At this climate controlled, indoor facility in Newark, New Jersey, crops are stacked 30 feet high in a 30,000 square foot environment.
The style of grow is called aeroponic and involves misting the roots with nutritious water; spraying them, rather than soaking them. Because they are sprayed with a light mist, they are better oxygenated and the crops can be grown using 95% less water than outdoor agriculture.
David Rosenberg, CEO of AeroFarms, explains "typically, in indoor growing, the roots sit in water, and one tries to oxygenate the water. Our key inventor realized that if we mist nutrition to the root structure, then the roots have a better oxygenation."
Other phenomenon inherent to indoor growing are the lack of need for pesticides and herbicides. Because the plants are grown in a (relatively) sterile environment, bacteria and other notorious plant killers are not part of the equation and the food can be grown without dumping poison on it.
These vertical farms are appearing, now, all over the world, including countries like Canada, Panama, the U.K. and all around the U.S.
"It's a tough business, but it's one that's going to stay and it's going to have a bigger and bigger impact," says Rosenberg, indicating the value of year-round farming. Because these plants grow indoors in a mediated environment, they can receive the light they need, regardless of the season or time of day.
Some have wondered about the lack of sunlight and the use of LEDs on the vegetables, but "the plants don't need yellow spectrum," says Rosenberg. By using only the light that is needed for the plant to grow, the company saves even more electricity and leaves less of a footprint.