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Soli Organic opens vertical farm at Brooks

Learn about the newest industry planting roots on the city’s southeast side.

SATXtoday: Soli Organic

Soli Organic employees harvesting its basil plants to be packages and sent to distributors.

Photo by SATXtoday team

Ever wonder where your herbs come from? Some San Antonians are gifted with a green thumb and can grow them at home, but for the rest of us, we flock to the nearest H-E-B to pick up fresh parsley + basil.

Soli Organic, one of the leading companies providing your shopping shelves with the freshest herbs, just opened its newest facility in San Antonio, and SATXtoday was invited for the ribbon-cutting and a grand tour.

Soli Organic and Brooks City Base

Soli Organic is the nation’s leading soil-based indoor organic agriculture company. “We are growing incredibly high-quality organic and leafy greens using state of the art technology... all year around,” says CEO Matt Ryan.

Located on the grounds of a decommissioned US Air Force Base, Brooks is promoting new development while enhancing economic prosperity on San Antonio’s southeast side. Soli Organic is not only bringing sustainable farming techniques — like using 90% less water than tradition farming — but has also created 100 additional jobs for the area.

The facility also provides healthy food access to a community that the USDA designated as a food desert due to a lack of access to healthier food options — according to Dan Rossiter, Treasurer of the Brooks Development Authority Board of Directors.

Farming... inside?

Yes, you read that right. Here’s how it works:

Seeding
The beginning of the line where the precision organic fertilizer (from chicken barns), soil, and seeds are placed in trays together.

SATXtoday: Soli Organic

A Soli Ogranic employee transporting the seedlings to the germination room.

Photo by SATXtoday

Germination
The seedlings are maintained at ~80°F for two to seven days and uses 100% relative humidity in order for the plants to sprout.

Nursery
For 10 days, the sprouted seedlings continue to grow with regular irrigation and lighting cycles in ~80°F.

Planting
The young plants are loaded on to long tables before moving to the next stage.

Grow Room
The plants grow here until they are ready to be processed.

SATXtoday: Soli Organic

Soli Organic’s Innovation Advisor, Ulf Jönsson, showing the herbs maturing in the facility’s grow room.

Photo by SATXtoday team

Harvesting
Here, the plants are harvested, weighed, and prepped for packing. The soil is recycled outdoors and is transported to local farmers.

See where you can find these herbs in the San Antonio area.

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