A vertical farm in New Jersey may be transforming the farm-to-store supply chain
Bowery Farming in Kearny, New Jersey, is reimagining the farm-to-store supply chain. Bowery is the largest vertical farm in the United States, growing leafy greens, herbs, fruits, and vegetables inside a climate-controlled warehouse where crops grow in stacked trays under lights that mimic natural sunlight. “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal recently toured the research and development part of the farm, where Bowery fine-tunes the flavor of new produce such as radishes and strawberries with fewer threats of pests, water scarcity, or other challenges associated with traditional outdoor farming. Bowery also grows wasabi arugula and other hard-to-find vegetables that are difficult to cultivate using conventional growing methods.Because Bowery’s business model is based on growing crops in indoor sites near the cities they sell in, most products that would normally take two or three weeks to reach stores make it to market a day or two from harvest. Bowery Farming’s CEO Irving Fain sees vertical farming as nothing short of revolutionary, stating that it can “democratize access to high-quality fresh food” in cities. Bowery is growing in other ways: It has a second farm in Nottingham, Maryland, and a third is under construction in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.