Indoor farms: The solution to Memphis' abandoned buildings?

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One St. Louis investor has proposed a solution to abandoned buildings in Memphis.

Carter Williams said many of Memphis' abandoned buildings, especially the larger ones, can be turned into indoor farms.

"You can produce enough food for more than 2.5 million people year round," Williams said.

For now, Williams is just floating the idea.

"Maybe they'd be inside malls, maybe not. But that's something for local developers to figure out," he said.

Williams said indoor farms could provide healthier choices for a city once named the fattest and unhealthiest in America.

"So people get fresh lettuce, fresh leafy greens, fresh spinach year round," he said.

While the idea sounds appealing to many people on the surface--some folks at the Cooper-Young Farmers Market question if it's the best option.

"It's workable. It can be done, but I don't know from a cost-benefit standpoint if it's really viable," Memphian Katie Felts said.

Felts wants to know more about how the food in those indoor farms would be grown.

"I don't know about the product, the indoor product. You know, is it really coming from the soil?" Felts asked.

While not everyone is sold on his idea, Williams recently brought 200 scientists, farmers, entrepreneurs and investors to the Bluff City for an agriculture technology conference he co-founded.

He said he did that because he believes Memphis is destined to be the hub of farming innovation--with or without those abandoned buildings.

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