Health

An indoor vertical farm is coming to the West Louisville FoodPort.

FarmedHere, a producer of certified organic basil, baby kale, baby cabbage, microgreens and salad dressing, will invest $23.5 million into the project.

On Thursday, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority granted FarmedHere preliminary approval for tax incentives up to $400,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

Caroline Heine, co-founder and project director of Seed Capital Kentucky, which is developing the FoodPort, said FarmedHere will help achieve the overall mission of getting more locally grown food into the community.

“FarmedHere will be a year-round, 365-day-a-year growing facility that will give us greater access to the kinds of food that they grow,” Heine said.

Megan Klein, president of FarmedHere, said joining the FoodPort will help them reach 18 million people living within a 200-mile radius of Louisville.

“We share Louisville’s forward-thinking food vision, and we really want to take local food to the next level,” Klein said.

She said not only will they grow a lot of food, they will also open the indoor farm to community visits.

“We’re going to have an educational component to this farm, so we will have some viewing space, and people can come to the farm and see what we’re doing,” Klein said.

FarmedHere plans to hire 40 new employees in Louisville, with a focus on second-chance employees and veterans.

The farm will be 60,000 square feet and feature 10 rows of vertical grow beds, as well as dedicated space for sorting and packaging microgreens, herbs, salad dressings, baby food and more.

Products produced at the facility will be on sale at local retailers.

The West Louisville FoodPort is a proposed 24-acre multi-use facility that will combine various food-related businesses — from growing to distribution — at 30th Street and West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Mayor Greg Fischer, who has expressed strong support for the project, said the the vertical farm would help fulfill the FoodPort’s broader mission.

“FarmedHere’s sustainable practices and compassionate hiring policy make it an ideal community partner in West Louisville,” he said in a news release. “The addition of this innovative company to the West Louisville FoodPort affirms our commitment to giving every citizen an opportunity for a healthy lifestyle by making locally grown food easily accessible.”

Rendering of the vertical farm courtesy FarmedHere.