Herban Produce

Challenge – Year-round production with high yields
Solution – One GrowSpan Series 1000 Commercial Greenhouse
One HydroCycle NFT System
Application – Non-profit Urban Farm
Location – Chicago, Ill.

Herban Produce is a non-profit urban farm located in Chicago’s Garfield Park neighborhood. Herban Produce was the brain child of Chicago native Barry Howard, and today the day-to-day operations of the farm are overseen by greenhouse manager Victoria James.

In 2015, when Herban Produce was created, the non-profit bought four city lots, which provided the urban farm with approximately 12,000 sq.ft. of land. Howard said, “Early on we knew traditional raised bed agriculture would not produce enough to support our operations. We began looking into greenhouses, because we wanted to grow year-round at higher yields.”

Wanting to try out hydroponic systems and tour a greenhouse facility, Howard decided to attend a Growers Supply CEA Hands-On Workshop. Howard said, “We had the duel challenges of being new to farming and being in an urban environment, so this workshop felt like a good first step.” The CEA experience sold Howard on going with Growers Supply for his Herban Produce project. He said, “The CEA Workshop and facilities in Iowa were a great opportunity to see and feel the system before moving forward with the project.” Howard went on to purchase a GrowSpan Series 1000 Commercial greenhouse, along with a HydroCycle NFT system.

Since the installation, Howard reported, “The GrowSpan greenhouse is being used for all the production of our hydroponic herbs and leafy greens. The greenhouse has also become a great venue for educational outreach, such as botany and chemistry.” Year-round production was a very important aspect of choosing a greenhouse for Howard. He said, “Being able to grow produce during the cold Chicago winter will be awesome. There’s nothing better than entering our warm, humid GrowSpan greenhouse on a cold Chicago day.” Howard mentioned that the greenhouse team has fallen in love with the iGrow 800. The technology within the iGrow allows James and her team to control the greenhouse’s environmental systems, which include fans, a shade system and evaporative cooling system, from their computer.

To Howard the most important part of the project was bringing agriculture to the residents of Chicago. Howard said, “We’ve brought modern farming techniques to an audience that’s never been exposed to farming of any kind. Herban Produce has the unique opportunity to teach science and nutrition, and that was part of our mission from the start.”

For more information on Herban Produce and their GrowSpan Greenhouse, visit www.herbanproduce.com.