AURORA (KDVR) — A Florida-based vertical farming company called Kalera just opened the largest vertical farm in Colorado.
It looks like something out of a James Bond movie. But it is not. “This is vertical farming,” said Aric Nissen, the chief marketing officer for Kalera. “Vertical farming is growing food up in stacks.”
Five acres of farmland, all in an 80,000-square-foot industrial building in Aurora.
“We grow five types of lettuce here, from Romaine and butter and frisée and red oak, and we also grow microgreens and herbs,” Nissen said.
It’s all under specially designed LED lights.
“The red and the blue help the plants grow best. The combination of those two is this really cool magenta color,” Nissen said.
No soil, no pesticides, no bugs, and Nissen said there are 13 growing seasons annually at Kalera versus one at a conventional farm.
“A conventional farm in the field, you plant in the spring and you pull it out in the late summer,” Nissen said.
The technology required for such a facility, some of it proprietary, requires substantial capital to create.
“These are not cheap to put together. I would estimate, depending on the size, about $10 million,” Nissen said.
Water is a precious commodity in Colorado and Nissen said they only use 5% of what is normally used for conventional farming.
On the outside, the vertical farm looks like your average, giant warehouse. On the inside, Nissen said, is the future of farming.