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First Vegan-Certified Farm Flourishes in Philadelphia

The hydroponic farm grows 120,000 plants in a warehouse space spanning just 36 square feet.

Philadelphia’s Metropolis Farms is making headlines as the first indoor, hydroponic, vertical, certified-vegan farm in the nation. Growing 120,000 plants in a mere 36 square feet, the farm’s owners say utilizing recirculation techniques allow it to use 98 percent less water and 82 percent less energy to match the same yield of a conventionally operated 44,000-square-foot farm. Aside from the increased density afforded by vertical growing, Metropolis benefits from being indoors by avoiding harsh sun, pollutants, and pests—they even enlist the help of carnivorous flycatcher plants in lieu of pesticides to take care of the few flies, gnats, and ants the farm does attract. Indoor hydroponic farming also allows for produce production to emerge in urban locations closer to consumers, eliminating the need for hours-long vehicle transportation from rural farmland. The year-old venture has its sights set on expansion, but not necessarily for its flagship farm. "Giant vertical farms have the same problems as large agriculture,” President Jack Griffin told Philly.com. “We want to be largest network of farms. Our vision is to create a local network of farms partnering with people in the community."

Photo courtesy of Jason Sherman

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