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Urban farm flourishes in former Akron tire plant

Vigeo Gardens is growing produce and success inside the BOUNCE, Akron's innovation hub at the former site of B.F. Goodrich tire plant.

From farm to table, in the middle of the winter?

Vegetables and flowers are not something you’d expect to see growing anywhere in Northeast Ohio right now – let alone inside an old tire plant in Akron.

But that’s exactly what an Akron-based agricultural company is doing.

Jacob Craine, Vincent Peterson and Mark Preston are the founders of Vigeo Gardens, which sits on the third floor of Akron's former B.F. Goodrich tire plant. The business can be easily spotted as it's custom-mad blue and red LED lights transform its space into a magenta-like color.

"It allows us to grow a plant in a much quicker time than you would in traditional farming, as well as environmental improvements," Craine said. "We use about a tenth of the water a traditional farmer would use."

Vigeo specializes in growing hydroponic lettuce, hydroponic basil and microgreens. The produce is then sold to local restaurants in Akron, Cleveland and surrounding areas. The company recently landed a deal with Quicken Loans Arena to supply fresh produce to private chefs for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"People are getting more conscious about what they eat and what they put in their body."

The concept of the farm began in Craine's basement where teamed with Peterson to begin growing microgreens. Vigeo soon emerged after time spent inside of the Akron Global Business Accelerator, also home to BOUNCE, Akron's innovation hub.

"We want to re-purpose old buildings like this, start in the Rust Belt and hopefully go across the country."