AeroFarms, an aeroponics company that was started in 2004, is bringing what is soon to be the world’s largest vertical farm to a former steel factory in Newark, New Jersey's Ironbound community.
The vertical farm will manufacture short, leafy green vegetables grown in vertically stacked trays that will fill 69,000 square feet of the former Newark factory.
Aeroponics is the process of using air or mist to grow plants without soil and sunlight. Instead plant growth is fostered using LED lights and a nutrient-rich mist. It uses less water and fewer nutrients than hydroponics, the process of growing plants with hyper-nutrient water without soil. Though the vertical aeroponics farm is highly efficient — AeroFarms Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oshima told Vice that the company is 75 times more productive per square foot annually than traditional field farming and 10 times more productive than a hydroponic farm — AeroFarms has a larger goal in mind for Newark’s aeroponics farm.
The company uses non-GMO seeds to grow its products and seeks to bring local produce to the surrounding community.
“One of the things that we’re excited about is how we can increase access to healthy foods,” Oshima told Vice. The space will also serve as the global headquarters for the green business.
Construction on the vertical farm has started and the farm is expected to open later this year.