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New Buffalo farm doesn't need dirt, sun, or rain

Green Spirit Farms expands drought-proof indoor vertical organic growing

May 01, 2013|By Ted Land (tland@wsbt.com), Click here to friend Ted on Facebook | WSBT-TV
  • Green Spirit Farms, in New Buffalo, uses rotary planters to grow spinach, basil, kale, and other greens.
WSBT/Ted Land

Those who live off the land do so at nature's mercy and after a disastrous drought, farming, for some, is a bleak business.

But what if the weather didn't matter?

Inside a New Buffalo warehouse, growers couldn't care less if it's cloudy, sunny, rainy, or dry.

On this farm it doesn't make a difference.

And you won't find a grain of dirt or any pesticides.

“Our primary crops are leafy greens and that would be 4 or 5 different types of lettuces, spinach, kale, and basil,” said Milan Kluko, President of the year-and-a-half old Green Spirit Farms.

The whole farm revolves around a two-storey stack of cylindrical planters which slowly rotate, constantly dipping plants into water laced with nutrients.

According to Kluko, the gentle movement speeds growth. The design saves water and space.

Workers harvest crops, like basil, almost daily, and even that isn't enough to meet demand.

“Each week right now we're adding about 5,000 plants, so what we'll have in this space at the end of the month will be the equivalent to 100 acres of farmland in about 7,000 square feet,” said Kluko.

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On top of that, Green Spirit Farms runs organic vertical farms in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They even served ther lettuce and tomatoes at the Summer Olympics.

Kluko hopes investors in other cities will take interest and realize what they can do with an empty building.

“We take out the business risk, but we're also better for ecosystem performance,” he said.

With 4 full-time employees, Green Spirit Farms is still a pretty small operation, but they're growing.

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