Baltimore-based Urban Farming Co. with Goal of 100 Acres Under Hoop Houses Hopes to Create 600 Jobs
Big City Farms, of Baltimore, Maryland, has high ambitions for urban agriculture
By Missy Smith
December 18, 2012
In February 2011, Big City Farms established its proof-of-concept organic lettuce and “leafy green” farm, aptly named Big City Greens. The almost two-year-old farm is the first in the country to be built on top of an asphalt parking lot. “Asphalt is a little easier than dirt, because dirt requires leveling,” says Persful, who explains that the most difficult part of the process was drilling through the asphalt to put in the beams for their six hoop-houses.
From October 2011 to September 2012, Big City Greens grew 52,000 pounds of food and grossed $118,000 using six hoop houses on a half-acre crop square.
“We mostly grow leafy greens,” explains Persful. “We will expand our crop types as we expand growing areas. We want to have enough to supply our customers with consistency in each product before expanding to other crops.”
Within 24 hours of harvest, Big City Greens’ Food arrives at urban grocery stores, restaurants and institutions, which is how all of Big City Farms’ properties will operate. “[Big City Greens sells] mostly to local restaurants like Heavy Seas Ale House, Barracudas, Gertrudes, B-bistro, Woodberry Kitchen, Dogwood, 10-10, Fleet Street Kitchens, Joe Squared and many others,” says Persful. “Our best client is Bon Appetite, a food service provider for the University of Maryland and Goucher Collage. We also sell at local farmers markets like 32nd Street Farmers Market.”