Responsible, Radical, and Resilient.

Empire State Greenhouses builds beyond net zero, carbon negative Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) facilities focused on food safety and security, sustainability, and the improvement of agricultural infrastructure and the environment.

ESG is unique in its focus on the nexus between energy and agriculture.

This is a new type of farming, a closed loop system using vertical, controlled environment agriculture, combined with renewable energy: a resilient food system with a carbon-negative footprint, this means we actually remove CO2 from entering the atmosphere. We use it to fertilize our plants, helping them grow as they release clean oxygen into our atmosphere. Our system saves water, harnesses solar power, turns waste into energy, enhances food safety and security, lowers the cost of food, limits transportation needs, and delivers fresher, high-quality produce to nearby major markets.

Empire State Greenhouses EnvironmentalSocialGovernance

Food Safety and Security

Beyond net zero, carbon negative vertical farming offers a unique set of solutions, growing produce independently of seasonality and other external, market-led forces.

With an emphasis on food safety and security, ESG’s facility will deliver 40,000 pounds / 20 tons of fresher, higher-quality produce more quickly and less expensively than current means, to nearby major urban markets every weekday. Our platform is designed for high-level production to meet regional needs, including schools, hospitals, food deserts, etc. ESG will mass-produce up to 50 types of certified organic crops.

As of 2017, 55% percent of fresh fruit and ~31% of vegetables were imported into the U.S. according to USDA Economic Research Service. The main US growing areas are 2,600-3,000+ miles from the US North East. As a result, product coming from these locations typically reaches East Coast distributors and grocers 7-10 days after harvest, has a very short shelf life, and a high risk of spoiling before it can reach the consumer.

Vulnerabilities in our food supply chain, as exposed by COVID-19, must be addressed to support greater food safety and security. ESG’s facility Biosafety Design will include MERV-17 air filtration, implementation of Biosafety Levels (BSL), and operational practices including the use of automation/AI to augment workers to maintain hygiene, personal protective equipment, automated processing and packaging.

Beyond Net Zero Carbon Negative Agriculture

The 385,000 square-foot beyond net zero energy, carbon negative controlled-environment grow facility will generate clean renewable energy on-site serving ESG‘s own demand.

Carbon Savings – Sustainability metrics tell the story

ESG’s 24 Hour harvest-to-local (200-mile radius) market delivery eliminates 94% of the carbon footprint for shipping produce from the main US growing areas in the Southwest and California to the Northeast.

  • CEA greenhouses have high density photosynthesis conversion of carbon dioxide and water into plants and oxygen:
  • 100 X the plant yields per square foot of growing space relative to field growing
  • Roughly 1 Kg CO2 sequestered per kg of plant growth
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) has lower carbon footprint than grid electricity due to highly efficient use of waste byproducts (heat + CO2)

Anaerobic Biogas Digester

ESG will implement a manure-to-energy anaerobic biogas digester that will convert dairy farm waste, which is comprised of two primary greenhouse gases (GHG), methane and CO2. Methane is processed into a renewable natural gas utilized for heating homes or vehicles while CO2 is cleaned (or “scrubbed”) and then utilized as a fertilizer for the plants in the greenhouse.

The on-site biogas digester will process ~220,000 tons of liquid dairy manure from regional dairy farms into pipeline-grade biogas and composted digestate. This will help eliminate community problems related to open dairy manure lagoons, including potential contamination of drinking water. The fuel produced by ESG’s biogas digester can be used to heat homes or power trucks or buses.

Water

ESG will save 234 million gallons of water annually, a 95%+ saving versus the conventional equivalent. Approximately 9 Million gallons rainwater will be harvested annually to provide a majority of irrigation water for plants.

Solar Power

ESG is building on-site solar systems that will power the entire facility. It is the largest proposed agricultural photovoltaic research site in the world, allowing a variety of academic research and instruction on both crop and livestock practices on APV sites.

Energy and food cost

Energy is the elephant in the room. Energy usage throughout the food value chain accounts for 35% of every dollar spent by consumers. By eliminating energy costs equivalent to 21% of every dollar spent by consumers and reducing spoilage 60%, ESG achieves extraordinary margins that traditional growers and middlemen cannot compete against. As such, ESG’s business model is causing a positive disruption in the supply chain.

Existing CEA companies or traditional greenhouses throughout the US tap into the electric grid for their source of power. As such, they are subject to the variable rates and costs associated with grid produced electricity. ESG will source its power from its use of solar and combined heat and power (CHP). ESG will also implement a manure-to-energy Biogas Digester that will convert dairy farm waste which is comprised of two primary greenhouse gases (GHG), methane and CO2. Methane is processed into a renewable natural gas utilized for heating homes or vehicles while CO2 is cleaned (or “scrubbed”) and then utilized as a fertilizer for the plants in the greenhouse.

Academic Partnerships

SUNY Cobleskill

The State University of New York (SUNY) is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. ESG has a working partnership with SUNY Cobleskill, one of the two SUNY campuses offering 4-Year bachelor’s degree-bearing programs in agriculture. ESG signed a long-term lease with SUNY Cobleskill for approximately 80+ acres of land on University property renewable after 10 years with a purchase option at any point.

ESG and SUNY Cobleskill will be developing a joint curriculum for area high school students so they can subsequently attend the college with an eye to working for ESG. The new facility will include dedicated classroom and biotechnology lab spaces.

ESG will look to graduates of the college to meet its staffing needs and provide students and faculty with a living laboratory for internships and research. SUNY Cobleskill is coordinating with Cornell University on research with ESG.

We are planning to create over 90 full time jobs at ESG and more than 400 indirect jobs in the area, including internship, research and employment opportunities for SUNY Cobleskill students and members of the campus community.

Approximately 80% of the jobs that we are creating will require college degrees in subjects such as biology, horticulture, physics, chemistry, business accounting, and technology. Approximately 20% of our positions will not require a college degree, specifically in packaging, processing, transportation and other back office employment.

These factors are important for both SUNY Cobleskill and for the region. By providing graduates with excellent jobs, we are helping to solve a problem that many rural areas face: keeping educated, skilled young people in the area. Our ultimate goal is to create jobs that pay roughly 150% of the median wage in the region.

NYU Stern

ESG President and Chairman Louis Ferro is a member of the Invest NYC Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Initiative Working Group, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, working to engage the private sector and drive financing toward creating a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient New York.

Jobs and Opportunity

Today, Schoharie is an economically challenged rural county. It is also home to SUNY Cobleskill, one of the nation’s top colleges of agriculture and technology, and it is located in close proximity to the New York metropolitan area and other major markets. ESG plans to bring over 90 full time jobs and more than 400 indirect jobs to the area, including internship, research and employment opportunities for SUNY Cobleskill students and members of the campus community, helping to build a skilled locally rooted workforce in this traditionally agricultural region.

The vast majority of the jobs at ESG will require college degrees in subjects such as biology, horticulture, physics, chemistry, business accounting, and technology. And about 20% of the positions won’t require a college degree, specifically in packaging, processing, transportation and other back office employment. Positions at ESG are planned to pay approximately 150% of the median wage in the region.

Located in Cobleskill, New York and designed with an emphasis on food security, the new facility will deliver 40,000 pounds / 20 tons of fresher, higher-quality produce more quickly and less expensively than current means, to nearby major urban markets every weekday.