INDIANAPOLIS – The east side of Indianapolis doesn’t exactly have a lot of land for the development of production acres. DeMario Vitalis had to create three and a half hectares of creative farming inside containers.
Vitalis said he wanted an opportunity to get into agriculture, an opportunity to establish a business system and also to have a business that gives back to the community. He’s doing just that with an urban farm on East Tenth Street he calls New Age Provisions.
According to Vitalis, he had no experience with agriculture, but he knew he wanted to provide fresh produce to his community. So, for starters, he turned to a unique solution: hydroponic growing inside containers.
“These containers are a turnkey solution,” Vitalis said. “It’s a cargo shipping container that we bought from a company in Boston, Massachusetts.”
The interior of the container is decorated with temperature and humidity sensors, as well as automated nutrient and light systems.
In a way, this allows Vitalis to control the weather.
It can grow lettuce, kale and other leafy greens whether we’re experiencing extreme heat and drought or the frigid temperatures of an Indiana winter.
“We have the ability to program the temperature,” Vitalis said. “We can maintain the same temperature throughout the year. We have the ability to control humidity. We have the ability to control the PH. The nutrients that plants receive.”
Vitalis oversees the entire growth process with the help of just one other employee. From seed to harvest, it takes about six to eight weeks.
“We take our seeds, put them in the grow pods, let them grow to become seedlings and, from the seedling stage, transfer them to the towers,” Vitalis said.
Growing towers are where crops mature and prepare for harvest. Stacking the plants vertically means that each shipping container can grow up to 13,000 plants at once. This allows him to continually have crops growing in various stages.
“When we harvest, within 24 hours it is in the hands of the consumer”, said Vitalis. ”
Vitalis is leading the way with its unique operation. He is the first person to bring container farming to Indiana, and his efforts are being recognized. Vitalis is being honored as a featured farmer at this year’s Indiana State Fair.
An honor he says he’s excited about.
“It gives me a sense of pride to be able to represent for the city and for my people,” Vitalis said.
If you want to order lettuce or kale from New Age Provisions, simply go to MarketWagon.com to place your order for delivery.
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