Coming to Bridgeport -- the lettuce factory
CTPost.com Friday, October 4, 2013
You could, if you tried, imagine a less likely place for the farm of the future to take shape. The Gobi Desert, maybe. The bottom of Lake Erie.
But it's here, in an unremarkable building on River Street in Bridgeport, on a stretch of road with empty buildings and barbed-wire fences, where an idea will be put to the test. This is where MetroCrops will see if it can make a go of things.
The space the company will use appears to have been caught in a time warp. Row after row of manufacturing equipment to make wire products sits unused, looking as though it's all just waiting for the next shift that will never arrive. In a few weeks, if all goes as planned, it will be swept clean, climate-controlled and ready to grow lettuce.
Farming in a city seems like a contradiction, but it's become something of a trend. Depressed cities like Detroit have toyed with the idea of taking vast swaths of land that's fallen into disuse and turning it back to nature or, alternatively, growing food there. In richer areas, a tomato or an ear of corn from a tiny backyard plot is viewed as a minor rebellion against the lifelessness of surrounding concrete.
As it turns out, though, you're taking a real chance with food you grow in an older city because of contaminated dirt. Leaded gasoline has been barred for decades, but lead still sits in the soil, along with all sorts of other toxins from industrial days. No one wants arsenic in their carrots, so true urban farming has some limitations.
There are other variations on the urban farm, even in Bridgeport. On the property once known as Mount Trashmore, plans are underway for an 80,000-square-foot greenhouse that would grow produce for local distribution. The goal is to employ veterans and help fill what's known as a food desert, a designation for a neighborhood with a dearth of fresh food offerings. It's a worthy goal and one everyone can hope sees great success.
MetroCrops, it bears emphasizing, is different. Read the complete article here
Blumenthal, Murphy, Himes Announce USDA SBIR Grant To MetroCrops LLC Of Norwalk
Friday, September 20, 2013
(Hartford, CT) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Congressman Jim Himes (D-4) announced a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support the expansion of a hydroponic lettuce business in Bridgeport.
MetroCrops LLC, a high density, indoor, urban farming initiative, will receive $448,000 to build precision controlled UV radiation devices that will help grow high quality, nutrient-rich hydroponic lettuce in a previously unoccupied Bridgeport space.
The objective of the project is to support a facility that can grow crops using fewer resources than traditional farming in an environment that is not threatened by climate change. The project is also intended to bring fresh, affordable produce to urban areas that often lack easy access to healthy food.
Construction and maintenance of the growing operation will bring new business to Bridgeport. MetroCrops LLC plans to work with Bridgeport company Howey Manufacturing to build the grow units that will house the hydroponic lettuce crops. The farming initiative also expects to hire four new employees to oversee the Bridgeport project. MetroCrops LLC currently employees two people.
Blumenthal said, “I am thrilled a company as innovative as MetroCrops LLC is receiving the support of the USDA and SBIR. Businesses that create jobs and offer sustainable, affordable, healthy food options to city residents are critical to the people of Connecticut’s future health and success. I will continue to support funding for SBIR programs in Congress.”
Read the complete article here
We have been awarded the USDA Phase II SBIR grant.
A quote from a member of the USDA review committee stated...
"Should this project succeed in proving the concept of growing in such conditions, the food system near metro areas in the northeast could change the landscape of food security forever. Further, the employment possibilities can also be significant".
We are moving to Bridgeport,CT where we will be setting up our first urban, high density indoor farm in a former manufacturing facility.
Steve Domyan will be interviewed by Scot Albertson on the show “Carousel”.
Watch Channel 88, on Cablevision Wednesday January 30th at 9:30pm
and Friday, February 1st at 12:30pm
Our interns with the Commissioner of CT Dept of Agriculture
Saturday, January 26, 2013 at Highland Park Market, Coventry, CT.
Left to right: Laura Sterling (UConn Senior / ARE intern), Comm. Steven Reviczky (Ct Dept of Agriculture), Ethan Stewart (UConn Senior / ARE intern), and Hayden Carnaghi (UConn Junior / ARE intern)
MetroCrops at Live Green event
September 15,16, 2012, Norwalk, CT
Hour photo / Erik Trautmann.
Nancy Domyan of Metro Crops LLC gives a presentation during the “Live Green Connecticut!” festival at Taylor Farm Park, Norwalk, CT on Saturday where Eco-friendly businesses showcased their green and sustainable products and services.
The Urban Farmer. VENU Magazine
The timing couldn't be better for a brilliant concept that may revolutionize the way urban dwellers get farm-fresh vegetables. Funded by a government grant, Steve Domyan and his Norwalk, CT-based Metrocrops, is using hydroponic and high tech lighting and computer technologies to grow a crop of lettuce indoors that will be the forerunner of larger gardens housed in abandoned city warehouse and factory spaces. The pioneering effort promises to deliver a same-day fresh, highly nutritious product, job creation and urban-based organic food production resources.
Greentowns interview with Metrocrops
October 20, 2011
Daphne Dixon welcomes Steve Domyan, co-founder of MetroCrops, an innovative urban high density farming initiative.
Third Annual Green Market Exposition
Thursday, October 20, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM (ET) Bridgeport, CT
Mayor Finch and the City of Bridgeport
CT Green Building Council
St. Vincent's Medical Center
October 3, 2011 Seedstock.com
Startup Profile: Indoor Farming Company Seeks to Harness Light and Revitalize Impoverished Urban Areas.
As the sustainable agriculture movement grows it continues to attract innovators and entrepreneurs from non-farming backgrounds. Steve Domyan, an electrical engineer by trade, is no exception. Domyan is the founder of Norwalk, Connecticut-based MetroCrops, LLC, a company committed to creating a network of urban, indoor, hydroponic farms located in impoverished high-density areas.
“I believe personally that innovation occurs when you bring different disciplines together,” said Domyan.
And MetroCrops plans to use its recently received Phase 1 Small Business Innovation and Research (SBIR) grant from the USDA to prove it. The company will use the grant funds to build its urban farm prototype inside of an old building in Bridgeport, CT in which it will grow salad greens using proprietary LED lighting technology and hydroponics. Funds from the grant will also be used to determine the local market potential for such an urban farm concept. MetroCrops hopes the research and results that it produces from its proof of concept will lead to an SBIR Phase II grant from the USDA that will allow the company to further explore the concept’s commercial applications.
Friday, September 23, 2011 CT Post
Fresh produce, straight from the factory
The first thing to know is that this is real. Turning abandoned factories into indoor farms is not only feasible, but already getting started around the world.
And it could happen here. An idea like this checks off so many boxes on Bridgeport's list of needs that it seems tailor-made for the city. Most importantly, it would mean local jobs. Almost as valuable would be a reuse, at long last, for the decaying, abandoned old factory buildings that litter the city.....
August 1, 2011 Fairfield County Business Journal
MetroCrops sees Bridgeport as an farm belt.
A one-time PerkinElmer and Intel Corp. engineer has planted the seeds for a startup aiming to employ as many as 300 people in Bridgeport working a high-tech lettuce "factory."
MetroCrops L.L.c. is in the final stages of securing an initial Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as the company pursues what founder Steve Domyan calls "urban, high-density indoor farming.
The company is based in Norwalk and is on the cusp of establishing a test bed in Storrs at the University of Connecticut's business incubator. Metrocrops plans to use hydroponics techniques to grow produce under light-emitting diodes (LEDs) programmed to bathe plants in optimal lighting conditions......
Jul 29, 2011 WestFair Online
MetroCrops sees Bridgeport as farm belt
Officials from USDA, which is considering funding for a Bridgeport indoor farm, tour a Peru aeroponics facility in February.
A onetime PerkinElmer and Intel Corp. engineer has planted the seeds for a startup aiming to employ as many as 300 people in Bridgeport working a high-tech lettuce “factory.”
MetroCrops L.L.C. is in the final stages of securing an initial Small Business Innovation & Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as the company pursues what founder Steve Domyan calls “urban, high-density indoor farming.”.......