Is That a Farm on Your Roof or an Alien Colony? By Charity Kihlstadius

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If you look at the top of this building, you may wonder what is up there?
The answer is the future of produce.

Have you ever bitten into a fresh tomato only to b disappointed at the total lack of flavor? So have I. The reason for this is that most produce is not created for flavor but for transportation. Most of the produce we buy in supermarkets and feed our family’s were grown more than a thousand miles away. That means one little tomato has been bouncing around in the back of the truck for quite a while before it reaches the supermarket. And once there, it often sits in a box until placed on a shelf and selected by one of us. All this traveling means farmers need to think of ways to keep that tomato fresh long enough for you to get it home. The end result is farmers often focusing on hardiness over tastiness.

Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with the crazy rooftop. The answer is BrightFarms. BrightFarms is a revolutionary new way to grow produce. By utilizing the wasted space on the rooftops of supermarkets to create sustainable greenhouse farms, BrightFarms has found a way to offer delicious produce at affordable prices, not only for supermarkets, but for you and I as well. The produce grown in these rooftop greenhouses is fresher, tastier, safer along with more affordable and sustainable. Fresher means that the produce will actually have more nutrients in it (healthier) and last longer. Not only will it last longer in the store (saving the supermarkets money on wasted produce), but it will also last longer once you get it home.  Cutting out the need for transporting the produce also means cutting out wasted time and money spent on fuel and labor used to trek it across the country. The farms also help provide jobs by employing local farmers to care for the crops. 

The greenhouse farms are set up at or near the store and are financed, designed, built and operated by BrightFarms. The supermarkets then contract to purchase the produce for a set time (5-10 years). BrightFarms guarantees that the cost of the produce will never exceed market cost. It could be a win-win scenario!

Think about this, the next tomato you purchase could be grown right
above where you buy it by someone who shops at the same
store and buys the same tomatoes. Just that might be worth it.

BrightFarms recently announced partnership with Cub Foods in St. Paul, MN. The greenhouse should be open sometime this year.

Author: Charity Kihlstadius

1 thought on “Is That a Farm on Your Roof or an Alien Colony? By Charity Kihlstadius

  1. Charity, This is so exciting! I’ve never heard of BrightFarms, but what an awesome idea. I’ve always loved when urban buildings create green spaces on their roofs. (I wish more would!) And for BrightFarms to bring the green space concept to the next level by creating local, sustainable crops on top of grocery stores. I don’t usually shop at Cub and am not very close to the one on Pennsylvania Av in St. Paul, but I may need to make it a point to shop over there just so I can support the concept!

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