NEWARK, NJ (CBSNewYork) – In honor of Earth Day Thursday, Vanessa Murdock of CBS2 is taking us to a vertical farm in Newark that is healthy for you and the environment.
The co-founder said his company is constantly working to improve processes to become better stewards of our environment.
In Newark the greens grow sky high. Rocket, kale, amaranth – to name just a few varieties – fill the former steel factory. This is AeroFarms.
“In the past 40 years the earth has lost 30% of its arable land. Here at AeroFarms we grow without soil. Plants don’t need soil, they need nutrients and micronutrients, ”said Co-Founder and CEO David Rosenberg.
He said plants don’t need sun either, but they do need a spectrum of light provided by LEDs. Everything is grown aeroponically; Water and nutrients are sprayed onto the roots.
“Ultimately, we can grow plants that give exactly what they want,” said Rosenberg.
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Rosenberg said that with less of many things, they grow more. Soil naturally also water.
“It takes 90-95% less than traditional farming,” said breeder Steven Jeanty.
He said that’s because the water is in a closed loop. No chemicals run into the water supply.
No pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides. The greens are ready to eat. So Murdock was dressed like a surgeon preparing to go to the operating room.
“We grow on a recycled material made from plastic bottles … we can grow to infinite heights, and that gives us a lot more space than any traditional field farm,” said Stacy Kimmel, vice president of research and development.
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In numbers, vertical growth with aeroponics has been shown to be 390 times more productive per square foot than traditional field management.
“We also use additional CO2. Plants are carbon based, so there is an element of carbon sequestration here, ”said Rosenberg.
And the greens can go from growing to grocery in 24 hours.
This is fast food that delivers a healthy blow – also for people and mother earth.
AeroFarms has partnered with the City of Newark and Jersey City to build small AeroFarms in schools and community centers to eradicate food deserts.