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Growing Hydroponic Herbs in Manhattan

Manhattan chefs want to serve meals made with the finest, freshest ingredients, and they’re willing to pay top dollar for them. But supplying fresh foods year-round can be difficult for farmers, particularly with New York’s cold winter climate and the logistical challenges of transporting produce into the city from farms and greenhouses in the countryside.

With Spacesaver’s help, a Manhattan entrepreneur has devised a creative solution to this problem: he has transformed a restaurant basement into a thriving hydroponic herb-growing business. The urban farm enterprise, called Farm.One, grows hundreds of different varieties of high-value herbs and microgreens year-round. Located in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, the farm is about 20 minutes away by bike or subway from most of the restaurants that it supplies.

In an effort to maximize space in the small room, Farm.One CEO Robert Laing sought a way to eliminate wasted aisle space between the growing racks. He found information about the ActivRAC® Mobilized Storage System online and he worked with the Manhattan-based Spacesaver distributor to design the layout. “It gave us about 30 percent more space in the room, which is obviously a really big deal for us,” he said. “It’s a beautiful piece of engineering.” The farm uses proprietary automated systems for lighting and irrigation, along with natural pest control methods, to keep the plants healthy without artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

Note: ActivRAC is available in stainless steel, which is recommended for humid environments.

“It’s a beautiful piece of engineering.” -Farm.One CEO Robert Laing
What’s next?

The ActivRAC systems have increased capacity in the flowering rooms so much that staff need more room in other areas to keep up. The general manager is encouraging the building owner to purchase additional ActivRACs for the veg room and curing room. That’s because an additional ActivRAC in the veg room will help the facility produce enough cuttings to maintain full capacity in the flowering rooms, and an ActivRAC in the curing room will help ensure that the drying plants are adequately ventilated while still enabling staff to check the plants during the curing process.

To learn more, contact our office today. Call 410-472-0824 or email

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