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This Hydroponic Farm Is Speeding Up NYC's Farm-To-Table Process

Hydroponic farming is becoming an increasingly popular option in cities with a high demand for fresh produce. Farm One is one such system that is providing their restaurant clientele with microgreens, herbs, and edible flowers grown right in Manhattan, Inhabitat reports. They claim they can reach 90 percent of their buyers by bike within 30 minutes. That's fresh.

Farm One is part of the Institute of Culinary Education, so it's a place for learning chefs as well—which is also a great way to build up a network of people who know about and support it. The hydroponic farm was built in April of 2016, with 150 different varieties of crops on rotation.

The space was developed by urban agriculture firm Agritecture, whose managing director Henry Gordon-Smith told Green Matters in an email that it's a really special place that is building a road map for future hydroponic growing technology.

"Farm One isn't like other vertical farms: for one, they grow the most unique and rare crops on demand for the most curious and sophisticated chefs. Additionally, each farm is optimized to match the urban site they set up an operation in, embracing the positive attributes of the space to the demands of their customers. Farm One is leading the way in the production of crops that have often never been grown in vertical farms to inspire chefs, cities, and customers to ignite their senses with the future of local agriculture," wrote Gordon-Smith. 

The indoor farm is lit by LEDs, and the interior is monitored for conditions that are primed to grow greens. They use zero pesticides or herbicides, and the hydroponic system requires 95 percent less water than in a traditional garden. The main waste product from the enterprise is plant matter, which is composted.

Farm One is also committed to variety. They say on their website that they "scour the world" for "rare seeds" in an effort to promote biodiversity. It also doesn't hurt that the growers are themselves chefs, which means an interest in variety and flavor for its own sake. The farm is growing, but remains committed to staying local and minimizing travel time for their produce. If you can grow lettuce in the basement, you never need to eat a wilted leaf again.

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