Chicago Indoor ‘Mega Farm’ is Largest of its Kind

FarmedHere in suburban Chicago maximizes space by stacking planting beds vertically.

FarmedHere LLC, in suburban Chicago, is formulating a new way to farm, with the space that's available, even in the crowded city. In a warehouse, the company has created a “mega farm,” with 150,000-sq. feet of growing space.

This facility will be an upgrade from current warehouse farms, with the emphasis on vertical growing space – maximizing space by creating stacked structures placing different growing levels on top of each other. The plants are grown with artificial sunlight.

Primarily, these farms produce greens, lettuce and other plants, while still experimenting with many other vegetable crops.

While farms like this one are spread across the country, the one is Chicago is purportedly the largest in the U.S. FarmedHere is currently providing produce to local grocery stores and restaurants. With two growing structures, with five to six levels of growing beds each, the company is currently working on the next structure, expanding the growing capacity.

The produce planted in the facility, mainly arugula and basil right now, is labeled organic by the USDA and packaging is even completed at the farming facility.

While this is an innovative way to farm, the facility is not without its challenges. The sheer size of the farm itself is an issue both for manpower costs and also for electricity bills. Similar farms in Wisconsin and Chicago have gone out of business. But, industry hopefuls believe that in a few years, sustainable energy options may lower operating costs.

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