Urban farming brings jobs, fresh produce to Newark

Aerofarms in Newark brings fresh produce and new jobs to the Brick City.

Aerofarms in Newark brings fresh produce and new jobs to the Brick City. (4/3/15)

NEWARK - Although there are many farms throughout New Jersey, one may be surprised to find out there is a large one in the city of Newark.

Aerofarms is a brand new business run out of a converted nightclub. The urban farm is bringing 80 new jobs to the “Brick City.”

“This project is the exact model for economic development for Newark,” says Drew Curtis of the Ironbound Community Corporation.

Aeroponic farming creates a mist under the plant so that moisture and nutrients are placed directly into the roots.  The method doesn't even use soil. Instead, a water-soaked cloth anchors the plants.

The method is also a lot quicker. Normal farming may only produce three crops in a growing season. With the Aeroponic method, 23 crops can be produced. 

"Our goal is very much international and this is how you have distributive farming. Bringing the farm to where the consumer is,” says Marc Oshima, co-founder of Aerofarms.

Fifty of the farm’s 80 employees are Newark residents.

"It's beneficial for my city because it's clean, you can pick it off right now and eat it yourself and it's pesticide free,” says David Catarino, an Aerofarms worker.

The Aerofarms Research and Development lab in Newark is over capacity and over demand. Later this year, they're opening a new 80,000 square foot facility in an old factory in the city's Ironbound.

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