Company Transforms Abandoned Grain Elevators Into Vertical Farms

Aug 8, 2017

The sun sets behind a grain elevator in northwest Kansas.
Credit Oscar Rivera

Grain elevators have long served the High Plains farming industry and now, even abandoned elevators are finding new farm life.

According to the website, ourgrandfathersgrainelevators.com, Vertical Innovations is taking old, city-owned abandoned grain elevators and transforming them into vertical farms.

The company formed in 2014 to re-purpose old elevators, making them productive vertical farms for growing leafy green vegetables through a patent-pending method of hydroponic production, a “structure-driven design” that adapts to the circular shapes.

Jim Kerns, co-owner of Vertical Innovations, whose background is in organic farming, said “The silos tell us what to do,” adding that he sees them as “giant environmental control structures, giant concrete radiators,” which he said allow for significant energy savings.

The company has an elevator in downtown Springfield, Missouri but also has its sites on an available elevator in south Hutchinson, Kans.