Meet Metropolis Farms, the first vegan certified farm in the United States! And it's located right in the heart of Philidelphia on the second floor of a commercial building. They did this to prove to potential investors or would be artisan farmers that the technique could be applied to any unused space available.
But what does it mean to be a "certified vegan farm". Well in a nutshell it means that when growing their produce they use...
- Zero Pesticides
- Zero Herbicides
- Zero Animal Manure
- Zero Animal Bi-Products
And if that isn't cool enough for you their company focuses exclusively on urban farming and indoor vertical farming techniques! Yes, they are bringing LOCAL farms back to America and doing it in the most unlikely of places... right in the heart of the biggest US cities.
Lee Weingrad, the Metropolis grower, and Jack Griffin, the businessman, have great hopes for this "vertical" farm, where hydroponic herbs, microgreens, and tomatoes crowd together in troughs stacked almost to the ceiling. This is Metropolis Farms. Griffin says it's a model for a network of operations that will change the face of urban farming - heck, of the produce industry.
"Most produce is coming from thousands of miles away," he said. "We'd like to have a farm in each neighborhood."
While fields are encrusted with frost and ice, ambitious growers are turning underused spaces across the region - a former mall, a factory basement, an industrial chicken house - into year-round edens, powered by grow lights and heaters and the belief that even the grittiest warehouse can, with technology and care, be fertile ground.
"This has the potential to bring a lot of our produce back to being very local, even when you live in a very urban environment," said Steven Hughes, a biologist who runs the aquaculture program at Cheyney University.
Some, like Metropolis, are growing hydroponically, which means plants are grown in nutrient-enhanced water. Hughes said interest in aquaponics - which adds fish to fertilize the plants - had been even greater. Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists see in both a way for industrial agriculture to infiltrate the buy-local movement.
Because this new farming model (or is it an old one reborn?) has food being grown in an indoor, vertical vegan certified farm within a few blocks or miles of where it will be sold or consumed it means quite a few good things for YOU the consumer and for the environment. For example...
- You get the ripest, freshest most nutrient filled foods possible (because it's picked an hour before you eat it!!!).
- That same fresh produce year round.
- No shipping cost or any of the pollution associated with food transportation.
- No chance of bactirial or viral contamination from manure (No ecoli in your spinach!).
- Very few people will handle your food. Heck, Metropolis employees even wear steril gloves when tending and harvesting plants!
So, as you can see, we are VERY EXCITED about this vegan certified farm and what Metropolis brings to both the vegan community and urban centers as a whole. Everyone wins when wholesome, healthy, ripe food is available in every community!