Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin, Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes and Lilian Maura, regional directors of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center, welcomed Geo Greens, a vertical hydroponics farm, to the township on Nov. 12.
Owner Desmond Hayes formed Geo Greens (formally named Geoponica Greens) in Allentown in 2014 before expanding to this new location. The new 2,000-square-foot space in Mill One at Johnston Ave in Hamilton coincidentally was already fitted with the equipment for a vertical farm from a previous tenant.
Coupled with being located in Mercer County, meeting Desmond’s desire to be centrally located in the State, it was the perfect fit for expanding his hydroponic business, according to a news release.
With degrees in architecture, civil engineering and environmental science, Desmond knew the environmental industry would become a significant factor throughout society and has always paid close attention to sustainability. Specifically, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the Unites Nations.
He knew that he could not impact every item, but by addressing one, Desmond would also be influencing others. Desmond grew inspired when encountering various indoor, urban city farms of the New York City boroughs using hydroponics.
Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants using only water, nutrients, and a growing medium and, according to a news release, is superior to growing in soil because it gives plants the maximum levels of exact nutrients and allows plants to be grown pesticide-free.
Desmond began experimenting with hydroponics and realizing its untapped potential to service different markets in atypical climate areas. With population on the rise, hydroponics was the opportunity to directly influence food and water, land use and deforestation, and their carbon footprint.
“We’re changing the way food is grown and distributed, and we’re reconnecting people with the story of food from farm to fork,” said Desmond. “By delivering the nutrients straight to the plants’ roots, we are able to shorten crop cycles and produce the best flavors.”
Besides providing nutrients and sustainability to the community, food insecurity is also a focus for Geo Greens. Geo Greens has recently been approved as a federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program vendor. SNAP provides food-purchasing assistance for low-and no-income people and families.
“We’re excited that GeoGreens has moved their operation to Hamilton to serve the community and expand the agricultural innovation of hydroponics in our backyard,” Martin said. “I wish Desmond and his team all of the success as they strive to offer healthy food in a sustainable way.”
GeoGreens will be offering guided tours allowing visitors to experience the farming process firsthand, including education on the benefits of the nutrition value that comes specifically from their growing methods. Visitors also have the opportunity to pick produce to purchase and bring home.
Visit www.HamiltonNJ.com/EconomicDevelopment to learn of the new businesses that have recently opened or have relocated to Hamilton and read up on why Hamilton is a great place for businesses to call home!