Bedford Park is Growing Up with Nation's Largest Vertical Farm

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Friday, March 22, 2013 - 9:12am

Despite, or maybe because, Chicago is a dense urban community we're always searching for ways to bring the rural to the city. We've learned how to grow vegetables and herbs in unexpected environments, from windowsills to rooftops. Opening today is a company that brings the farm inside, bringing even greater possibilities for fresh produce.

FarmedHere uses aquaponics and aeroponics to grow plants without using soil. Their new indoor Bedford Park facility means no pesticides, no weather issues, no bugs, just rows and rows of healthy greens. They've taken an abandoned 90,000-square-foot warehouse and turned it into a place where arugula and basil can thrive. They estimate that at full production they'll be able to supply almost one million pounds of leafy greens.

You might have heard of FarmedHere. They've been sold at local stores and used by Chicago chefs for the last two years. This new facility will enable them to increase their distribution. Not only are they growing things we can eat, they're also growing jobs, estimating they'll be providing 200 local Chicago jobs. Some of these will come from Windy City Harvest, a Chicago Botanic Garden program that helps underserved kids learn aquaponics.

Not only is the FarmedHere facility the biggest in the nation, it's also the only one that's received the USDA National Organic Certification. In an interesting twist, the water they use is from tanks of hormone-free tilapia!

You can find their leafy greens at Whole Foods and Marianos, as well as Standard Market, Green Grocer, Sunset Foods, The Dill Pickle, and more locations that feature local, organic producers.

Welcome to Chicago, FarmedHere!

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Theresa Carter

Theresa Carter is the founder and publisher of The Local Tourist. 

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