no white farmhouse or red barn. For that matter, there is no soil, or sunlight.
The farm, Farmbox Greens, is inside a two-car garage behind Albert's Seattle home. It consists of 600 square feet of microgreens grown in vertically stacked trays beneath LED lights.
The ability to grow in such a small space is the result of hydroponics, a system in which a plant's roots sit in nutrient-rich water instead of soil.
Microgreens -- the first, tiny greens on plants like arugula, radishes and bok choy -- can go from seed to harvest in less than two weeks. That enables Farmbox Greens to compete on price against produce delivered from far away.
"We are fresher and our greens last 20 to 30 percent longer than those grown outside the area," said Albert, who co-owns the farm with his wife, Lindsay Sidlauskas.
It has revenue of under $500,000, but was profitable enough in 2014 that Albert quit his day job as a landscape architect to farm full time. He now has three employees and sells his greens to about 50 restaurants in the Seattle area, a grocery chain and four weekly farmers markets.
Consumer demand for locally grown food, and the decreasing price and improved efficiency of LED lighting is driving the creation of more so-called vertical farm startups, said Chris Higgins, editor of Urban Ag News, which follows this segment of farming.
Energy costs are still a significant barrier to success, making few vertical farms in the United States profitable. Those that are tend to be smaller ones.
They include City-Hydro, a farm built in a spare bedroom on the second floor of Larry and Zhanna Hountz's three-story row house in Baltimore. Larry Hountz came to urban farming out of necessity. After a serious car accident, he was unable to leave his house for two years and had trouble concentrating. He couldn't go back to his previous job as a digital security consultant.
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