The city’s sustainability committee has teamed up with several local partners to transform the third floor of a vacant building downtown into a vertical farm. Glens Falls was awarded just over $96,000 in grant money from the Empire State Development Corp. to take emerging technologies and integrate them into public services.
With the money, the city’s economic development director, Jeff Flagg, is working with organizations such as National Grid and Re-Nuble to build the indoor farm, which he hopes will contribute to economic recovery. The vertical farm was devised based on a “box in a box” concept. The team constructed a box-like structure in the vacant space’s four walls out of polyvinyl and polyvinyl chloride pipes. Flagg said the building would have needed a major facelift before the 2,000-square-foot room could be used residentially or commercially, so the farm temporarily filled the space for the landlord.
“The idea is that it could be a commercial venture once the pilot is over. We're hoping that this will be replicable and scalable,” Flagg explained. “What we really want to figure out now is, can this be a second economically viable project that can create some value for the community.”
The group aims to grow a variety of greens that it can sell to restaurants and residents to combat supply chain issues that have impeded their access to certain ingredients. Flagg emphasized they’re not trying to compete with farms in the area but instead complement them.
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