Amorette Farms is an indoor, vertical farm that grows non-GMO microgreens – the shoots of salad greens like arugula – using controlled environment agriculture. Since launching this spring, the company is already serving about a dozen commercial clients, said its founder, Devyn Rothbrust.
“It’s introducing a new type of agriculture into an area that’s predominantly traditional agriculture,” Rothbust says. “For me right now, it’s getting my brand out there to get people to know who I am, what I’m doing and that this is in the area now.”
After graduating from Kent State University Salem in 2016, Rothbrust worked as a senior researcher in the field for a few years. The indoor, vertical farm trend is something that’s very popular in Europe and Japan and is “something that’s on the move elsewhere in the United States,” he says. Currently, AeroFarms in New Jersey is the big name in the industry, he adds.
With the vast inventory of vacant industrial space in the five-county region, the area is ripe for this type of agriculture, Rothbrust says. Empty factories and abandoned buildings are “the types of things that vertical farmers can fit into perfectly,” he says, because farmers can control the light levels, temperature and air.
And with urban areas in the Mahoning Valley building back up, it’s the right time to make a go of it in his hometown of Salem, he says.