger food production trend called controlled-environment agriculture. Unlike traditional farming subject to natural conditions, increasingly haphazard, AeroFarms and its contemporaries leave nothing to chance. Combining

engineering, food safety, data science, IoT integration and nutrition, AeroFarms optimizes food growth by manipulating temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide level, nutrient mixes and light spectrum and intensity.

“This is a way of growing that has 390 times more productivity per square foot than a field farm,” said AeroFarms’ Co-Founder Marc Oshima to ABC News.

Vertical Farm to Fork

In partnership with the City of Jersey City, AeroFarms and the World Economic Forum are looking to provide residents with free, locally-grown greens. This partnership is the first municipal vertical farming program in the nation and will place vertical farms throughout senior centers, schools, public housing, and municipal buildings across Jersey City. The partnership intends to produce approximately 19,000 pounds of vegetables annually.

Here Comes the Future

According to Stratistics MRC, the Global Indoor Farming market accounted for $106.6 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $171.12 billion by 2026, growing at an annual growth rate of 5.4%.

These statistics bring validity to AeroFarms’ claim: “bringing agriculture into the future at a rapid pace.”

Learn more about AeroFarms and the sustainable urban future in their innovation spotlight on urban farming Saturday, October 17 as part of the FUTURE FORUM: Building Biopolis. Claim a spot at