How Bowery Farming is rising the indoor agriculture house

It is simple to drive previous Bowery Farming’s Nottingham Farm, simply north of Baltimore.

The farm is situated in a warehouse complicated that’s in plain sight of the street, however on the far finish of the parking zone. The signal that tells the world this warehouse constructing it is a part of Bowery’s community of next-generation farms is definitely on the again aspect of the constructing, so guests who know they’re in the suitable place may additionally be a bit confused. 

However when you stroll by means of the glass doorways, cross by means of a locker room to get protecting clothes, and step right into a foam sprayed on the ground that disinfects your footwear, it is obvious that it is a spot the place crops are grown — however in contrast to the farms everybody realized about as youngsters.

A steel construction fills the room, with staircases winding up towards the ceiling. Huge cabinets crammed with trays of greens in numerous levels of improvement are stacked into a number of tales. The greens are lush and full — or they’re seedlings that seem like they may finally get there. Some trays are in movement, being conveyed to factors within the construction the place they may discover the optimum rising situations.

Bars above every tray of greens present them with daylight. A few of them have water trickling in from a faucet to assist them develop, then dripping out right into a tray to recirculate. The farm feels humid, smells recent as you stroll close to mature crops like patches of basil, and has the fixed buzzing sound of additional carbon dioxide being pumped into the room. 

Henry Sztul, chief science officer at Bowery Farming, pauses earlier than strolling up the steps of the mega-structure.

“It is actually onerous to get a way for the way huge our farms are,” he stated, encouraging a glance by means of the construction to the again wall of the warehouse, and up towards the ceiling. “And so that you see how far it goes down right here. How far it goes up.”

Bowery Farming’s Nottingham, Maryland, location.

Megan Poinski/Meals Dive


Bowery Farming was based in 2015 by former tech entrepreneur Irving Fain. It is spent the final seven years bettering its system of vertical hydroponic gardening. The Nottingham Farm, which serves shoppers in a radius of about 200 miles — together with Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia — was the corporate’s largest when it opened in late 2019.

As an organization, Bowery is kind of actually rising. It is latest and largest farm, situated in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, opens as we speak. The Japanese Pennsylvania location will make recent produce accessible to about 50 million individuals who reside inside 200 miles of the farm. And as soon as this farm is in full swing, Bowery says it is going to be in a position to produce 47 million servings of leafy greens every year in any respect of its farms mixed.

The expansion is simply persevering with. In early 2023, the corporate is slated to open two extra farms in Arlington, Texas, and Locust Grove, Georgia.

The corporate enlargement is made by attainable by what Bowery Farming Chief Industrial Officer Katie Seawell known as momentum and vitality across the firm — and your entire next-generation farming house. Bowery was one of many first of the brand new technology of farms that makes use of expertise and indoor areas to develop recent and sustainable greens year-round and nationwide. Cash helps that progress, too. Final yr, it obtained a $300 million funding spherical — one of many largest ever in indoor farming — that it is utilizing to broaden its farms in addition to enhance its expertise. Early this yr, it secured a $150 million credit score facility led by non-public accounts managed by KKR.

However, Seawell stated, the enlargement can also be pushed by how Bowery makes use of the newest in expertise to make its produce develop and feed shoppers with brisker greens than many are used to having.

“We’re a brand new gold commonplace in produce,” Seawell stated. “Whenever you look beneath at what shoppers are caring about, [it’s] pesticide free, native, freshness, security.”

How a vertical farming firm grows

Sztul, who joined the corporate in its early days, has a Ph.D. in physics and had beforehand labored as an engineer and product developer at tech corporations. Farming and agriculture wasn’t in Sztul’s background, however he was intrigued by tips on how to use indoor farming to make a distinction, and tips on how to use expertise to scale it up.

He is credited with being a key developer of the BoweryOS, the proprietary working system that makes use of copious quantities of information and synthetic intelligence to find out tips on how to greatest develop quite a lot of crops. The system deploys that data to function the farm easily, from planting to harvesting. About 70 folks work on the Maryland farm, the corporate stated. Their jobs entail completely different features of working with the produce because it strikes by means of the system, however not the guide work of seeding, watering or individually controlling lights or different progress elements for the trays of seedlings and greens. About 70 folks can even be working on the new Pennsylvania farm.

“We’re a brand new gold commonplace in produce. Whenever you look beneath at what shoppers are caring about, [it’s] pesticide free, native, freshness, security.”

Katie Seawell

Chief business officer, Bowery Farming

The corporate’s farms are all linked by means of the BoweryOS, Sztul stated, and the system automates a lot of the work of farming. It has been an extended journey to get Bowery to the purpose the place every farm may be like a small manufacturing facility, utilizing calibrated expertise and a managed setting to supply kilos upon kilos of recent, optimized hydroponic greens.

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