Gadsden soon will have fresh, hand-picked at the peak of freshness, air-grown produce at its fingertips.
Air-grown meaning premium produce grown aeroponically through air pods which use zero soil. Aeroponic growing uses a recirculating system with no pollution, ahead of organic growing which fertilizes the plants using just oxygen – no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
LeeAnn’s Greens, with a mission to use technology to feed the world, will offer “out of this world” tasting all-natural produce grown in climate-controlled greenhouses. Products will include locally grown wheatgrass, Swiss chard, kale, barley grass, bib lettuce, broccoli – and there’s no need to worry about what’s in season.
The produce grows inside aeroponic towers after it is planted into net pods once the plant root reaches a certain length. As oxygen pushes the fertilizer into the roots, the plants grow at a faster rate, because they do not have to fight the soil. The plants are grown inside the temperature-controlled greenhouses where they are misted every few minutes.
The plants are harvested every 25 to 45 days, depending on the crop. Because they are grown clean without chemicals and picked at peak-freshness, LeeAnn’s Greens are higher in nutritional content, fresher, tastier and healthier.
“The difference in our plants and plants grown [in the soil] is the roots [at a farm] are in the water all the time, as ours just hang in the air, so there’s no risk for diseases, and if there’s anything wrong with a root we can just cut it down and it doesn’t infect the other roots,” said CEO Lee Harrison Jr., who co-owns LeeAnn’s Greens with wife LeeAnn Harrison.
Harrison is also a police officer in Glencoe. He and his wife are originally from Alabama, but moved to Fla. when they decided to start the aeroponic business about four years ago. Harrison’s father having cancer, he researched a way to get locally grown clean food to help aid in battling the disease. The aeroponically grown produce was so popular in Fla. that five-star restaurants from the state and in New York were using their products.
Now, he and his wife are moving the business back home, as they believe it will be more widely accepted.
LeeAnn’s Greens will also offer greenhouse-raised fish and prawn through a system called aquaponics, including yellow perch, stripe bass, cod, rainbow trout, and various types of tilapia. The greenhouse grown fish and prawn will contain no chemicals or pesticides.
The aeroponic greenhouses are expected to open this year. LeAnn’s Greens will be located in Rainbow City on Diversey Street off of Highway 77.
Harrison said as long as they get a heads up, anyone who wants to see the production of aeroponically grown produce is invited. LeeAnn’s Greens will have all available produce listed on their website, Facebook and Twitter for customers to purchase.
“[The produce] will be online so that if someone wants to they can order it and pick it up at a certain time. Due to certain rules, a person cannot come into the greenhouses… They can come by and see the inside of the greenhouses and the production but are not allowed to go right into them because of health concerns,” said Harrison.
LeeAnn’s Greens will be giving back to the community, as they will help Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Gadsden with its Open Hands program; giving a percentage of its profits back to the program.
Harrison said he and his wife are also in the process of implementing a program that allows single moms and war veterans that need employment or work therapy to come to LeeAnn’s Greens to work.
For more information about aeroponic growing, or to help, email Lee Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.facebook.com/GardensOnAir, www.GardensOnAir.com or www.grownclean.com.