The military taught Evan Premer not to waste time fixing a problem. On a day at the front end of summer, his indoor farm felt about 10 degrees too hot. He pulled a knife from his pocket and began to score the ribbed siding of the greenhouse. Once he’d carved out a five-foot square, he called to his mother and business partner, Ester Premer, to help him punch out the section from the wall. A cool breeze blew in from the traditional garden outside as they freed the chunk of plastic. “Much better,” said Evan, slipping the knife back into his pocket.
If Steve Jobs had added a gardening section to the Apple Store, it might look something like Evan’s farm. Bunches of watercress, arugula, romaine and other greens spill from the sides of 24 sleek, white towers. Streams of nutrient-laced water trickle over the exposed roots inside each tower, giving the plants all they need to grow. There are no raised beds or piles of compost at Aero Farm Co. There isn’t a single grain of soil.
Evan uses aeroponic technology to grow baby lettuce and microgreens for restaurants in the Denver area. He is also working on setting up a community-supported agriculture program (CSA) for the neighborhood around the farm. “It’ll be the first year-round CSA in the state,” he said proudly, explaining that he could control the greenhouse environment throughout the winter.