Bowery unveils new model for scalable smart farms

  • June 28, 2022
  • William Payne

Smart farm operator Bowery Farming has opened its largest operation yet with a commercial smart farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The new farm has transformed a former Bethlehem brownfield from a non-arable industrial site into modern farmland.

The Bethlehem Farm features technological advancements and sustainability initiatives. The company says it is key to accelerating expansion of the company’s network of farms across the US, and it has created a replicable system to grow food wherever and whenever it is needed.

“If we’ve learned anything from the past two years it is that we are in a period of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty across our climate and geopolitical circumstances, which unfortunately is going to persist. We are also seeing first hand that our global food system is inextricably tied to these dynamics,” said Irving Fain, Founder and CEO, Bowery Farming. “At Bowery, wherever food is needed, we can grow it. We are addressing the challenges in our system by growing food smarter for more people in more places – and that work, securing food for our future, continues today with the opening of our Bethlehem Farm.”

According to Bowery, its Bethlehem Farm is powered with 100% renewable energy and features 15% more efficient LED lighting than its previous installations. A water recapture and filtration system has been custom-built to harness water transpired from the plants, and ensure highest-quality food safety standards.

The BoweryOS, combined with proprietary farm design, custom hardware, AI, data and robotics, has increased the speed of farm operations and processing allowing the company to continue to grow more food smarter. The company plans to apply these learnings across its network of farms in the future.

Bowery’s Bethlehem Farm will provide produce to a population of 50 million people within a 200-mile radius of the farm via regional retail customers including Whole Foods Market, Giant of Landover and Albertsons Companies’ stores, as well as e-commerce partners like Amazon Fresh.

“In addition to bringing at least 70 jobs to Bethlehem, Bowery Farming is innovating to feed the future and fight food insecurity. This project is a win for agriculture and a win for Pennsylvanians,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “I’m proud to have invested in Bowery to help them set roots in the commonwealth and grow a sustainable, food-secure future for us all.”

Bowery has partnered with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of a larger redevelopment project at the site of the flagship plant of the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Bethlehem, in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII.