Above Farmacy Restobar on Ridge Street is an indoor farming operation that aims to provide locally grown herbs to local businesses and farmers markets. The Urban Agriculture Pilot Program is nearing the status of being fully operational with the installation of a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system, according to city Economic Development Director Jeff Flagg. There is a potential for the operation to begin in January.

“It’s been about two and a half years since we received a small grant from the city made possible by the Empire State Development Smart Cities Innovation Partnership,” he said. The partnership has funded the program with equipment such as a 400-square-foot box made of hard plastic and proper ventilation for the plants. The $97,600 grant was given to the project in 2020. 

Tony DeFazio, of Sustainable PR and a consultant for the program, said the idea of the pilot program is to determine how commercially viable indoor farms can be in urban populations.
“It helps solve two things. One, it provides a source of fresh and organic produce that can be close to and in an urban center so local restaurants, farmers markets, and others can benefit from what is grown here,” he said. “Number two, a lot of restaurants have been impacted by the pandemic through supply chain problems. So, they are desperately in need of a local source.”

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