Greenhouse Grown: The Future of Local Produce?

It’s pretty hard to dislike greenhouses. Greenhouses are excellent for housing delicate seedlings until they become big, hearty, healthy plants ready for the earth. And greenhouses have an ability to hold a consistent temperature in order to make growing year round — even in regions that get quite cold – possible! It’s hard to imagine greenhouses being any more awesome. Well… I know it’s hard to believe (hold on to your hats), but a Portland, Oregon startup has found a way to make greenhouses more stellar.

Fresh Air Farms, a Portland-based greenhouse startup, aims to “revolutionize” vegetable and fruit production. The company wants to help local products and produce get distributed throughout the year. The business’ large-scale greenhouses will contain vine-ripened produce that’s free of chemicals and available in any type of climate.

Gerry Snell, Fresh Air Farms founder and president, said that the company’s greenhouses, when utilized to their full capacity, can grow nearly 56,000 pounds of produce every day. The company plans to deliver to local grocery stores within 24 hours of when the lush, local produce is harvested. The company is projected to earn up to $40 million every year and is expected to begin delivering to Portland area grocery stores next year.

Greenhouse growing techniques

Fresh Air Farms’ greenhouses utilize hydroponics. The hydroponic-growing method allows plantings to be easily raised sans chemicals. The growing method, in general, is quite sustainable, too. It doesn’t add to farmland depletion and is an extremely water-efficient way to raise greens.

Keeping it local

According to Snell, it often takes delivery companies up to seven to 10 days to transport produce from point A to point B. He said that the city of Portland imports almost 50 percent of its produce in the summer, and nearly 100 percent in the winter.

The greenhouse company plans to add at least 275 jobs to the Portland area over the next ten years.


Startup: Sustainable greenhouses hope to provide year-round produce, 275 jobs,” Sustainable Business Oregon

Image: stevendepolo