Vertical Harvest will be the first of its kind: A three story vertical farm built on an infill piece of land that will grow fresh, local produce in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, extending its four month growing season to all year round. What makes this project truly unique is that we will develop an innovative hydroponic growing system that can be used in vertical greenhouses of all configurations. This innovative mechanism will maximize efficiency by dramatically increasing the amount of produce that can be grown in the greenhouse and will also use less energy to grow produce. In addition, this growing carousel is also specifically designed to provide a safe and meaningful work environment for adults with developmental disabilities, the employee base of Vertical Harvest. With this technology, Vertical Harvest will wrap agricultural, architectural and social innovation into one project that will be a critical milestone in urban agriculture.
We have small town values, with a global outlook
VHJH evolved out of a town's need for fresh local produce, all year long. Disturbed by the cost of produce importation, both real and environmental, co-founders Nona Yehia and Penny McBride looked for a solution. An architect and sustainability consultant respectively, they used their backgrounds and expertise to put together complete plans for a three-story, hydroponic vertical greenhouse that will grow competitively priced, fresh, local produce all year long. They have worked for three years, with an incredible team, to come up with a solution for Jackson Hole's cold climate that also responds to a vital community need.
The vertical growing carousels in VHJH are integral to this solution's success. Not only will the carouses have a interesting architectural effect as they span two floors of the building, but they facilitate the growing plants to get an equal amount of natural and artificial lighting as they are rotated along the system which ultimately cuts down energy usage in the building. This system will also bring the the growing trays directly the the employee for seeding and harvesting, in this case, employees with developmental disabilities. In this sense, this simple system solves multiple problems of a vertical greenhouse in one fell swoop.
What is vertical farming?
A variety of structures can qualify as a vertical farms, but conceptually they are multi-story agricultural centers that go up instead of out. Hydroponics is a commonly employed form of growing that is highly productive, environmentally friendly and space efficient means of farming which can generate growth 30% faster, using 90% less water and 100% less pesticides than traditional in-ground farming. It is also is the method of growing we will use in VHJH. What makes our project unique is that we have innovated a hydroponic carousel growing system that will allow Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole to transform a 30' x 150' plot of land and turn it into the equivalent growing area of 23 acres of traditional farmland. Through this simple innovation, we will grow tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, lettuce, micro-greens and a rotation of other crops, extending Jackson's 4 month growing season to 365 days a year.
Why go vertical?
Fact: Statistics from the UN predict that the world population will increase by 3 billion people over the next 40 years. Feeding those extra mouths will requires a 70% increase in food product, but 80% of the world's arable land is already in use. This presents a massive GLOBAL problem. The possible solution? Vertical farming. (www.economist.com/node/17647627)
Vertical Greenhouses are being built around the world, there is one in Singapore, and one under construction in Sweden, but not none of these projects has the community value that Vertical Harvest intends to provide.
As our project evolved, it became bigger than Jackson Hole. The Discovery Channel and Inhabitat praised the innovation, as well as the cause, bringing national attention to Vertical Harvest. Support from across the country poured in, and a replicable business plan was developed to allow other communities the chance to have their own.
When VHJH successfully operates in Jackson Hole, WY the implications are immense. A recent article written about the project says it all: "In the meantime, the small town of Jackson Hole may solve its own problem of the lack of arable land and a very short growing season. And if its relatively small Vertical Harvest project works out, this success will be remembered as a critical milestone in urban agriculture."
Why we need your help...
Vertical Harvest is a project that speaks to people who are passionate about where their food comes from, about creating an innovative employment model, and about how architecture can strive to be more than just a building.
Vertical Harvest has come a long way with help from the direct community it will serve, we have raised over $800,000. But we still have a critical final funding hurdle. Via Kickstarter, we will try and raise $30,000 in 40 days to cover the construction costs of our growing carousels.
We are working to provide a better future for all of us, be a part of it today!
Risks and challenges
Our vertical greenhouse will cost $2.35M to build according to a construction cost estimate that is based on real plans for the greenhouse. We know, that is a big number, but we have developed a good roadmap to get there. We are on track to apply for a Wyoming State Grant next year for $1.5M.
We need to raise the difference in this amount to get the full grant.
To date, we have raised $815,000 though multiple venues. The $30,000 we raise in 45 days on kickstarter will cover the construction costs of the growing carousels and cover the difference we need get us to our goal. Of course ,whatever we raise in addition to this amount will make the chance of our getting the $1.5M even stronger!
We have a great team of engineers and dedicated people who have developed the know how to get this innovative design built. We have worked for three years to get this far. We need your help to get over our final hurdle.
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