Redefining Farm-to-Table Article in the Winter edition of the Editable Nutmeg
Driving down River Street in Bridgeport, it was easy to reflect on the stark contrast of the industrial past to the modern day. Not so long ago, this busy warehouse and manufacturing district employed thousands of people in mid-sized businesses, producing goods to be shipped overseas. And yet, in this setting of now vacant buildings, there sits a start-up with a radical vision for the future that redefines the meaning of farm-to-table by hydroponically growing and locally distributing the freshest, high-nutrient, entirely organic salad greens, all within the confines of an urban environment.
Metrocrops, LLC, sits quietly on the second floor of a repurposed cabinet-making shop that has been converted to a High Density Urban Indoor Farm, the first of its kind anywhere. They hydroponically produce high-quality, high-nutrient salad greens in a 2,000 squarefoot grow room. “We get double the nutrient levels of normal salad greens, according to USDA analysis,” said Steve Domyan, who founded Metrocrops in 2011 through the help of a USDA research grant with his wife and partner, Nancy.
We would like to correct an error in the winter edition’s article “Redefining Farm-To-Table”, which states that Dr. Steven Britz designed the rigs and other growing equipment that Metrocrops LLC uses in their operations.
In fact, the rigs and equipment were designed by Stephen Domyan, co-founder of Metrocrops. Additionally, Stephen Domyan is named as the inventor and the provisional patent holder of said equipment.
To close out the Fall CFI term, students from three different CFI classes went on a field trip to Metrocrops, LLC, located in Bridgeport, CT. The day combined important concepts from all of the CFI programming, but most specifically Entrepreneurship, Architecture and Watershed Management/ Hydroponics.
The president and founder of the company, Mr. Steve Domyan, gave South Kent School students the tour of the facility. An experienced businessman and environmentalist, he explained to the students how his understanding of business, engineering, community collaboration, and federal support allowed him to grow a thriving business that was much needed in his town. He not only helped to provide jobs to Bridgeport residents but gave them the opportunity to grow fresh local produce in a sustainable hydroponic system. Students dressed in protective clothing to enter a growing environment and were given the opportunity to tour the growing room to see the hydroponic design and significant amount of equipment used to monitor it. Mr. Domyan discussed the complex experimental designs he has set up and run on his system since his company began. He described how his data shows growth trends and help him make decisions on crop management. He also explained how his understanding of calculus helped him to know when efficiency is optimal for light and nutrients to the system.
Mr. Domyan and his partners researched, designed and built the hydroponic system inside a former manufacturing building in Bridgeport. It was a great experience for the students to see how a group with environmental responsibility, innovative ideas and hard work was able to build a sustainable company for the benefit of an entire city. We couldn't think of a more perfect trip to culminate the fall term for the ever-growing CFI program.
In an unmarked industrial building in Bridgeport, a Fairfield couple is using low-cost LED lights to grow food. (June 9, 2015 5:34 PM)
Fairfield couple finds success in urban farming
Channel 12 News CT, June 9, 2015
In an unmarked industrial building in Bridgeport, a Fairfield couple is using low-cost LED lights to grow food.
Steven and Nancy Domyan are researching the new hydroponic method in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the University of Connecticut.
MetroCrops uses LED lights, which use only a fraction of the electricity used by traditional hydroponic lamps. A computerized... Read the complete article here
Down on the farm in Bridgeport, an inside job
FOX CT, May 4, 2015
BRIDGEPORT– The old factory building is red, white and blue on the outside, but on the inside it’s mostly green.
Steve Domyan and his wife Nancy have planted the seeds, and now they say their 6-month-old endeavor, MetroCrops, has begun to grow.
MetroCrops is an indoor farm where the Domyans are growing salad greens of many varieties, all within the carefully climate-controlled confines of a 2,200-square-foot, second-story space. “This is called high density indoor farming,” Steve Domyan said. “The idea is to use technology to come up with a way where you can have small to medium type farms right in an urban setting.”
indoor farmingMetroCrops sits in a former factory where bra clasps and cheap suspender clips once were manufactured. The floor now glows pink with LED lights that provide the pseudo-sunlight that grows greens like lettuce, endive and kale.
“Maybe the farms of the future don’t have to be in the rural areas,” Steve added. “They can be where people are living.” Read the complete article here
Steve Domyan, of Norwalk, holds a tray of hydroponic red leaf lettuce grown under red and blue ultraviolet LED lighting at Metrocrops in Bridgeport, Conn. on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Domyan says that the dark color produced in the lettuce by the ultraviolet light increases antioxidant levels in the greens. Photo: Brian A. Pounds
From empty building to indoor farm
CTPost, April 26, 2015
BRIDGEPORT -- It's a working farm contained in a 2,200-square-foot room. Outside conditions -- weather, season, available sunlight -- have no bearing on production. And it could soon be common in cities nationwide.
MetroCrops, a three-person operation based in an old factory on River Street, is employing hydroponics under LED lights to grow crops of lettuce and kale, which it sells to local restaurants and at farmers markets. And it is just getting started.
"Every pound we produce is a profitable pound," said Steve Domyan, of Norwalk, who owns the company with his wife, Nancy. "We just don't have enough pounds." Read the complete article here
6 Awesome Food Organizations in Connecticut
Foodtank.com, November 4, 2014
Launched by Food Tank and the James Beard Foundation, the first annual Good Food Org Guide identifies and celebrates more than five hundred U.S.-based groups including six from Connecticut who are cultivating a better food system.
MetroCrops, based at the University of Connecticut, researches and develops innovations in the urban intensive indoor farming of salad greens. Using hydroponic and LED technology, MetroCrops plans to make use of excess urban building space to provide the northeast with fresh local produce year round. Read the complete article here
AN INVENTIVE CITY
Neighbors, A8, Connecticut Post, Monday, August 4, 2014
Adam Zuckerman, director of exhibits at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, and Laura Sterling, marketing assistant for Norwalk-based MetroCrops, review display materials for a special exhibit at Bridgeport’s downtown Burroughs- Saden Main Library. The exhibit includes photos and articles about the inventions and industries that thrived in Bridgeport during the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors will find the display outside the Bridgeport History Center on the third floor through Saturday, Sept. 20. This exhibit is being held in conjunction with MetroCrops’ essay contest for eighth-grade students in Bridgeport schools. Students will research an inventor, industrialist or entrepreneur who created or brought a unique invention, product or service to Bridgeport.