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A cold ski town is building one of the first vertical farms in the world

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I have a soft spot for Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s a beautiful town and, out of all the places I’ve snowboarded, it’s easily my favorite.

That’s why I was excited to learn that Jackson is currently building one of the first vertical farms in the world (and in a cold ski town at that). Using a vacant site in the middle of town, a new venture called Vertical Harvest is building a three storey, 13,500 square foot hydroponic greenhouse. It’s being done as a public/private partnership.

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The business will operate year round and supply fresh produce to the local community – replacing food that was previously being shipped in from Mexico and California. 

The site itself is 1/10 of an acre, but it’s expected to have the same output as a 5 acre piece of land using conventional agriculture methods. 95% of their product is already committed through pre-purchase agreements. 

Here are some of the businesses that have jumped onboard:

  • Rendezvous Bistro
  • Il Villaggio Osteria
  • Q Roadhouse
  • The Kitchen
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s five restaurants
  • Snake River Brewery
  • St. John’s Medical Center’s Refuge Grill

What makes this project even more exciting is their commitment to employing members of the local community with disabilities. This is apparently a growing concern in Jackson, and so Vertical Harvest will be doing their part to address that.

If you’d like to learn about the design of the facility, check out this article by Fast Company. The team was was very methodical in ensuring that this facility would consume less energy than the status quo of shipping in food from out of state.

The go-live date is this fall (2015). I should probably plan another trip to Jackson.

Images from Vertical Harvest

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