GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Green Collar Farms, LLC. is a new business in Grand Rapids. Like the name implies, the operation is a farm, but not in the traditional sense.
Brian Harris, a farmer and the owner of Green Collar Farms, LLC., is providing fresh leafy greens to Grand Rapids with his micro farm inside a recycled shipping container. The container offers 350 square feet of space, but Harris operates a vertical farm, equating the space to two acres of land.
Harris uses ancient techniques dating back hundreds of years, called hydroponic farming, or farming without soil.
"There are no pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides because there's no pests, there's no weeds, none of that," said Harris.
Harris starts his plants as seedlings, using a recycled pod made of coconut husk for the seeds. He uses LED lights as a substitute for sunlight.
"A lot of people think they [plants] respond to light but plants respond to radiation. We feel it as heat, they see it as energy," said Harris.
The plant cycle is a quick seven weeks, and due to the controlled climate, plants will produce year-round. Harris is hoping his farm will provide fresh mixed greens to community members as well as jobs.
Harris added, “We’re not just trying to grow kale; we’re trying to grow community vitality.”
Harris' other hope is to educate young people, creating an interest in the STEM fields.
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