In a gritty, industrial section of Newark known as the Ironbound, something big is taking root: an old steel factory is being converted into the world's largest indoor vertical farm, a $30 million project funded by private investors, public tax credits and grants.
The AeroFarms headquarters will produce 2 million pounds of leafy greens and herbs a year to be sold in and around Newark.
"This is a dream come true. You go to bed, you wake up, and here it is," said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
"It's going to be a tremendous impact for the whole community," said chef Vanessa Parker, who works at a local school already using vegetables produced by AeroFarms. "Hopefully everyone gets on board and learns about it and understands the importance of growing vegetables.
Living and working in the Ironbound, 21-year-old Sayyid Johnson never imagined being a farmer inside an old steel factory.
"To get the young people doing something productive, learning, to get them off the streets, high-quality jobs, means a lot for our city," said Johnson.
"You learn every day. Being a farmer is fun," said Johnson.
"By 2050, there will be 9 billion people who need to eat everyday and the solution is right here on the property you're standing on," said New Jersey Acting Governor Kim Guadagno.
Prices for the fresh vegetables will be comparable to those being sold at the supermarket.
The first phases of this project are set to begin later this year.