The concept of transforming otherwise underused, vacant spaces into indoor farms is quickly becoming a popular medium for sustainable agriculture in urban communities. Examples include “The Plant” in Chicago, Illinois and “Growing Underground” in London, England. In these cases, a former meat-packing warehouse and forgotten WWII tunnels were repurposed into spaces for productive urban agriculture. These models provided the inspiration for establishing Black Pearl Gardens (BPG) located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Dow Fellows student project team worked with Christy Kaledas, founder and developer of BPG, to assess and enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the indoor farm, and suggest possible avenues for a 17-acre future expansion.
Keywords: Local food, urban agriculture, sustainability, indoor farm, indoor crops, Dow Sustainability Fellows, global impact series