Photo by Jason Schumer

If you’re in the produce aisle of Jewel-Osco, Pete’s Fresh Market, or another local grocery store, Gotham Greens is a familiar brand. Gotham Greens’ Arugula, Baby Butterhead, Greenhouse Crunch, and the Grateful Dead-inspired Grateful Greens medley of butterhead, green, and red leaf lettuce often line the shelves. They come in clear plastic containers that showcase the leafy goodness in all its earthy glory.

The salad greens are crisp, fresh, longer-lasting than average, and often on sale if you buy a few. They’re eco-friendly and sustainable as they do not travel far. The produce is grown in a pair of state-of-the-art renewable energy-powered urban greenhouses in Pullman. Not far from the planned worker community, bastion of organized labor, and historic railroad car factory that’s now a National Monument, it’s hardly a traditional farm out in the countryside. 

Gotham Greens first came to Pullman in 2015, opening a 75,000-square-foot climate-controlled greenhouse on the roof of the LEED-Platinum certified William McDonough + Partners-designed Method Products plant that makes soap with the help of a wind turbine and solar trees. Gotham Greens’ rooftop hydroponic greenhouse produces millions of heads of lettuce and herbs for supermarkets and restaurants across Chicago and beyond, growing thirty times more crops per acre than farm fields in modern greenhouses that operate year-round and are impervious to drought, pests, and other occupational hazards most farmers face.

The national Brooklyn-based company that seeks to reinvent agriculture to make it more sustainable sought to expand on its initial two-acre footprint in the historic Pullman neighborhood by building a second 100,000-square-foot facility on the former Ryerson Steel site in 2019. The expansion created “Chicago’s largest urban agriculture campus” and expanded the company’s distribution reach across the Midwest.

A salad made with Gotham Greens was never trucked halfway across the country. It’s never out of season. It’s never been doused in pesticides. It’s always locally sourced and fresh to the bite.

Gotham Greens, 720 E. 111th St. (718) 935-0600.

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