Growing green roofs is now mandatory for new buildings being built in Canada and France. Middle Eastern countries facing dire food and water insecurity know that farming close to home can cut down greenhouse emissions and if farmed hydroponically can drastically cut the water bill –– in some cases by 90%! Puttings its money where American mouths are this super cool company from Brooklyn called Gotham Greens has just built the world’s largest rooftop farm -– in Chicago.
The pioneers behind America’s first commercial urban hydroponic greenhouses are now builders of the world’s largest. Today, Gotham Greens announced their biggest and most ambitious expansion to date with a brand new facility, located in the historic Pullman area on Chicago’s South Side.
Gotham Greens’ fourth greenhouse facility represents a massive expansion for the company, and its first outside of New York. The state of the art, 75,000 sq ft Chicago greenhouse, located on the rooftop of Method Products manufacturing facility, is powered by 100% renewable energy, employs over 50 workers, many from the Pullman community, will produce nearly 10 million annual crops of local, premium-quality, pesticide-free, leafy greens and herbs.
“With more than $1 billion in venture capital invested in the city in 2014, Chicago continues to emerge as the country’s newest hot spot for innovation and growing companies,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Gotham Greens’ expansion means even more jobs and investment in the Pullman neighborhood; and through cutting-edge agricultural innovation they will provide fresh, healthy and locally-grown foods to residents across Chicago.”
Gotham Greens’ local produce will be available in select national and local retailers across the Chicagoland area including Whole Foods Market, Peapod, Treasure Island, Sunset Foods, Plum Market, Target, and others.
In addition, the company has partnered on programs with various Chicago institutions including the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Greater Roseland West Pullman Food Network, Pilot Light, Chicago Botanical Garden’s Windy City Harvest and more.
“We’re proud to expand our footprint and bring Gotham Greens’ award-winning local produce into a new market, particularly Chicago, which is not only where I spent my early childhood, but also currently, perhaps, the most exciting city for culinary innovation, green development and urban farming,” said Gotham Greens co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri. “We’re especially proud to bring so many new jobs to the Pullman area, while also helping to make the local food system healthier and more ecologically sustainable.”
Through their unique brand of urban agriculture, now spanning two major cities, Gotham Greens’ expert growers are able to produce the highest quality vegetables all year round—including in the dead of winter. Sophisticated computer control systems continually adjust the greenhouse environment to ensure optimal growing conditions all year round. For Chicagoans, this means premium-quality, hyper-local produce that often hits store shelves and restaurant plates the very same day it’s harvested, 365 days a year.
“Above all else we are focused on growing the freshest, best tasting produce available,” said Gotham Greens’ Chief Agriculture Officer,Jennifer Nelkin Frymark. “Our commitment to quality and growing excellence is best illustrated by Gotham Greens’ new and long standing relationships with the nation’s best retailers and Michelin rated restaurants committed to providing their customers with the freshest and finest ingredients possible.”
Gotham Greens’ proprietary growing methods yield up to 30 times more crop per acre than field production, enabling the Pullman greenhouse to produce yields equivalent to over 50 acres of conventional field production.
Because Gotham Greens recycles 100% of its irrigation water, it also uses 10 times less water than conventional agriculture (while also eliminating all agricultural runoff – one of the leading causes of global water pollution).By growingly locally, Gotham Greens eliminates the food waste and environmental footprint linked to shipping produce long distances.
Gotham Greens, based in Brooklyn, NY, has over 115 full-time team members and is growing rapidly, with projects under development in cities across the U.S. “We’ve raised over $30 million since launching in 2009,” said Gotham Greens co-founder and CFO, Eric Haley. “We now have four operational greenhouse facilities across two cities totaling 170,000 sq ft. This makes us the largest and most commercially successful urban agriculture company in the world.”