On a cold, blustery day while bare tree branches sway in the winter wind, vibrant, leafy salad greens packed with nutrition and bursting with flavor are flourishing at FreshBox Farms, an indoor vertical farm — where it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside — in Millis, Massachusetts, about 30 miles southwest of Boston.
With the world’s growing population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sees indoor vertical farms — which can operate year-round — as having potential in addressing food security. In a vertical farm, crops are grown in vertically stacked layers to save space and in a climate-controlled system to optimize growing conditions.
FreshBox Farms, which has been operating since 2015, joins a growing number of indoor vertical farms that have been sprouting up in recent years and spanning the country. These include 80 Acres Farm in Cincinnati, which claims to be the world’s first fully automated indoor farm, all the way to the West Coast, where kale, tatsoi, beet leaves, arugula and mizuna greens thrive at the California-based Plenty.