Best Possible Use of a Vacant Lot?

What’s the best possible use of a vacant lot? Besides a tiny house, of course. A vertical farm!

Now, this is not an obvious answer, especially not in Jackson, Wyoming, where tourists swoop in and out like birds and a vacant lot can go for $1 million. But it is a potentially exciting one.

the town is about to become home to one of the only vertical farms in the world. On a thin slice of vacant land next to a parking lot, a startup called Vertical Harvest recently broke ground on a new three-story stack of greenhouses that will be filled with crops like microgreens and tomatoes. 

“We’re replacing food that was being grown in Mexico or California and shipped in,” explains Penny McBride, one of the co-founders. “We feel like the community’s really ready for a project like this. Everybody’s so much more aware of the need to reduce transportation, and people like to know their farmer and where food’s coming from.”

The small plot of land is owned by the town, and the building that houses the farm will be owned by the town as well, as part of a partnership. The founders spent five years working with the city to fully vet the idea—from how well the business model can support itself to how the efficient the new building will be.

Even better: 

Talking to Clif Bar About Building a Greener Business

I emailed with Elsa Hammond, a staff ecologist and Director of Environmental Stewardship at Clif Bar & Company to learn more about how they run a sustainable business (and who managed to do this while weathering out the storm and having her power shut off).