As the need for urban farming rises across the nation, one greenhouse in Chicago believes it is breaking worldwide records.
New York-based Gotham Greens is claiming its greenhouse, located on the rooftop of an old soap factory in Chicago, is the largest in the entire world.
Gotham Greens CEO and co-founder Viraj Puri told WGNTV:
“It’s hard to picture what a 75,000-square-foot greenhouse really feels like when you’re in it. It’s about two acres, a couple football fields.”
“While a conventional farm in this geographic region might be able to get two, to three, to four crops per year of leafy greens, we’re able to get close to 25.”
The enormous facility, located in the historic Pullman district, grows herbs and various salad greens all year long, even throughout Chicago’s harsh winters. Yes, where bitter cold in the Windy City may seem a problem for growing leafy greens, the truth is quite to the contrary, actually. One Gotham Greens spokesperson stated:
“Winter is actually much easier for us than summer. For us, being on the roof of another building for all of our sites, you know, we have basically a warm floor that we’re on, and so that reduces our heating demand considerably, right there.”
The massive greenhouse also incorporates lighting in order to produce food more quickly and works with several local restaurants and grocers that would otherwise largely seek such produce from farms as far away as California, or even Mexico.
Gotham Greens currently employs roughly 50 people at the Chicago facility. Many more are employed at smaller, similar greenhouses throughout New York.
As a parting note, Puri offers the following vision:
“I personally don’t believe this is necessarily the future of all farming, but that being said, it can be a viable, sustainable business.”
Check out AP footage of the mega-greenhouse, below:
Featured image by Associated Press via YouTube video screen capture.