SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A proposal is under consideration in South Bend for a private company to build a $3 million indoor farming operation at Ivy Tech Community College.
Green Sense Farms of Portage wants to build the facility. Thomas Coley, chancellor of Ivy Tech's north central and northwest regions, said he will present the plan to trustees in December. It also needs approval from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.
Under the plan, Green Sense Farms would lease the land from the college and invest the money to build and equip the farm operation. Ivy Tech students would be able to work at the "vertical farming" facility to gain training and eventually earn related degrees from the college, The South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1Mg1SJX ).
"We think we can come up with a new model working with industry and academics to turn out ready-to-work graduates," Green Sense Farms founder and CEO Robert Colangelo said.
The company's Portage location produces about 3 million plants per year for groceries and restaurants. It largely grows lettuce, herbs and other leafy greens without pesticides and using non-genetically modified seeds.
The plants grow in racks 24 feet high under company-controlled nutrition, humidity, water and lighting.
The proposal was discussed Wednesday at the college.