SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - 406 Cotton Street is empty right now, but Michael Billings has big ideas for Cotton Street Farms.
The building is slated to become downtown Shreveport's first urban hydroponic farm, featuring lines of plants and vegetables growing vertically, water lines, and more.
"Hydroponic means growing plants without soil. We use a water system and put nutrients directly into the water," said Cotton Street Farms founder Michael Billings.
The plants don't need pesticides or herbicides.
People will be able to get the veggies delivered straight to their doorstep via an app and online market or pick it up at the building. It's truly a farm to table model.
"We're going to grow spinach, kale, lettuce, micro-greens, herbs, edible flowers," explained Billings.
Indoor, hydroponic farms are growing in popularity across the nation.
"The reason they are growing is that we can grow an enormous amount of produce in a very small area and we can feed a lot of people," Billings said.
Instead of waiting for vegetables to be picked in California, packaged, and sent to your grocery store days later, this indoor, hydroponic farm would get fresh vegetables to you in an hour.
"We cannot compete with farms nor do we want to. Hydroponics allows us to deliver in minutes or hours to urban citizens."
Billings said he lives downtown and loves the downtown community. His goal was to make cotton street farms a true piece of Shreveport. The business also plans to give back to social programs in the city.
''This is new to Shreveport, but we are very much following the example of others across the nation. I think its time for Shreveport to experience something new when it first comes out and not ten years later," he said.
There's still a lot of work to be done. Cotton Street Farms now has the building but still has to do things like buy equipment and establish the company and its marketing.