America's First Vegan-Certified Vertical Farm Leaps Into the Future of Agriculture

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

In this episode of “Sustain,” we will learn how a former venture capitalist helped build Philadelphia’s first vertical farm, Metropolis Farms.

“I became obsessed with the idea that we could feed ourselves within cities. It started out as a hobby, became an obsession…” says Jack Griffin, president of Metropolis Farms, the first vegan-certified farm of America.

Metropolis Farms prides itself in growing over two million pounds of nutritious produce — without the need for harsh chemicals or animal products. On top of that, the farm uses far less space per square feet at a cost that is less than $2 billion to build.

The company has its own proprietary technology, which helps grow food more effectively and at a higher quality than conventional and organic farms can achieve. Through indoor vertical farming, the produce is not vulnerable to the weather, bugs, heavy metals, blight, and bacterial contaminations that are present in today’s outdoor agriculture.

At a recent TEDx talk event in Wilmington, N.C., Griffin explained “...the technology is accessible to anyone. It’s easy to use, cheap to build, and it’s profitable… For things to be sustainable, it has to be profitable!”

Metropolis Farms has been working closely with the city government of Philadelphia to help revitalize its economy through the creation of jobs and to achieve the shared vision of ending hunger.

“Let’s be honest! Some people don’t want hunger to end… They don’t, because they have a vested interest in the current system… The best way to win that struggle is to make sure that everyone has the technology,” Griffin added.

Metropolis Farms is currently building the world’s first solar-powered vertical farm which will be 100 percent energy-efficient and a step towards reducing its carbon footprint. A rainwater recapturing system is also built in, something many around the world have been looking into, but it  hadn’t been done. This farm is expected to be already growing crops by late fall 2016.

If everything goes according to plan and the initiative continues to get the support it has been fortunate to receive, Philadelphia is set to become the first vertical farm city in the world.