"Cities are growing ever larger and denser, demand for local and sustainable food has exploded, but climate change threatens to make farming ever more difficult. Already, farming uses 92% of global freshwater, 30% of global energy, and is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. 80% of the world's arable land is already in use, but food production needs to increase by 70% to feed 9 billion people by 2050.
Food access is a major issue in New York and other megacities. The neighborhoods where we're building our farms—East Williamsburg / Bushwick, Long Island City—are mixed industrial / residential neighborhoods and are food deserts. For Edenworks, it actually made a lot of sense to start in these industrial neighborhoods because the strong lowrise buildings were perfect for us to build our greenhouses on top of, so there were fewer engineering hurdles.
Edenworks' farms are meant to be a distributed solution to local food cultivation, the same way that solar provides distributed power. Over time, we see solutions like ours becoming the dominant force in agriculture—food is going to be grown in the neighborhoods where people live. Our food is fresher than just about anything you can get your hands on unless you're growing it yourself. Our product moves from harvest to customer within 24 hours. That means the vitamins and minerals are still preserved, so you're actually getting nourished, not just consuming calories. That's a really important improvement, given that US produce has seen an 85% decline in nutrition over the past 100 years.
The last area of improvement is that we give agency to these typically underserved communities. Our greenhouses provide good, stable jobs, with a living wage, doing meaningful work growing sustainable and nutritious food in these communities. Farming is certainly hard work, but it's work that's good for the soul."
Photos courtesy of Edenworks