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Why Virginia is growing more food in greenhouses

Farming is Virginia’s top industry – generating $70 billion a year and providing jobs for 334,000 people. Winter used to be a quiet time for farmers in the Commonwealth, but more of them are now growing crops inside, year round.

When John McMahon left his job in corporate sales to grow leafy greens in rural Virginia, he was going back to his roots. He’d grown up on a farm and missed life on the land.

“My dad took me out of first grade to plow a field to plant corn, and it was the happiest day of my life, and it’s pretty funny how now – 30 years later – I’m back farming. I fought the universe, but it pulled me back.”

But his farm is very different from his father’s. Located south of Charlottesville, Schuyler Greens is a giant greenhouse where crops grow on rafts atop 35,000 gallons of water and nutrients, floating about 50 yards from planting to harvest.

“Our time horizon from seedling to harvest is about 21 days,” he says.

Read more at WVTF (Sandy Hausman)


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