Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Happening in Newark

This is very big news.

Last Monday, a group of government officials and businessmen gathered to hear a proposal for bringing vertical farming to the Garden State.  In attendance were Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Stefan Pryor and City Councilman Donald Payne, Jr, along with leaders from the Greater Newark Conservancy and Brick City Development Corporation, among other groups.  Dan Albert and Peter Greaves of Weber Thompson presented their site-specific project, which was inspired by their original Eco-Laboratory drawings, and the room sparkled at each change of the slide, as, one by one, the guests all fell for vertical farming.

After the presentation, Councilman Payne proclaimed, "This is something that should happen here," to which Deputy Mayor Pryor answered, "Absolutely.  I agree." 

Vertical Farm Technologies, LLC, a company which Dr. Despommier founded to develop vertical farms, gave a follow-up presentation discussing a proposal for financing the project that Albert and Greaves outlined.  The plan includes a public-private partnership to benefit from NGO tax credits, and all the city of Newark would have to ante would be the site, which is currently vacant.  The next step is for VFT, LLC to follow-up with a more detailed proposal for financing the project.  Although interesting financing avenues were explored, nothing will be official until VFT can put a tidy business plan on Pryor's desk.

Pryor asked that I mention that Mayor Cory Booker's State of the City address in early February had as a centerpiece the goal of making fresh food more readily available to the people of Newark.  So all the dominoes seem lined up. 

Barring any unexpected set-backs from VFT, LLC, and assuming that Newark stays true to its word, which we fully believe it will, the first ever vertical farm as Dr. Despommier and his team have envisioned it over the years, will be built on a quiet block overlooking the Passaic River in Brick City.

Where should we put the next one?


  1. This is great, Jake! Can't wait to hear more about it.

  2. Awesome - issue also for

    Actually the GreenerCity can happen anywhere. It is merely the costs, rather the rethinking of present mental models;-)

  3. As a Plant Physiologist I would like to associate with such a practical and fascinating field of future farming.GL Bansal

  4. As a Plant Physiologist I would like to associate with such a practical and fascinating field of future farming.GLB