US (NJ): Urban farming trend growing in New Jersey, funding bill revived

In New Jersey's biggest city, a large vertical farm sits inside a 70,000-square-foot facility. It produces nearly two million pounds of leafy greens and other healthy veggies per year, and its wares can be found at major retailers like ShopRite, Whole Foods, FreshDirect, and AmazonFresh.

This setup, seen at AeroFarms' flagship facility in Newark, is a prime example of the potential behind "urban farming," which can include community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic/aquaponic facilities, and vertical production.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other urban farm success stories that are changing the way people think about food production in the Garden State. The trend has caught the eye of several state lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, who represents Newark, East Newark, and Harrison in the 29th legislative district.

Earlier this year, Ruiz and her Democratic peer, Sen. Nellie Pou (district 35), introduced S-1003, a bill that would create an "urban farming grant and loan program" in New Jersey. The grant money could be put to work in several ways.

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