The Journal Gazette
Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:00 am

Electric Works in line for greenhouse

Decatur native, Purdue grad touts food security

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Electric Works is getting a greenhouse. 

Sweetwater Urban Farms, which uses aeroponic technology augmented with internet connectivity to produce nutrient-rich greens and herbs, will open a greenhouse inside the food hall at the Electric Works development south of downtown. 

The $248 million mixed-use development seeks to transform the former General Electric campus into a 1.2 million-square-foot mixed-use development that will house residential, retail, office, educational and health care-related space. It is being developed by RTM Ventures.

Sweetwater Urban Farms, headquartered in Atlanta, was founded by Decatur native Clint Crowe, who according to a news release has an extensive background in health technology. The graduate of Snider High School and Purdue University founded Sweetwater Urban Farms with his wife, Sheree, in 2017. 

“When we visited the Electric Works site, we immediately saw the unique potential it offered our company and the community,” Crowe said in a statement. “Being from the region, it's exciting to come back and see the momentum in the city. Food security is at the heart of any community's long-term plan and we see Sweetwater Urban Farms and Electric Works as a strategic starting point and will play a key role in ensuring this community's future food security.” 

Crowe plans to partner with area health care and educational institutions, as well as other agricultural business entities to support increased awareness and education of the value of locally sourced food.

The company may also support a planned agriculture technology program being explored by Fort Wayne Community Schools for its planned STEAM school at Electric Works. 

“At the intersection of agriculture and technology, Sweetwater Urban Farms is the kind of innovative company that we want to bring to Electric Works and northeast Indiana,” Jeff Kingsbury, a member of the Electric Works development team, said in a statement. “Clint's unique background – both in health care technology and as a regional native – makes the company a perfect fit for Electric Works.” 

Kingsbury added the food hall and public market “important to building community within the Electric Works district” and noted that Crowe's company will play a vital role in enhancing access to healthy food to address the area's food desert status.

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