Indoor farming company Gotham Greens today announced the official opening of a new hydroponic greenhouse, this one outside Baltimore, Maryland. The 100,000-square-foot facility is the company’s seventh greenhouse in the U.S., and its first one to grow year-round produce, according to a press release from Gotham Greens.
The launch of the Baltimore facility arrives on the heels of Gotham Greens’ first New England facility, which opened in Providence, Rhode Island at the very end of 2019. The company also operates locations in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Denver.
All of Gotham’s greenhouses use hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil. Crops grow in trays (as opposed to the tower-like structure found in other hydroponic farms) and receive a constant stream of water enriched with nutrients that is soaked up by the plant roots. Proprietary software lets farms automate much of the plant monitoring and management, so that they can find the best “recipe” of temperature, humidity, and light levels needed for each crop.
Gotham Greens said in the press release that the new farm in Baltimore will grow “more than six million heads of lettuce annually,” which is roughly the same amount grown by other large-scale indoor farming operations, Kalera and Plenty among them.
Millions of heads of greens grown throughout the year means a greater number of consumers around the country can access fresher produce harvested much more recently and closer to the store. But these warehouse-sized indoor farms are no longer the only indoor agtech operations supplying the consumer demand for local food. Companies like Freight Farms and Square Roots operate smaller farms housed inside shipping containers, some of which are located next door to major food distribution centers. Others, like InFarm, are going even more local by putting the farm in the grocery store.
There are also a number of efforts being made to bring indoor farming concepts right into the consumer home, though it’ll be a while before farms become standard kitchen appliances. Even when they do, it’s unlikely a consumer-focused farm from someone like LG would even compete directly with Gotham Greens, which serves businesses rather than consumers and grows produce in vastly larger quantities.
The new Gotham Greens farm in Baltimore will provide greens to restaurant and foodservice customers across 10 states in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S.