Gotham Greens, the Brooklyn, New York-based rooftop farm business, has announced expansion plans to Chicago, installing what will become the largest rooftop farm in the nation.
Gotham Greens’ Chicago outfit will clock in at a massive 75,000 square feet and be situated atop of a new $30 million production facility for Method, the San Francisco-based environmentally-friendly soap and household cleaning products company located in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Pullman is known as one of the nation’s first factory towns now famous for its red-brick row houses. The historic neighborhood is also about to become the nation’s newest National Park.
What can 75,000 square feet grow on a roof? The numbers are pretty incredible. By next year, when the Gotham outfit is expected to be operational in Chicago, it will produce about one million pounds of fresh greens each year. The crops will be going to local city restaurants, schools, hospitals and universities.
“But the farm’s enormous size isn’t all that’s noteworthy about the project,” reports Civil Eats. “If done right, the rooftop farm could also help revive a historic African American neighborhood and bring fresh food to its residents.”
Aside from its wholesale business, Gotham Greens will also begin to sell its produce to its local neighbors through area farmers markets. “This will make the produce more accessible because low-income residents in Illinois who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get twice the dollar value at farmers markets,” Civil Eats explains.
Gotham Greens also has plans to expand beyond New York and Chicago, bringing fresh produce to a hyper local level in major metropolitan areas. The Pullman greenhouse will employ between 30 to 40 locals to run the greenhouse operation.
According to Civil Eats, there were no rooftop farms in the U.S. five years ago, but today there are at least 20, with numbers expected to exceed 100 in the next five years.
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