An old warehouse on Indianapolis’ near east side will soon been churning out crop after crop of basil, lettuce and other leafy greens. A contract with grocery store Kroger is the reason behind Ohio-based Sustainable Local Foods expanding into Indiana. The company is moving into a 61,000 square-foot space on South Rural Street on the near eastside. James Bloom, the company’s CEO, explained why he picked the building.
"They’re in neighborhoods where people need employment and this is all about employment. I mean, we grow food, but our core mission is to create longterm sustainable employment for individuals. And buildings like this, basically the people in these neighborhoods need these buildings to be back the way they’re meant to be, where they’re employing people so they can live in the neighborhoods they want to live in," he said.
With hydroponics allowing for multiple growing cycles, Bloom said their Indy operations will be the equivalent to a 40-acre farm. Bloom said they’ll start producing in less than two months and be fully operational in a year. The building will undergo a $1.2 million renovation, with about half the cost coming from a community development grant.