A shipping container. A sliver of land along a rail line. Two entrepreneurs with a plan to grow food year-round.
Derek Panzer and Richard Cane are hatching a plan to make use of a vacant piece of property by producing vegetables in a hydroponic, vertical garden inside a steel box.
It’ll lay the foundation to grow and harvest through all four seasons, with much of the typical work that comes with gardening done remotely thanks to a “smart” system that links the shipping container to the internet. Two rebuilt containers are already on the way from Massachusetts.
“Our containers are set to arrive in about a month. If all goes well, our first crop will be ready to harvest by the end of August,” Panzer said, though they may have to start growing elsewhere while their application moves through city hall.
The pair, investors in the unusual gardening venture, are eyeing the Grove agri-business hub at the Western Fair District or 100 Kellogg Lane, the business and entertainment facility, as initial interim sites while they line up the necessary approvals to start growing at 512 McCormick Blvd.
Fleming, who’s been helping the pair with their application, said it would make great use of the “orphaned” site at the end of McCormick Boulevard. It’s also the kind of urban agriculture effort politicians are in the midst of sizing up.
“This project can set a great example for growing food in urban areas and contribute to London’s role as a food city,” Fleming said.
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