A new idea out of Durham, North Carolina, may make locally grown produce more commercially viable than ever before by taking out long-distance distribution and heavy agricultural inputs. Called the Farmery, the new concept is a mixture between farm and store—a 7,000-square-foot aquaponic powerhouse, to be precise—where customers will be able to pick all the fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs they want. The Farmery’s inventor, Ben Greene, considers himself an agricultural DC, “taking all these disparate components and remixing them.”
What’s the Big Idea?
By removing the millions of miles of transport and endless refrigeration required for commercial produce, Greene has created an original infrastructure for urban growing: “The Farmery is made up of stacked shipping containers. On the outside are big bags of straw, for breeding mushrooms. On the inside are reversible growing panels for strawberries, greens, and lettuce. Customers pick produce until the wall is clear, then the panels are turned, making the other side available. When that’s finished, more panels come down from upstairs. And so on.” Greene, along with filmmaker friend Russell Hawkins, recently won the Smithsonian’s In Motion Video Contest.