Here’s the Best Way to Stop the Future Food Crisis Looming Over American Cities

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Photos Getty

When I first met Katie Seawell, she was draped head to toe with PPE. A full body suit, rubber gloves, shoe covers—the works. You’d think she was preparing to walk into a COVID unit for patients, but we were about as far away from a healthcare facility as you can get, in a building located within a drab-looking office park under a bridge in Kearny, New Jersey. From the outside, it didn’t seem like there could be anything worthwhile going on here.

Inside, however, were rows and rows of fruits and vegetables on top of each other in what looked like skyscrapers of produce. I saw lettuce, radishes, mustard greens, and a whole host of other crops easily found in a local grocery store. It was what the future of food is supposed to look like—at least, one version of it called vertical farming. For Bowery Farms, the company that runs this project, this is a critical part of the fight to keep people fed during tumultuous changes caused by climate change and supply chain challenges. The company’s leaders see their role as growing increasingly pivotal as these issues worsen over time.

“We build farms close to the communities we are serving in and that cuts down on food miles,” Seawell, the chief commercial officer for Bowery Farms, told The Daily Beast.

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