If all goes as planned, the growing season for lettuce and herbs will begin before year-end in a 69,000-sq-ft converted steel plant in Newark, N.J.

Crews are transforming the plant into a $30-million vertical farm. The team includes the grower AeroFarms, which will be headquartered there, and the building owner-developer, RBH Group.

When completed, AeroFarms will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million lb per year of baby leaf greens and herbs in an environmentally controlled, safe and sanitary facility, says AeroFarms, which hopes to create a model for sustainable indoor farming.

Annual production per sq ft will be 75 times greater than a field farm, says the grower. And Aerofarms will use no pesticides and consume 75% less water.