Elite of Chicago will have indoor grown organics

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The local foods movement thinks it has accomplished a tremendous feat that will prove how food crops can be grown indoors year round in a cold winter climate area of the country.

Slightly more than a year after the City of Chicago amended zoning codes to allow local urban agriculture, the city has moved to the “forefront of urban center food production by licensing Chicago’s first indoor (vertical) farm company, SkyyGreens Aquaponics,” it was announced this week.

SkyyGreens Aquaponics became the first and, at present, only licensed indoor farm in Chicago with blessings from the mayor and others who see this as creating new jobs while meeting the demand for fresh local organic foods year round.

SkyyGreens’ founders claim to have researched and tested best practices for growing produce indoors for the past 12 months. “The team also experimented with lighting technology and various aquaponic/hydroponic methods to determine the optimal indoor environment to grow produce,” the company noted. It also reported that tasting sessions of produce grown under the system to be used indoors had chefs and others begging for more such produce.

“So, the SkyyGreens team next tackled the business problem. Can an indoor farm startup become a scalable, profitable enterprise? SkyyGreens put their business assumptions to the test this past summer in the startup capital of the world, Silicon Valley, Calif. SkyyGreens presented their business model to a group of venture capitalists and ‘super’ angel investors as part of a business plan competition where SkyyGreens tied for first place. This gave the SkyyGreens team additional confidence that their indoor farm was ready for the market,” according to the company announcement.

Now the goal of economically and profitably providing organic produce in a major northern climate city is ready to be tested. Much of the success naturally has to come from establishing a price point premium that buyers will pay. These indoor grown crops will be for the elite with disposable income to pay higher prices for food.

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Texas  |  September, 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM

To finish this article by stating that these crops "will be for the elite" is not only inaccurate but presumptive at best. Clearly the author knows little if anything about our country's food supply and the nutritional value of alternative crops like iceberg lettuce. Chances are good that there is more nutritional value per dollar from a head of lettuce grown here than a head of iceberg from the grocery store. Also, these crops, like all staple foods, can qualify for food stamps and some consumers who are not "the elite" (whatever that actually means, sounds like the author has been spending too much time camped out on Wall Street) value clean and healthy food too. I would suggest in the future considering the value of operations like this in terms of efficiency, food safety and domestic food production before copying a press release and then just adding an unsubstantiated political opinion at the end which does more to discredit 'AG Professional' than anything.

Kate Flannery    
Valparaiso, IN  |  October, 02, 2012 at 01:35 PM

Indoor hydroponic/aquaponic farming product has proven to be a viable business. Our company is already selling the produce from our vertical farm to Valparaiso University and area restaurants.

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