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US (DE): Plans for vertical farm take root in NE Wilmington

Second Chances Farm has entered into a Letter of Intent to purchase a 50,000-square-foot warehouse at 3030 Bowers St. in Northeast Wilmington and plans to open its first vertical farm by this fall if everything falls into place.

The goal is to help state or federal inmates from Delaware obtain jobs – and futures as entrepreneurs – after they’re released, and to reduce the high rates of recidivism in a city where, on average, about 100 men and women are released from Delaware prisons every month to three Wilmington ZIP codes (19801, 19802, and 19805),” founder Ajit George told the Delaware Business Times in February.

George plans to raise $2.5 million to fund the purchase of the former Opportunity Center building that borders the Riverside neighborhood and set up the first 10,000-square-foot farm. The Opportunity Center, owned by ServiceSource Delaware, provided workshops for disabled people at the location before relocating earlier this year to New Castle.

The first step is asking the Wilmington City Council to amend the zoning code to allow for “Indoor Commercial Horticultural Operations.” George says he is on an accelerated timetable and hopes to have approval by the end of July. The City Planning Commission is holding a public hearing tonight to get public comment and City Council will meet on the topic on Thursday and schedule an additional public hearing before voting on the measure.

Read more at the Delaware Business Times (Alex Vuocolo)

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