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Interest grows in developing urban farming in Las Vegas

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Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 2/19 8:33 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Urban farming is an innovative concept that has enjoyed wide success in other cities. Now there's a push to establish one of these high-tech growing facilities right here in Las Vegas.

Forget what you thought you knew about farming in Nevada. The agriculture industry in our state is changing, and eventually so will the way we grow our crops.

"We throw out the tractor we bring in the laptop, that's what kids are interested in," said James Garza, the chairman of the Eastern Nevada Food Bank. Garza is the man spearheading efforts to build several urban farms in Nevada, including a flag-ship facility right here in Las Vegas.

Unlike traditional farms, which require certain soil conditions and lots of water, Garza's farms are hydroponic and use new greenhouse technologies and modern science.

"This is 100-percent natural, no pesticides, no herbicides, no fertilizers. We only use 10-percent of the water a normal production would use," Garza said.

Garza hopes to secure a federal grant to help fund development of the Las Vegas facility, which he says could be located just south of Desert Breeze Park.

The non-profit, public farm would be a partnership project with organizations such as UNLV, the Desert Research Institute, Future Farmers of America, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Food from the farm would be distributed to local food banks, the Clark County School District, and some of it sold to local restaurants and hotels.

"We can't just keep importing that material and product into Nevada . . . we need to go it ourselves . . . and urban farming is the way to do it," Garza said.

Development of the Las Vegas urban farm is probably still about a year away, but like its eventual product, interest in the idea is growing.
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