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Growing Greens in the Spare Room as ‘Vertical Farm’ Start-Ups Flourish

baltgrCity-Hydro owners Zhanna and Larry Hountz started growing microgreens in a spare room in their Baltimore rowhouse a year and a half ago. Credit Matt Roth for The New York Times

It has revenue of under $500,000, but was profitable enough in 2014 that Mr. Albert quit his day job as a landscape architect to farm full time.

By Eilene Zimmerman
New York Times
June 29, 2016


They include City-Hydro, a farm built in a spare bedroom on the second floor of Larry and Zhanna Hountz’s three-story rowhouse in Baltimore. Mr. Hountz came to urban farming out of necessity. After a serious car accident, he was unable to leave his house for two years and had trouble concentrating. He couldn’t go back to his previous job as a digital security consultant.

“Zhanna had gone to the grocery store and bought some heirloom tomatoes. They were about $7 a pound,” he said. “I thought, ‘I could grow those.’”

He converted a 10-foot-by-15-foot bedroom in their house into a vertical farm. He raises 80 different varieties of microgreens that are sold to about a dozen local restaurants.

Mr. Hountz said the farm generated about $120,000 in income, and he did not plan to expand. “We want to keep it a mom-and-pop operation,” he said.

Read the complete article here.