Health conscious eaters have spurred a revitalized interest in where and how food is grown. Customers want to know more about controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and how it works. There is no better time to invest in a greenhouse and here are some of the reasons why.
- Greenhouses are being linked to urban revitalization. Detroit was once littered with vacant buildings and a notorious national reputation for its crumbling infrastructure and disappearing public services. As the image of the Motor City, and all of Michigan, gradually turns around, greenhouse growers have been gobbling up empty lots and vacant buildings, bringing resurgent greenness to the city’s grey landscape. Now CEA is being partially credited for contributing to the city’s turnaround and, as a result, is getting tons of press. Just look at this article from EfficientGov about a project that utilizes more than 35 acres of city land, or this one from the Detroit News highlighting the use of Detroit’s vacant buildings, or this one from Model D Media, which shows how Mastronardi Produce can provide year-round fresh and locally-grown produce to the Midwest.
- CEA is being recognized for its work to solve social problems. Vertical Harvest, a greenhouse in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is offering fair wages and consistent, meaningful jobs to workers with disabilities. The operation is even involved in a documentary to cover its first year in business. Learn more about the Vertical Harvest mission and watch the documentary trailor by clicking here.
- Farmers markets have exploded in popularity. The USDA says there are 180 percent more markets in the U.S. than there was in 2006. Data collected by the agency also shows that farms that are selling produce at these markets are far more likely to survive and thrive. Why? Well, customers at these markets want to know the story of their fruits and vegetables, they want to know how far those tomatoes travelled to be there, how they were grown and why they’re so tasty late in the season. For an enterprising greenhouse owner, it’s the perfect opportunity to speak to a customer and develop a lasting relationship. It’s also the perfect chance to build a customer base that will be around throughout the season.
- Local food is a staple of trendy restaurants. Look at the hottest eatery near you. Chances are they’re advertising their farm-to-table ethos. For most chefs, getting local produce is a prerequisite for any menu. Now think about the climate in more than half the country. New York City gets cold, really cold in the winter. Being able to provide staple crops to chefs throughout much of the year by growing indoors is another way to develop a loyal customer base.
- CEA is having a moment in the sun (so to speak). As traditional agriculture gets press for its run of struggles (such as California’s drought), the media has increasingly looked for alternative production methods to trumpet. No method has gotten more attention than CEAs. The New York Times wrote about an underground CEA business in Tribeca this month, Newsweek wrote about solar energy-based greenhouses, CNN wrote about artificial intelligence in CEA and that’s just the beginning.