The farm that runs without sun, soil or water

Story highlights

  • AeroFarms grow crops without soil, sunlight and nearly no water
  • Upcoming site will produce 2 million pounds of leafy greens a year

(CNN)What do you get if you cross a tech entrepreneur with a farmer?

The world's largest, and possibly most sophisticated indoor farm -- where greens grow without sun, soil or water.
    Well, almost no water. AeroFarms, the company behind the venture, say they will use 95% less water than a conventional outdoor farm.
      Set to open in September in Newark, New Jersey, the 69,000-square-foot farm will be hosted in a converted steel factory. It combines a technique called "aeroponics" - like hydroponics, but with air instead of water - with rigorous data collection, which will help these modern farmers figure out optimal conditions for growth.
      The goal? To produce tall, handsome, tasty baby greens and herbs such as kale, watercress and basil.

      Fighting a looming food crisis

      This will be the largest farm of its kind in the world in terms of production capacity: 2 million pounds of greens a year, according to Aerofarms founder David Rosenberg.
      But the company's ambitions go beyond selling vast amounts of veg. They also hope to provide an answer to a looming food crisis.
      The world's population will hit 8.5 billion by 2030, according to UN estimates, meaning many more mouths to feed.
      Most people now live in cities, with 54% of the world's population already living in urban areas.
      Rosenberg says innovation is urgently needed to feed everyone, and urban farming might be part of the solution.
      "We are building this company to be wildly impactful. Not just to build a few farms, but to change the world."

      How it works

      Inside the farm, there are no natural seasons, nights or days. Light, air humidity and temperature are all tightly controlled.
      As soon as one harvest is in, another begins -- each plant is expected to yield between 22 and 30 harvests a year.