The whole local food movement has been taken to new heights, literally. A new company Gotham Greens, is building huge greenhouses on NYC roofs and then growing arugula, basil, tomatoes, bok choy, baby kale and butterhead lettuce hydroponically. The greenhouses are a controlled environment and as you can see in the video considerable steps are taken to ensure the temperature stays within a pre-determined range all the time. Quite a bit of technological help is needed to ensure the exact conjunction of water, nutrients and temperature aligns exactly to produce high quality product. And as you can imagine it is not cheap to do it this way.
There is no soil involved at all. Water alone is used with a computer controlled system that determines when to turn the equipement off and on and to determine what nutrients are added to the water.
Of course growing the year round is also possible once you control all the variables so the yeild is very high. And of course the overheads involved in transporting food is very small comparatively, because the food grown in NYC stays in NYC. so there are swings and roundabouts on overheads generally. And the CEO says they have steadily produced a profit doing it this way.
Gotham Greens delivers to Wholefoods, one of whose rooftops has a Gotham Greens greenhouse on it. But the company also delivers to local grocers, restaurants and places like Dean and Deluca. The whole process is seen as very environmentally sound and while everything is computer controlled, CEO Viraj Puri regards himself as a farmer, an urban farmer even if he is a very technologically supported farmer. And of course he is, because this is very large scale farming. As you can see in the video these greenhouses are huge, they are farm size.
It will be very interesting indeed to watch the growth of this company and the exact way it expands. It’s computer programs are their own and we can watch see whether the companyy just keeps expanding or whether it also licenses others to use those programs.