NYC-based vertical farming company Farm.One announced today it has launched a mini-farm inside the newly opened Whole Foods Market in Manhattan West.
Farm.One custom designed the farm for this location. From a visual standpoint, that means the design matches the Whole Foods’ look, while the physical footprint — 36 square feet — does not intrude on shopping space. The farm can hold 150 plants, which it grows using artificial lighting and the hydroponic method.
It being a mini-farm, there isn’t a ton of variety in the crops grown. In fact, for now, the mini-farm grows only basil, which will be used for in-store pizzas and cocktails. Which sounds about right for a Whole Foods in Manhattan. Today’s press release says the farm will grow about eight pounds of basil each month. Whole Foods’ staff will harvest the plants and, thanks to the accompanying software platform, require little supervision from Farm.One engineers.
Farm.One operates other custom locations at EATALY in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood and at the Project Farmhouse event space. The company will also unveil a new farm in a yet-to-be-named plant-based restaurant in October. Thus far, the company has raised nearly $500,000 in funding.
While growing cocktail garnishes won’t exactly end world hunger, Farm.One’s continued growth across Manhattan shows how varied the uses for vertical farming are getting. Not so long ago, the concept was the territory of large-scale operations in warehouse-style buildings on the outskirts of cities. Now, vertical farms have made their way into schools, restaurants, grocery stores, grocery distribution centers, and, increasingly, consumers’ homes. The more use cases we can see in action, the better we can understand where vertical farming is most valuable as a component of our future food system.
Farm.One has plans to build other mini-farms as well as flagship locations in other major U.S. cities as well as expand internationally over the next couple of years.