CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - You may not think about 'technology' when you are eating a salad. But if you are munching on lettuce harvested from Gotham Greens in Chicago, you might as well call it a 'smart-lunch.'
The world’s largest rooftop farm is up and running in the Pullman neighborhood. Not only is this year’s round producer growing food, it's also growing a relationship with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Millions and millions of leafy greens and herbs are growing inside the world's largest rooftop farm.
"It's a climate control greenhouse which enables us to monitor the climate and create consistent growing conditions 365 days a year,” said Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri.
That means the 2 acre space, located on top of the method soap faculty in the Pullman neighborhood, can harvest the same volume of produce every year as a 60 acre farm.
And it can do it using nothing but renewable energy, and far less water.
"We use 10 times less water than traditional farming,” Puri said.
And after a quick tour with Puri, it's hard to find anything traditional about this operation.
"We have sensors all over the green house that are tracking temp, humidity, light level, cO2, all in real time. All of that information is fed to a computer control system that we have programmed to turn equipment on and off to achieve the desired conditions in the green house,” Puri said.
Besides the fresh produce, this green house is also a source for a different kind of green. The kind of green generated by jobs.
The facility employs over 50 full-time employees, and it's helping in other ways too.
"We also want to get that produce to those in need,” Puri said.
So Gotham Greens partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, providing fresh healthy produce every month for those in need, and financial support for the food depository.
It’s the end result when farming goes digital.
"This is the nexus of technology and agriculture. Oldest profession in the world with cutting edge science and technology,” Puri said.
Gotham Greens has three greenhouse farms in New York. The Chicago location is its first expansion.
Puri told FOX 32 he picked Chicago because it a great food town.
In addition to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Gotham Greens has partnerships with several local super markets and restaurants, including Whole Foods and the Gibson’s Group.