Introduction: Robots run this farm in New Jersey!
Bowery Farming is growing lettuce, microgreens, herbs, and even strawberries in a century-old building here. That anything edible grows in this wasteland is astonishing. Also, robots run this farm!
Bowery is among a rapidly growing crop of high-rise urban farming companies that are changing the very concept of agriculture, as well as the way fresh produce gets to us. The pristine white interior and stacked greens of Bowery’s South Kearny Farm X building are a jarring contrast to the bleak landscape outside.
Tray after plastic tray of greens–a 40-foot-high erector set of stacked plants–are seeded and racked in a tightly controlled, continuously monitored grid that stretches from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. “It turns farming on its head,” says Bowery founder Irving Fain, a software entrepreneur from Providence, Rhode Island, who had zero prior experience in agriculture before starting the company.
Vertical farms are at the forefront of an industry segment called controlled environment agriculture (CEA), which has attracted billions in startup capital over the past decade. The premise is that, compared with traditional farms, vertical farms grow crops faster with higher yields, while using far less water and no pesticides–all combining to make vertical farms 100 times more productive per square foot of farmland.