New York City’s farm-to-table scene just got even fresher. Farm.one is an underground vertical farm in the business of forward-thinking. With a little help from LED lighting and a climate controlled environment, it grows its produce year-round, one story below the hustle and bustle of Manhattan’s streets.
Located underneath the 2-Michelin star rated Atera, Farm.one has made a name for itself as a convenient alternative for restaurants that want produce that is not only hyperlocal but also delivered within hours of its harvest. Rob Laing, CEO of Farm.one, gave Untapped Cities an inside look at the rare micro-greens, herbs and edible flowers sought after by New York City’s most celebrated chefs.
After an April 2016 introduction inside the Institute of Culinary Education in downtown Manhattan, Farm.one expanded to its current space at 77 Worth Street in Tribeca. It currently uses hydroponic technology, growing its pesticide-free products in a water-based nutrient solution as opposed to soil. Although underground, the plants receive the perfect amount of sun year round, and are kept in an environment with optimal temperatures and humidity levels for growing.
This, combined with the ability to manipulate the light intensity and overall indoor environment, allows the farm to perform in a year-round capacity that is not restricted by outdoor conditions or season. In fact, venture capital funding for vertical farming saw a 653 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 alone, demonstrating that this innovative agricultural alternative has a promising future.
All that is produced at Farm.one is grown to order specifically for New York chefs, and delivered via bike and subway to restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This eliminates waste and food miles, meaning no emissions are created as the herb shipments are transported. In the age of sustainable farming as well as cognizant consumption, Farm.one also makes sure packages its product in reusable containers.
Everything from Bronze Fennel and Sweet Thai Basil to Epazote and Zaatar Marjoram is grown in the same underground space, demonstrating the breadth of Farm.one’s yield available to those on the buying end. Over time, the team at the farm hopes to build the widest selection of edible herbs and greens in the world.