South Bend indoor farming tech saves water, addresses food deserts

SOUTH BEND — Most people see a factory when standing on the concrete floor and looking around the cavernous building at 206 E. Tutt St.

Otho Farrow stands at the front of his small 1,600-square-feet section and sees a farm. Farrow, a native of Niles, will soon bring indoor hydroponic vertical farming to the Sibley Center.

Farrow’s company, Metropolis Greens, will grow leafy greens such as spinach, kale and lettuce inside of structures that look like shipping containers but are actually designed to grow food vertically.

Farrow does not have much experience in farming, but he’s a born entrepreneur who spent much of his adult life working in corporate sales, advertising and public relations.

Otho Farrow stands outside the Sibley Center, where he plans to run a vertical farm operation to grow leafy greens, in South Bend.

“I’ve worked for a lot of different companies, and throughout my career, I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” he said.

Farrow’s work and entrepreneurial experience means he always had a sense of emerging technologies and trends, and he believes hydroponic vertical farming checks off a lot of boxes for what can be an emerging trend.

The concept is hot enough that one such business has already taken root in South Bend. Pure Green Farms has been growing lettuce indoors on West Calvert Street in South Bend, making its first shipment to stores earlier this year.

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