The current pandemic has poked holes in many businesses’ operations. From lack of cash on hand to breaks in the supply chain to the complete halt of operations, it will likely change the way many companies operate moving forward. One of the holes that has been brought to light over the past few months is the centralization of the traditional food supply chain. When a few large farms in a small area supply food to all of North America it increases the risk of food waste and shortages when something goes wrong – like a global pandemic. The farms and distributors – all of a sudden – don’t have enough employees to work to get their products out and – unfortunately – the result is wasted food and empty grocery store shelves. That is the problem that Gotham Greens is here to solve and luckily Denver is home to the newest location.
Gotham Greens was founded in 2009 by co-founders Viraj Puri and Eric Haley to disrupt the current food supply chain and bring fresh, local and sustainable produce to the nation’s biggest cities. The company builds and operates sustainable greenhouses in unexpected and underutilized places – on a rooftop in Brooklyn, a former steel manufacturing plant in Baltimore and adjacent to an abandoned airport runway next to Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
“We are committed to interesting adapt-and-reuse projects,” stated Puri – Gotham Greens CEO – “being able to build on the former runway next to Stanley was a really exciting opportunity for us to introduce our brand to the Denver market.”
The Denver greenhouse produces several varieties of leafy greens, lettuce and herbs using 95% less water and 97% less land than traditional farms. “Agriculture is the largest consumer of land and freshwater on the planet. The greenhouses provide a solution for protecting these resources,” stated Puri. Using recirculating hydroponics, Gotham Greens is able to use 10 times less water, eliminate all agricultural runoff and since the produce is grown in a greenhouse it doesn’t use soil – protecting biodiversity and eliminating the use of arable land, grasslands and forests. This technique also allows for a year-round growing season in a temperature-controlled environment which creates more consistent, flavorful, long-lasting greens. It also means the greens are grown twice as fast as traditionally grown greens and – since they only distribute locally – they get to you within 48 hours of being picked – rather than up to a week as seen with a centralized supply chain.
Denverites will begin to see Gotham Greens in Whole Foods, Alfalfa’s and Choice Markets as early as this week. The selection of greens includes Arugula, Butterhead, Romaine, Greenhouse Crunch, Green Oak Leaf, Red Oak Leaf, Tropicana Green Leaf, Crispy Green Leaf and a new variety exclusive to Denver – Rocky Mountain Crunch. Gotham Greens also makes and sells salad dressings nationally – a product inspired by its consumers. “With more people cooking from home they’re looking for good pantry staples that can be used as a marinade or a dip to get creative with it,” stated Puri. The dressings are made with Gotham Greens herbs to create flavors like Green Goddess, Vegan Goddess, Basil Caesar and Vegan Lemon Basil.
As restrictions amidst the current pandemic begin to ease, Gotham Greens plans to host tours of the new greenhouse and to partner with local restaurants for exclusive events. Keep an eye out for these experiences and other happenings by following Gotham Greens on Instagram and Facebook.
Gotham Greens is located at the Stanley Marketplace at 2501 Dallas St, Aurora.