Vertical greenhouse to grow 2M pounds of produce in Maine

Nona Yehia is an architect by trade. Like all creatives dream, she's found her life's calling. On the heels of the 2008 recession, and with local food and real estate scarce in mountainous Jackson, Wyoming, Yehia gathered a team and put her skills to use. "Vertical Harvest, really, came out of my belief that architecture can be a vehicle for change," Yehia said.

After much planning and building, since 2016, Vertical Harvest has been growing fresh produce out of a three-story, glass-encased greenhouse in the middle of the town, producing 100,000 pounds of vegetables each year for the region. When Yehia looked to expand her vertical greenhouse idea, the first place her team chose was Westbrook. Why?

"Maine and Wyoming both enjoy a long winter, and during that long winter, we're eating food that has been shipped in, right?" she posed. "And so, that food is not at the peak of its nutritional or taste value. That's something, I think, these food systems contribute to successful, sustainable communities." Maine and Wyoming share a similar climate and need for locally-sourced food year-round. 

Yehia flew in to tour the Westbrook construction site as August turned to September. When construction is completed in the fall of 2023, Westbrook's facility will be larger than Jackson's — much larger. 
The glass and steel structure is, technically, three stories, but Yehia said it would stand as tall as a traditional six-story building. She said it will produce two million pounds of food each year and will be available in grocery stores and restaurants within 150 miles of the facility.

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