ARLINGTON, VA. (WDVM) — Plants aren’t the only thing that’s growing at Fresh Indoor Farms. Thanks to a $15,000 grant from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the farm will soon be expanding.
“We’re in a shopping center that everybody thinks is old and dilapidated,” said Ryan Pierce, founder and owner. “We’re trying to breathe new life into that, we want to breathe new life into neighborhoods.”
Arlington will match the state grant with local funds to award a total of $30,000. The company will invest nearly $137,000 to expand its upstairs space.
“Everything that’s up there is going to be specifically for consumers and everything back down here is going towards the chefs,” said Timothy Schultz, production manager.
Thousands of plants are grown at the farm, and every single one of them is edible.
“We try to grow healthy, fresh, flavorful food right here in the middle of an urban center,” said Pierce.
As restaurant restrictions ease, the farm hopes to restore its relations with local chefs. But now, they have an additional clientele to cater to.
Their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was created at the height of the pandemic as a way to increase revenue by selling herbs to local residents – and the initiative has taken off.
“Our job right now is to meet that support really give them an opportunity to buy when they’ve never had this opportunity before. We don’t want to take that away from them,” said Pierce.
As the vaccine is distributed and restaurant restrictions eased, the farm aims to continue their community outreach. The funding will help build an educational hub for residents to learn about the farm’s use of hydroponic technology to grow their food.
Over the next three years, the farm expects to grow and additional 10,500 pounds of greens, herbs and edible flowers.