NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City usually doesn’t evoke images of lush farmland, but one company is looking to change that, and give a whole new meaning to locally grown.
Walk into Gotham Greens and it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s no ordinary produce farm, from the products, to the gadgets, to the view.
“We’re standing in a state of the art 20,000 square-foot greenhouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and what’s really unique; we’re on the roof of the Whole Foods Market,” Viarj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Gotham Greens told CBS2’s Diane Macedo.
The first of its kind partnership between an independent farm and a food store is taking buying local to a new level.
“So this is a really very technologically sophisticated greenhouse. We have sensors located all over. They’re tracked by computer control system to monitor temperature, humidity, light level, CO2, Oxygen,” Puri explained.
The whole system is automated from the roof that opens and closes to fans, heat lamps, misters, even shades that automatically deploy if it gets too hot.
Plants even grow in a high tech system with no soil and no pesticides.
“We dissolve nutrients into the water. That water provides irrigation, nutrition, and oxygen to the roots,” Puri explained, “We identify natural predators for the pests that come into the greenhouses, so we have good bugs eating bad bugs.”
The process is more expensive than traditional farming, but Puri said it produces 20 times more yield with ten times less water.
Plants also hit store shelves within hours or even minutes of harvest, cutting down on shipping costs and extending shelf life.
There’s also another important reason to buy their food products.
“Because it tastes good,” Phil Mao said.
Customers say Gotham Greens delivers there as well.
“Honestly, it’s made me a little bit spoiled, because I don’t like to eat any other lettuce,” Christie O’Brien said.
Gotham Greens also has a rooftop greenhouse in Green Point, and will open soon in Jamaica, Queens and Chicago.