America’s Largest Vertical Farm Will Describe Successful $1.7 Million Capital Raise and Launch in Chicago
90,000-square foot facility in the industrial Chicago southwest suburb of Bedford Park
By Bob Benenson
Good Food Festivals
Feb 28, 2013
When FarmedHere was founded, its indoor vertical produce farm was located in a tiny 4,000-square foot building in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Co-Founders Jolanta Hardej, Steve Denenberg and Paul Suder, and vice president of development, Paul Hardej, delivered their basil and arugula to retail merchants in Ziploc bags.
Now, just about three years later — enhanced in part by strategic support from FamilyFarmed.org and the Good Food Financing Conference — FarmedHere is set for the grand opening of a 90,000-square foot facility in the industrial Chicago southwest suburb of Bedford Park. It will be the largest vertical farm in America.
That space will ultimately be filled with 20 five-tiered systems, lit by energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs, in which organic herbs and greens are being grown hydroponically (with their roots immersed in water) or aeroponically (with nutrients sprayed on the roots). The nutrients are produced, in part, by an aquaponic system in which food fish such as tilapia are raised while their wastes, full of nitrogen, are filtered, processed and siphoned off to the produce racks. FarmedHere’s closed-loop growing systems save at least 97 percent of fresh water in comparison to traditional farms.