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Largest Indoor Vertical Farm in U.S. Opens in Chicago

Growing food near where it’s sold or consumed is getting to be a bigger trend in the U.S., and the opening of a 90,000 square foot indoor vertical farm near Chicago is testimony to the demand for these types of operations.

The FarmedHere growing operation in Bedford Park, IL, is inside of a previously abandoned warehouse, and it uses a combination of aquaponics and aeroponics to produce fresh greens for area stores.

The plants are grown in stacks of beds six feet high, and are illuminated by artificial lighting and fed with nutrient-rich water from tanks of tilapia fish.

According to FarmedHere, the goal for this operation is to provide 1 million pounds of leafy greens and herbs to the local market, once plant production reaches full capacity.

The new facility in Bedford Park is said to be the largest indoor aquaponic farm in the country, and it has received organic certification from the USDA.

The facility is said to use “about 3% of the water of traditional agriculture and it’s all recyclable,” according to Jolanta Hardej, CEO of FarmedHere. The farm hopes to provide up to 200 jobs, some of which will be through Wind City Harvest, an urban ag training program encouraging youth to get involved in urban farming.

FarmedHere also operates two other indoor farms, a 10,000 sq. foot operation in Flanagan, and a 40,000 sq. foot operation in Englewood.

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