Good things are growing in Winchester these days. And it feels a bit sci-fi. If you frequent downtown, you might have noticed what looks like two shipping containers sitting on a gravel lot at 1001 S. Loudoun St. During the past few weeks, a transformation has been unfolding inside the structures. John and Ann, Fox of Fox Urban Farms, have been planting the seeds to get Winchester’s first urban hydroponic farm up and running.
Fling open the doors of one of the colorful containers (local muralist Sarah Gallahan recently painted the exterior), and you’ll be treated to a light show that rivals any spaceship. What you’ve entered is not a shipping container at all. It’s a self-contained hydroponic farming unit, classified as an industrial building in the world of zoning. Bright lights in a rainbow of colors shine on the growing plants as a computerized system monitors all aspects of the container farm.
The two units at Fox Urban Farms have heating and cooling and are fully insulated. The units are equipped with all of the electrical and plumbing features necessary to provide light and water for a hydroponic farm capable of rendering the same output as 5 acres of traditional farmland. LED lights shine on the growing plants as a computerized system monitors all aspects of the container farm day and night.
“The cool thing is when we look outside, and the weather is gross, we are growing in here, producing fantastic products for 365 days a year for the community,” John says.
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