BRIDGEPORT-- The old factory building is red, white and blue on the outside, but on the inside it's mostly green.
Steve Domyan and his wife Nancy have planted the seeds, and now they say their 6-month-old endeavor, MetroCrops, has begun to grow.
MetroCrops is an indoor farm where the Domyans are growing salad greens of many varieties, all within the carefully climate-controlled confines of a 2,200-square-foot, second-story space. "This is called high density indoor farming," Steve Domyan said. "The idea is to use technology to come up with a way where you can have small to medium type farms right in an urban setting."
MetroCrops sits in a former factory where bra clasps and cheap suspender clips once were manufactured. The floor now glows pink with LED lights that provide the pseudo-sunlight that grows greens like lettuce, endive and kale.
"Maybe the farms of the future don't have to be in the rural areas," Steve added. "They can be where people are living."
The Domyams received a grant from the USDA to help research and create the systems needed for an indoor farm. The farm currently has eight "rigs" that stack the plants in rows of 64 trays, and in the future the Domyans say they will be growing produce equivalent to a three-acre farm.
"We're not shipping 3,000 miles like stuff you might get in a grocery store," she said.
Steve said, "We have no drought, no rainy weeks, we have no cold weather , there is no weather." In fact, the farm stays at 65 degrees all the time.
MetroCrops has plans to expand. The Domyans are hoping to sell their technology and know-how to others in cities across the country. Steve said, "Qe are interested in finding people who want to do a Bridgeport farm in Waterbury, in New London, in Hartford, in Springfield--we want this to get out there."