Hydroponics is growing plants in nutrient-dense water instead of soil, making it possible to farm in smaller indoor spaces. This technology lends itself to cities, where space is at a premium. So, it might not be a surprise to see urban hydroponic farms popping up in cities everywhere, and now, a grocery store!
There’s a hydroponic farm right inside a Whole Foods market in Hudson Yards, on the West Side of Manhattan. It was built and is maintained by Farm.One, which itself is a vertical hydroponic farm in Manhattan.
what is farm.one?
Farm.One grows over 700 herbs, microgreens, and edible flowers, catering to exclusive, upscale restaurants in the NYC area. But it also sells fresh greens and exotic herbs (like micro broccoli and cinnamon basil) directly to people at home; harvested and delivered on the same day.
They’re experts in vertical farming, a space-saving method where plants grow in units or layers stacked on top of each other. They usually grow indoors under artificial lighting.
whole foods mini-farm
Farm.One’s expertise helped create a hydroponic mini-farm in the Whole Foods that grows Farm.One’s own Blue Spice Basil. True to form, the farm has a small footprint on the floor, taking advantage of vertical space. About 150 basil plants grow in just 36 square feet!
The growing unit provides the optimal environment for the basil plants. In addition, Farm.One’s farmers and engineers stop in periodically to make sure the farm is operating as it should, but it requires very little maintenance.
fresh from the farm
And what of the basil? Well, the Whole Foods staff (trained by Farm.One) harvest it daily, and the chefs in the kitchen use it to make various prepared foods like pizza and cocktails sold in the store.
Having a local farm right in the store is a great way to spark conversation and curiosity about where our food actually comes from. The goal is to educate customers on how food is grown, showing that their ingredients are high quality and grown cleanly.
Whether you live in NYC or are visiting, stop by for a look!