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.