Camden Will House The World's Largest Indoor Farm, Thanks To State Tax Breaks

Camden Will House The World's Largest Indoor Farm, Thanks To State Tax Breaks

Camden Will House The World's Largest Indoor Farm, Thanks To State Tax Breaks

Updated on May 16, 2017 at 9:26 AM Posted on May 16, 2017 at 7:45 AM

 

By Amanda Hoover

For NJ.com

CAMDEN -- The world's largest indoor farm is expected to open its doors in Camden next year, thanks to a tax break from the state. 

Aerofarms LLC, a Newark-headquartered company that builds sustainable, efficient farms around the globe, plans to open its 10th facility, a 78,000-square-foot vertical farm, at 1535 Broadway in Camden.

The addition comes after the state Economic Development Authority announced Thursday that Aerofarms will receive $11.14 million in tax incentives over 10 years to build the farm in Camden. The facility is expected to create 56 new jobs in the area, according to documents from the agency. 

That makes Aerofarms just one of several companies, including Subaru and Holtec, that have received incentives to relocate to the city as authorities look for ways to revitalize the area. 

"We probably would not have made the move to Camden -- at least not now -- without the [Grow New Jersey] tax grant," David Rosenberg, the company's founder and CEO, told Philly.com.

Aerofarm's vertical spaces and aeroponics growing technologies allow them to grow produce efficiently, using up to 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture methods while still seeing yields that are 130 times higher per square foot each year, according to the company's site. The hydroponic method uses a mist to provide plants with nutrients and water they need to grow in the smaller urban spaces. 

$30M 'vertical farm' to bring jobs to Newark, fresh greens to N.J., developers say

But starting and maintaining the spaces often proves pricey. Aerofarms has yet to make a profit, and relies on investors, including Goldman Sachs and Prudential, to continue its operations. Rosenberg told The Wall Street Journal that he believes the Newark farm, which boasts 70,000 square feet of growing space, will help the company turn that corner in coming months.  

The farms, which supply produce to stores from Delaware to Connecticut, will become increasingly important as urban areas become more dense and the population continues to grow, urban farming advocates say. Rosenberg told The Wall Street Journal he hopes to see the farms in cities around the world as the company expands. 

But for now, New Jersey officials are glad to see the future of farming take off across the state. 

"By 2050 there will be 9 billion people who need to eat every day," Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno said during the 2015 groundbreaking of the Newark farm. "And the solution is right here on the property you're standing on." 

Amanda Hoover can be reached at ahoover@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @amahoover. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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