‘World’s largest indoor farm’ to rise in an unlikely spot in South Jersey

‘World’s largest indoor farm’ to rise in an unlikely spot in South Jersey.
The Camden site will be Farm No.
10 of AeroFarms LLC, which last year began growing abundant quantities of leafy greens such as kale, red-leaf lettuce, arugula, and bok choy in a converted steel warehouse in Newark’s inner city.
“This is Farm No.
Illuminated by specially calibrated LED grow lights of AeroFarms’ devising, the seedlings’ and plants’ airborne roots are sprayed periodically with a mist of purified water and mineral nutrients ordinarily found in soil, and each grow tray is monitored electronically for health and vitality.
At 70,000 square feet, this mostly corrugated-steel building is already the world’s largest indoor “vertical farm,” according to Rosenberg.
“We won,” he called out, and with a broad smile explained to the handful of employees standing close by that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority had minutes earlier awarded AeroFarms a grant of $11.14 million in tax incentives over 10 years to build the Camden farm.
After much experimentation he then developed a porous cloth made from recycled soda bottles that allows the roots of seedling roots to penetrate and grow down, where nozzles mist them.
In Newark, he said, the company pays unskilled labor about 40 percent above minimum wage and offers “full benefits.” “We probably would not have made the move to Camden — at least not now — without the [Grow New Jersey] tax grant,” he said.
But Rosenberg praised the grant program as the kind of “public-private partnership” by which government can encourage “innovative companies” like his to achieve such worthy goals as job creation, urban renewal, or reducing water pollution.

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