Retailers who pride themselves on using their own homegrown ingredients in food service operations previously looked to a rooftop or back lot for garden space. But New York’s Farm.One is changing the game, making it possible for even the most urban locations to optimize space and offer open, transparent and clean food production.
Previously known for its restaurant partnerships, the brand recently opened a “mini-farm” at the new Whole Foods Market Manhattan West location. The custom-designed, 32-square-foot structure holds 150 plant sites on three growing levels. These plant sites provide the store’s food and beverage preparers with freshly grown and harvested blue spice basil. This type of structure will be a big part of Farm.One’s strategy going forward, and it’s currently on the hunt for new retail partners.
Mini-farms can offer as many as 700 varieties of hydroponic-grown crops. “A display farm can have multiple crops, or just one as is the case in the Whole Foods Manhattan West farm,” says Michael Chin, the company’s vice president of corporate development. And, Farm.One can build, install, and train stores on using farms anywhere in the world.
The bottom line? This isn’t the indoor farming of decades past. “Indoor farming has come a long way, especially in the last few years,” says Chin. “We can now produce fresh, clean and healthy food and ingredients profitably, and in an environmentally responsible way. Developments in technology and new techniques will continue to help make onsite production even more accessible to retailers and other businesses in the years to come.”