US (CA): Davis greenhouse grows lettuce using minimal water

A three-acre greenhouse made of glass and steel is hard to miss along Interstate 80 in Davis. Tens of thousands of cars drive past it every day. A prominent sign on the building reads, “Gotham Greens.” A look inside provides a glimpse into what could be the future of farming.

Company co-founder and CEO Viraj Puri gave FOX40 a tour of the facility. Puri’s roots are in New York, where Gotham Greens was founded about ten years ago to bring fresh greens to the Big Apple.

“And we actually operate a whole network of these facilities across the US,” Puri said.

The Davis greenhouse, constructed in 2021, is the company’s first on the West Coast, and its largest, covering three acres.

“Yet we’re producing the crop yield of over one hundred acres,” Puri pointed out.

Instead of soil, the roots of each plant in the greenhouse are anchored to a small pod of peat moss, and they are planted in trays of nutrient-rich water. The technical term for this kind of farming is hydroponics. Compared to conventional outdoor lettuce growing, Puri said this method uses ninety-five percent less water.

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