Article link: Organic Farm Opens in Former Hamm’s Brewery

It’s too bad this news can’t just be celebrated as a positive, without turning it into anti-GMO. Because that got me to start thinking about this. Is this sustainable, able to replace traditional farming with organic farms in old factories?

The article quotes the owner as saying they expect to produce one million pounds of produce per year and employ 24 to 40 people.

The average American eats 415 pounds of vegetables, not counting anything else*. One million pounds of produce would provide vegetables for 2,410 people. So to feed 310 million people, we would need 128,000 of these little places. And that’s just for the vegetables, not counting meat, dairy, fruit or grains.

Nothing in the article says anything about price, either. Can we project a potential price of this organic produce?

Let’s say they employ 30 people at $30,000 per year counting all benefits. That’s $900,000 per year just in labor. So that’s 90 cents per pound just in labor. Add¬†operating costs, marketing, legal fees, etc., it’s at least double that. $1.80 per pound in hard costs before stores mark food up by double. So we’re talking $3.60 per pound average retail price for vegetables.

Considering the number of Americans who can barely pay for conventional food, I wonder how many could afford these prices?

No, this aquaponics farms is a nice project, but it’s not a replacement for conventional farming, not even close.