verticle farmingBeing healthy is more than balancing amounts of exercise and regulating our diets. Being healthy can also mean protecting, nurturing and sustaining our complete environments, out communities and each other. Enter Vertical Harvest.

A 3-story hydroponic farm in downtown (yes, we said DOWNTOWN) Jackson Wyoming, Vertical Harvest is built on only 1/10th of an acre yet yields the equivalent of 5 acres worth of produce. Its specially designed re-circulation, optimum lighting and produce conveyer systems save land, save water, and eliminate agricultural runoff and chemical pesticides.

The newly completed Vertical Harvest hydroponic greenhouse is a Public-Private LLLC (low-profit, limited-liability company – L3C) partnership, which is a for-profit social enterprise venture that has a stated goal of performing a socially beneficial purpose, not maximizing income. It will generate modest profits to ensure its fiscal sustainability instead of soliciting charitable contributions year after year from the local community.

Vertical Harvest will hire local citizens with disabilities, providing 160 hours of employment opportunities per week filled accordingly to ability and availability. Employees will work 4 hours/week up to 40 hours/week and will participate in highly-structured training programs that will teach them the process of hydroponic farming — planting, harvesting, crop management and customer service — all transferable work skills for future use.

So far, Vertical Harvest has pre-sold 95% of its start-up capacity to local Jackson restaurants, resorts, lodges and grocers, and will also offer fresh-hydroponic vegetables to the public with a small store-front within its farm building. Recently, the engineering and design team that designed and built Vertical Harvest was included in “The 8 Wonders of the Design World” for its impressive structure, original design and innovation.

The health benefits of consuming hydroponic produce are both obvious and subtle to the human body. Local organic produce that is chemical-free, GMO-free, and natural actually tastes better and is much better for us than many of the current choices at our local supermarkets that have to use chemicals and processes to maintain color and freshness during long time and distance shipping processes.

Many of the top-rated emerging restaurants in urban areas prefer to use locally grown and hydroponic ingredients for taste as well as advantages of nutritional freshness, pipeline sustainability and logistics. Focus will be on the progress of Vertical Harvest for its influence in emerging health trends and promising new social and economic models.

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