On July 19, Ibarra Family Farms broke ground on its first U.S. hydroponic operation at Santa Cruz Commerce Center, the Ak-Chin Indian Community’s industrial park. The wholesale operation will produce leafy greens for farmers markets, supermarkets and local restaurants.
Phase1 will consist solely of the installation of a 16,128 SF pre-engineered/pre-fabricated greenhouse manufactured by Cravo Equipment, Ltd of Ontario, Canada. The greenhouse, which is the only facility of its kind in the country, features a unique retractable roof that will enable it to adapt to changing environmental conditions to allow a year round production. Phase 1 of the operation will occupy 1.2 acres and is valued at $375,000.
Currently, the project has been through all Ak-Chin Indian Community approvals and is in the building permit process. Construction is due to start at the end of July 2018 and is expected to be complete by January 2019.
The Ibarra Family also has a greenhouse farming business in Mexico, which produces tomatoes and peppers. Mr. Ibarra has more than 25 years of experience as a grower. He holds a global agribusiness degree from ASU and has a Masters degree from Purdue University in Indiana and a Masters from the University of Almería in Spain. In addition, he has earned a number of certifications in hydroponics by attending conferences in 10 different countries around the world.