Late on a Friday afternoon in September, Desmond Hayes was putting the finishing touches on a paint job of the interior walls of his new hydroponic vertical farm facility while simultaneously juggling business calls. From painting to developing partnerships with local business owners to handling all necessary paperwork, Hayes’ entrepreneurial spirit is driving the launch of Geo Greens LLC (previously named Geoponica Greens) in mid-November in Hamilton’s Mill One building, located just off Nottingham Way in Hamilton Township.
Hayes is involved in virtually every aspect of getting his new 2,000-square-foot farm up and running. He attributes his faith in himself and his strong convictions about sustainability and ending hunger to getting him to this point. “It’s a risk and a leap of faith, and if you trust in what you are capable of doing, you will succeed,” he explains, noting he has experience growing in the hydroponics industry for four years now.
New Jersey is not new to the hydroponics trend. Two of the largest hydroponics facilities are located in northern New Jersey. Robbinsville became the first municipality in the state to launch its own hydroponics farm in 2017 using containers purchased from Freight Farms. Instead of using a container farming style, however, Hayes’ indoor farm will feature movable, vertical racks that move laterally so that he can have a greater crop yield without being too constricted within the space. He plans on producing two or three tons of leafy greens, herbs, and “microgreens” each month. A microgreen grows only about two inches tall over a shortened 12- to 14-day period.
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