Inside The Vertical Farm Growing What It Calls “The World’s First Post-Organic” Produce
Without using any pesticides or chemicals, Bowery–a new vertical farming startup outside of New York City–delivers fresh leafy greens within one day of harvesting, with some help from agricultural AI.
“Post-organic produce,” says the company, means that all of the leafy greens in the warehouse are grown completely without pesticides . .
Before leading people through the heavy metal doors and into the vertical farm Irving Fain has recently opened in a warehouse in Kearny, New Jersey, he asks visitors to take off their jewelry. He hands them a disposable jumpsuit and a hairnet to put on; bright blue sleeves must be slipped on over shoes. “It’s about protecting the integrity of the environment,” Fain says. Jewelry could fall off and into the beds of leafy greens; shoes and clothes could track in unknown germs.
For Bowery—the farm that Fain, a former marketing entrepreneur, first conceived of two years ago—contamination is a particular concern. Bowery is growing what it calls “the world’s first post-organic produce,” meaning that all of the leafy greens in the warehouse—which range from kale to Thai basil to wasabi arugula—are grown completely without pesticides, and completely under the control of a comprehensive, proprietary operating system that oversees the entire growing process. “We fully own our process from seed to store,” Fain says–the “post-organic” designation derives from the fact that the founders view Bowery’s farming and tech integration as the next frontier in agriculture. Though the startup doesn’t release exact capacity or operating cost figures, Bowery estimates that it is 100 times more productive on the same plot of land than traditional farms.