The Farmery isn’t a farm exactly. Nor is it just a store. It’s a mix of the two––and a kind of comment on the food system at the same time. Built by Ben Greene, in Durham, North Carolina, it’s currently in its “mini” stage. But, by next year, it should be fully grown: a 7,000–square–foot aquaponic powerhouse, where you’ll be able to pick all the fruits, veggies, and herbs you want.
Greene has been working on the idea for five years. He sees it as an attempt to make local food commercially viable, taking out long–distance distribution and heavy agricultural inputs. Putting growing and selling in one place, he’s re–integrating food, taking it back to a time before millions of food miles and endless refrigeration.
The Farmery is made up of stacked shipping containers. On the outside are big bags of straw, for breeding mushrooms. On the inside are reversible growing panels for strawberries, greens, and lettuce. Customers pick produce until the wall is clear, then the panels are turned, making the other side available. When that’s finished, more panels come down from upstairs. And so on.