an indoor, vertical, hydroponic farm start-up
Redi-farms is an indoor, vertical, hydroponic farm start-up located at 610 North Avenue East, Westfield, New Jersey, in a 100-year-old brick industrial building previously owned by Handler Manufacturing.
Our intention is to restore the building to its historical grandeur with an industrial-chic atmosphere to house a vertical farm. The building will also contain a mostly plant-based high-end restaurant, a retail “farm store”, a teaching kitchen for adult classes, a banquet hall for up to 80 people, and a large educational not-for-profit component to welcome school children from Westfield and nearby towns to learn about modern, sustainable farming and how healthy food can be grown locally all year round without pesticides or adverse effects from or contributions to global warming.
The newly named “Greene Building“ is currently being renovated with plans to start farm production and sales by this coming Winter. Final completion of the Restaurant, Teaching Kitchen, and educational facilities is scheduled to be completed by September 2022.
At Redi-farms we recognize the need for local, pesticide-free produce in order to reduce our carbon footprint as well as supplying healthier, more nutritious, and tastier alternatives to the plastic-wrapped options available at grocery stores today. Our indoor, hydroponic approach to food production guarantees year-round availability for the local community. Redi-farms believes in transparency and knowing where your food comes from. Redi-farms is engaged in the adaptive reuse of existing buildings to create sustainable food production serving local communities.
What IS hydroponic farming?
Hydroponics, in its most basic definition, is a production method where the plants are grown in a nutrient solution rather than in soil. Over the past few years, a number of variations to the basic system have been developed. Although it is possible to use hydroponics on outdoor crops, most of the production in the U.S. today is in greenhouses. The greenhouse and its environment control system are the same whether plants are grown conventionally or with hydroponics. The difference comes from the support system and the method of supplying water and nutrients. In hydroponic farming plants are healthier, more nutritious, do not use pesticides, and are tastier.
As an architect and engineer with an appreciation for the past, our adaptive re-use approach to historic buildings has always been a passion. Continuing the mindset of a low carbon footprint by reducing waste, we aim to bring old buildings back to life with a fresh, new use. We hope to spread our passion, knowledge, and commitment to a plant-based lifestyle in order to improve the health of people and our planet. We look forward to an empowered, sustainable, and healthier tomorrow.
The plan is to open a store with fresh cut produce from the farm. Collaborating with other like-minded makers in NJ will encourage locally made, sustainable products.
Understanding WHY a plant-based diet is more beneficial for your health is an important aspect of Redi-farm’s focus. Plans include building a teaching kitchen and holding weekly classes with chefs and nutritionists, explaining how to cook delicious meals with vegetables and herbs.
Education & Tours
Along with cooking classes, the hope is inspire young minds with education and tours of the farm, explaining why modern farming is better for the environment and the future by recycling the water, eliminating the need for chemicals, and supplying a dependable and constant source of healthy food.
An up-scale restaurant will bring it to the next level, enticing people with creative dishes and exotic mock-tails. Set within view of the farm and with a casual, industrial-chic ambiance surrounded by an exterior courtyard, the classic warehouse architecture will create the perfect backdrop.
Co-founders and husband-wife team, Greg Redington and Michele Modestino, created Redi-farms in 2020, combining many life-long passions into one Project. Having met in college while studying architecture and engineering, it was obvious in the beginning what a great team they would make, one with a designer’s eye and the other, a more technical, engineering approach. Through their personal projects, Michele & Greg have been passionate about restoring old buildings and re-using architectural salvage in unique and interesting ways. This love of the past drew them towards Westfield, NJ (a turn of the century commuting town with a vibrant community) where they renovated many Victorian homes and received several awards from the Historical Preservation Commission, including one for their classic Queen Anne Victorian home, which was painstakingly restored.
They have spent 28 years in Westfield, raising 3 children and running a successful Design & Construction company. Their passion for travel inspired them to spend 3 years living abroad in Rome, Italy. This experience only heightened their respect for the past and a desire to protect it, and also opened their eyes to a slower way of life where mass production didn’t seem as visible and people shopped for food on a daily basis at their local, neighborhood outdoor market. Besides the freshness and amazing taste of the produce, the local vendors couldn’t help but give tips on how to cook the vegetables that were being purchased. The market became a gathering place where one might meet a friend for a quick espresso. They are hoping to replicate this personable feeling. Michele, having been a vegetarian since a young age, and recently turned vegan along with their two daughters, finally convinced Greg in 2019 to join them in this healthy lifestyle. When the pandemic hit in 2020, and produce was limited, awareness of the need for sustainable agriculture became apparent. They planted a family garden and joined a local CSA, but when the perfect building in their hometown became available, their minds started churning and REDI-farms began.