oining state and local officials in Newark’s Ironbound District, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony of AeroFarms’ new 69,000-square-foot headquarters and indoor vertical farm.
“This isn’t your father’s farming. The farms of the future – like AeroFarms – rely ever more closely on technology,” said Acting Governor Guadagno. “As agriculture faces rising demand and limited resources, we celebrate an important step in tackling those challenges head-on. Today we break ground on a vertical farm in the heart of the Ironbound District that will provide the community with healthy produce through sustainable and environmentally friendly farming.”
Founded in 2004, AeroFarms is the commercial leader for indoor vertical farming, using aeroponics and LEDs to grow year-round crops without sun, soil or pesticides. When completed, the new facility will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million pounds of baby leafy greens and herbs per year. Its year-round growing cycle offers 75 times more productivity per square foot annually than a traditional field farm while consuming more than 95% less water.
Originally headquartered in Ithaca, New York, AeroFarms worked with members of the Partnership for Action during its move to find a location that would fit both its headquarters and vertical farm. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) awarded AeroFarms a GrowNJ award worth $6.55 million tied to the creation of approximately 70 jobs. Additionally, AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) to recruit and train local employees.
“New Jersey has a long agricultural tradition, and we are not only known for our rich farmland and high-quality product, but also as a leader in new agricultural technologies,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We welcome AeroFarms’ indoor vertical farming to the Garden State and have had the chance to see their impressive operation. We look forward to their full-scale production of flavorful and healthy leafy greens year-round.”
For more than four years, AeroFarms has partnered with Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark, where students have a vertical farm in the school’s dining hall. This unique “farm-to-table” experience shows students how their food is grown and provides them with fresh, locally sourced produce.
“Today’s groundbreaking takes us one step closer to addressing the tremendous demand for our locally grown produce that is setting a new culinary standard for freshness and taste. We are excited to redefine not only the Garden State but also agriculture overall,” said David Rosenberg, CEO for AeroFarms. “Partnering with RBH, Goldman Sachs, Prudential, NJEDA, the City of Newark, and the ICC allows us to bring our global headquarters and the world’s largest indoor vertical farm close to where the consumer is, while also creating jobs.”
Businesses considering a move or in need of assistance are encouraged to call New Jersey’s Business Action Center at (866) 534-7789 or visit the State’s Business Portal at www.newjerseybusiness.gov.