On April 15, the Calumet Quarter took a trip down south to the historic town of Pullman. We saw many interesting components of this town, ranging from the rich history of industry to the implementation of green technologies at the new Method Soap Factory.
What struck my greatest interest was the partnership Method had forged with Gotham Greens in renting out the rooftop of their factory. Gotham Greens is an urban rooftop greenhouse company that currently owns and operates four rooftop greenhouses in the United States.
This quote from their website describes the organization:
“Gotham Greens’ pesticide-free produce is grown using ecologically sustainable methods in technologically-sophisticated, 100% clean energy powered, climate-controlled urban rooftop greenhouse”
A few quick facts:
- The Gotham Greens Pullman location is the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world
- Gotham Greens was founded in Brooklyn, NY in 2008.
- There are currently four locations for Gotham Greens (one in Queens, two in Brooklyn, and one here in Chicago/Pullman)
Growing food on rooftops puts otherwise empty space to good use. Moreover, Gotham Greens works to incorporate energy efficient practices into its operations. For instance, the company harnesses some energy from the Method Factory’s wind turbines and takes advantage of rising heat generated from the factory.
Furthermore, the transportation and distribution of produce from Gotham Greens to customers is much more efficient than, say, a factory farm that might be several hours or even States away. Not only can you get food faster from a Gotham Greens location, but you are pretty much guaranteed to have it fresher than if you were to buy from anywhere else.
In fact their location in Gowanus, Brooklyn is even top of a Whole Foods grocery store!
Our class had the privilege of going inside the hydroponic station where Gotham Greens grows all of its lettuce and vegetables. Since Gotham Greens is proprietary and profit-driven, the company rarely allow outsiders in to see their methods and set-up. Getting to see first-hand the process of growing lettuce in a greenhouse hydroponic station was incredible. Gotham Greens has streamlined the entire process, which generates little-to-no waste.
I was also really impressed with Gotham Greens’ expectations of itself. The company is not seeking to revolutionize the agricultural industry as a whole. Rather, the main goal is to provide environmentally conscious and fresh produce in urban areas at an affordable price. They obviously would like to expand, but this model is not going to upend the entire agricultural industry.
I’m looking forward to seeing more rooftop farms pop up in urban areas in the near future and hopefully this can be a long term, environmentally friendly and cheap alternative to current forms of production!
Also for anyone interested, this is a link to a TV Profile on Gotham Greens done by Tech Crunch.