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US(AZ): Civic Farms to break ground on 20,000 sq. ft. vertical farm at Biosphere 2

Vegetables can soon be reaped again form the Biosphere 2 complex of the University or Arizona. Tomorrow, on Earth Day, Civic Farms will break ground for a  new 20,000 sq. ft. vertical farm inside Biosphere 2ís West Lung.

Civic Farms has come to an agreement with the University of Arizona to lease the cavernous space for a nominal fee of $15,000 a year. The new vertical farming operation has announced that it will invest more than $1 million in the facility and dedicate $250,000 over five years to hire student researchers in conjunction with the UAís Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.

The brain behind the project is Paul Hardej, Illumitex' VP of Turnkey Horticulture Lighting Solutions and former co-founder of the recently dissolved indoor grow op FarmedHere. Hardej unraveled his new plans this week in an article on "Half the 20,000-square-foot space to be devoted to production, with areas given over to research and scientific education. A variety of leafy greens and herbs such as kale, arugula, lettuce and basil will be packaged and sold to customers in Tucson and Phoenix"

In the article on, Hardej furthermore said that he recognizes the irony of growing food in artificial light at the giant Biosphere 2 greenhouse. He is convinced, however, that growing plants with artificial lighting can become as economical as growing them in sunlight. "[Indoor] Farming is much more productive and much more predictable than in a greenhouse [...] A vertical farm can be 20 to 100 times more productive. The overall direction globally is indoors".

The Civic Farms groundbreaking ceremony will take place tomorrow the special Earth Day event at Biosphere 2.

Click here for the complete article on, which also features CEAC's Gene Giacomelli and Murat Kacira.

Publication date: 4/21/2017



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