Check out this vertical farming outfit in Michigan that is utilizing the Omega Garden systems successfully in abandoned warehouse:
Vertical Farming Venture Achieves Sustainability and Success in New Buffalo, Michigan
According to Green Spirit Farms‘ Research and Development Manager Daniel Kluko, the future of farming is heading in one clear direction: vertical. “If we want to feed hungry people this is how we need to farm,” said Kluko. Kluko believes that vertical farming offers a very important benefit in today’s world of scarce land and resources— the potential for unparalleled plant density. After all, how else can a farmer grow 27 heads of lettuce in one square foot of growing space?
Green Spirit Farms was started by Daniel’s father Milan Kluko under his engineering company Fountainhead Engineering LTD. The idea for the farm emerged while the company was evaluating indoor, urban farm models in North America for a non-profit client—a process which piqued Milan Kluko’s interest about the viability of a vertical farming operation.
During the initial development phase, Fountainhead Engineering LTD experimented with a few hydroponic growing systems in their small engineering office. They worked on determining economic feasibility and sustainability, and even designed their own patent pending commercial vertical hydroponic system. When they were ready, they pursued funding from private sector investors and began to build Green Spirit Farms. In order to realize its goal of absolute sustainability, Green Spirit Farms aimed to use less energy, less water, and much less space. Kluko says the farm uses 90% less water than traditional farming methods. In addition, it is a zero discharge operation and has zero soil and groundwater impacts from fertilizer or organic runoff. Other sustainability measures undertaken by the farm include the recycling of water from their water purification system, the composting of plant waste, the use of carbon neutral energy, and the use of compostable packaging.
All of these sustainable practices combined with an increased market for local, organic food have contributed to the success of Green Spirit Farms. According to Kluko, the farm chooses to grow products with high local demand like lettuce, basil, spinach, kale, arugula, peppers, tomatoes, stevia, strawberries and brussel sprouts. They sell their produce locally to grocery stores and restaurants and also host a small “Harvest Market” where they sell produce directly to consumers. They have found this approach to be extremely successful. So much so that their biggest challenge is producing enough food to meet the local demand. “The majority of the restaurants where our farm is located use our produce and they can’t get enough of it,” said Kluko. “We will sell dozens of packages of lettuce to the local supermarket and they will be sold out within an hour or two.”