BrightFarms, New York, in partnership with Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc., a Kenosha, Wis.-based division of Kroger, and Bright Farms’ primary customer, announced plans to build a hydroponic greenhouse in Rochelle, Ill. BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse will grow over 1 million pounds of the freshest salad greens, herbs and tomatoes per year for Mariano's Chicagoland stores.
A model for the future of local, low-impact farming, the BrightFarms Chicagoland Greenhouse is said to be the most productive farm in the Chicagoland market, the most sustainable source of year-round baby greens and tomatoes in all of Illinois and among the most productive salad greens farms, per square foot, in the world. It will create permanent green collar jobs, significantly reduce food miles and improve the environmental impact of the food supply chain.
The 160,000-square-foot greenhouse will encompass a 120,000-square-foot greenhouse farm for lettuce and a 25,000-square-foot greenhouse farm for tomatoes. It will use 80% less water, 90% less land and 95% less shipping fuel than conventional produce companies. Plus, all produce will be pesticide-free.
The BrightFarms Greenhouse Farm is currently exploring the use of waste heat and CO2 from an adjacent ethanol waste plant, using the waste heat to keep the plants and greenhouse warm in the winter—thus omitting the need for harmful fossil fuels—and the CO2 to enrich produce growth and development.
The greenhouse will grow Spring Mix, Baby Arugula, Baby Kale, Baby Spinach, Basil and Tomatoes.