An indoor farm “hacks” nature to grow food all year round

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MILWAUKEE – There is a place in this frozen, snowy city where the growing season has never ended.

It’s a world just steps from the icy streets where the weather is 72 degrees and about 40 percent humidity – all day, every day.

Hundred Acre Farm moved into a warehouse at Century City Business Park in Milwaukee in the summer of 2021.

Today it is a lush and green indoor farm.

Chris Corkery says this proves his idea of ​​bringing hydroponics to inhospitable places is working.

“Century City and this warehouse in particular seemed like the perfect fit for us to come to a facility ourselves, and maybe one day it will be our headquarters as well,” Corkery said.

With Wisconsin months away from seeing anything grow outside, the team here are working hard to “hack” Mother Nature.

They use all the ingredients to grow food in a non-traditional way.

It uses light, nutrient-dense water to grow food year round in a five tier stacked hydroponic garden.

Currently, the crops that grow in plastic troughs are salads and basil.

Powered by a slow drop of water and lit by enough LED grow lights to make it feel like summer on the coldest winter day.

“You have irrigation on one end, drainage on the other, ground for gravity, let nature do its job,” Corkery said.

Green and leafy crops started as seedlings in the farm nursery.

After ten days, they settle in the heart of the farm and take flight.

“This is really where things get stronger,” Corkery explained. “It’s super efficient light, the same conditions every day, the right balance of carbon dioxide, heat, airflow, nutrients. All of these things work for optimal plant growth. and that’s why you see a delay of about 5 weeks. “

This means a harvest to be harvested every week.

Fresh greens for stores, restaurants and catering businesses across town, and new jobs in the heart of Milwaukee.

“The real goal here is to get back to the people. We are not interested in having a farm run by machines or using day labor. We want to create sustainable careers and the only one. way to achieve this is to have a meaningful full-time commitment, ”Corkery mentioned.

With interest in its crops high, Corkery sees the potential to open two more hydroponic farms by the end of 2022, with hopes of operating five across the city by 2023.

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