A Whole Foods Market store in New York has added a large climate-controlled farm on its roof, courtesy of local provider Gotham Greens. The hydroponic greenhouse needs no soil to grow high-quality vegetables year-round. Its computer system continually measures sunlight, heat, wind and humidity, among other factors, and makes adjustments to ensure optimal growing conditions, while on-site bumblebees pollinate the facility’s seven varieties of tomatoes.
The greenhouse is expected to produce 150 tons of premium quality, pesticide-free vegetables every year, including several new varieties of leafy greens, lettuce, tomatoes and herbs. Compared with conventional farming methods the recirculating hydroponic systems require 10 times less land and 20 times less water.
The company says that its sterile greenhouses and comprehensive food safety programmes also minimise the risk of foodborne pathogens and that growing locally eliminates the carbon footprint linked to shipping produce long distances.