A New Kind of Local Farm
Voorhees native Parth Chauhan is out to change the way South Jersey thinks about farms. He and his co-founders have just started one of their own in an unlikely location: a Pennsauken industrial park.
HomeGrown Farms is housed in a 320 square foot, retrofitted shipping container, where an acre’s worth of crops are growing without the use of pesticides, herbicides or even soil.
“I’d been reading about how long it takes to get our food,” Chauhan says. “People think ‘fresh’ and ‘organic’ means it’s coming from the farm next door, but it doesn’t. More than 70 percent of our lettuce comes from Arizona or California.”
The self-contained hydroponic farm contains monitoring systems designed to optimize each plant’s growth, while utilizing about 10 percent of the water a traditional farm would need to produce the same crop.
“What we’re producing is a totally clean crop,” Chauhan says. “We’re growing in a sterile environment. Most farmers wear boots and overalls; we’re in scrubs and hairnets.”
HomeGrown Farms expects to harvest its first crop in September. They’ve partnered with local restaurants, and ultimately plan to extend their customer base throughout South Jersey.
“This is an impressive feat of technology, and I think people will be really excited about it once they get over the fact that these plants didn’t grow in soil,” Chauhan says. “I think we’ll find a lot of success in the garden state.”
For more information, visit hgrownfarms.weebly.com.