WELCOME TO PEOPLE 1ST'S: PRODUCE
The Produce business is being launched in Bridgeport, CT to provide jobs for the men in our community. This will enable them to have daily interactions with others on the same sobriety journey as they are on. This is an indoor vertical farm that uses organic techniques to grow produce.
WHAT IS AN “INDOOR VERTICAL FARM”?
Glad you asked … most of us aren’t used to those words being connected together. Lets break it down:
Easy enough … we will be growing inside a building. This allows us to control lighting levels, length of “day”, temperature, humidity, etc. Basically removes the issues brought on by the variation in weather and the varying length of day/night. This allows us to tune the environment to what helps the plants grow most rapidly. It also keeps most pests and plant diseases out, virtually eliminating the need most farms have for pesticides.
Most vegetable plants are relatively limited in height; for example, carrots will only grow 12-18 inches tall. We leverage this to provide multiple layers in our grow units, 6 layers for the shortest plants, 5 layers for intermediate … down to 2 layers for plants like peppers. With the shifting of usage of space that has occurred, we are now assigning 18,000 sq ft to the vertical farm. This becomes the equivalent of 2 acres.
We are focused on growing vegetables for now, herbs and non-tree fruits will be considered later. There are many variations on how farms operate. We will always use organic techniques and will seek to be certified as an Organic Farm as quickly as we can. This is easier for us than traditional farms as being inside a building keeps many of the pests and diseases away. We still expect to have to treat for some outbreaks over time, but will use organic approaches in all cases.
How to get the produce
Our plan is to sell fresh, ripe produce the day it is harvested through the online grocer. This will place it in the corner stores throughout Bridgeport and make it available to households in the broader area either for pickup at the warehouse or delivery to your door.
In order for the indoor farm to start operating, we need to fund the following items:
- $250,000 – Pilot room (warm room): This lays out a single room and allows us to stage the overall startup expenses over a longer period of time while starting to generate some revenue to support jobs for the men to operate and expand the farm.
- $400,000 – Full (amounts are in addition to the pilot); adds a cool room.