A sprawling indoor farm complex will open on the bank of the Monongahela River in Duquesne, Pa. next year. The campus will be on the site of a former steel mill, and is expected to bring more than 200 jobs to the area.
Minneapolis-based In City Farms is behind the project. It will start with a 180,000-square-foot aquaponics facility for fish and produce, with plans to expand to a mushroom operation and worm composting facility. The company is building similar farms in a handful of other cities, including St. Louis, Mo. and Brooklyn Center, Minn.
CEO Glenn Ford said they'll likely start with trout and arctic char on the fish side of the operation, but they haven't yet decided which fruits and vegetables to grow.
"How we ultimately make those choices will come from some of our early conversations with some of the food companies in the area," Ford said.
The food grown on site will go primarily to restaurants and wholesalers, according to Ford, but the farm will hold weekly farmers markets for the community as well. Duquesne is a food desert, meaning residents do not have easy access to fresh, nutritious food.
"It'll give the community a chance to not only produce food of their own ilk, but to also buy some of the things that we've been growing," he said.
The In City farm is part of a larger Pittsburgh-area effort called Food21, which aims to grow a sustainable food industry in the region. Its mission is to grow food closer to those who eat it and expand job opportunities in the food economy.