High Desert Horticulture

Year-Round Farm Case Study: Microgreens from High Desert Horticulture

Contributing to Regenerative, Year-Round Food Production

Chris Johnston of High Desert Horticulture

Nutrient Density by the Square Foot

High Desert Horticulture is an indoor, vertical microgreens farm located in the heart of the Surel Mitchell Live-Work-Create District in Garden City. Cultivator Chris Johnston tends microgreens daily through the year, monitoring light and humidity to yield a consistent product weekly across drastically changing seasons.

Growing indoors allows the farm to grow in square feet rather than acreage, to control how much soil is used, and how much water is used.

Microgreens are grown to order and harvested within 24 hours of delivery. The farm is committed to sustainability, using plant-based packaging that is both recyclable and compostable for retail partners and reusable containers for restaurant partners.

Fine-Tuned Indoor Farm Environment

Greens require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight everyday to grow. While some winter days in the Treasure Valley might be sunny enough to light up a field of greens for 6-8 hours, the cold air and the frosty ground will kill it just as soon.

The indoor nature of the farm allows Chris to finely tune environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity throughout the seasons, ensuring optimal growth conditions for the greens. The grow lights are thoughtfully monitored and arranged to produce photosynthesis through the darkest months.

Soil Recycling: Regenerative Agriculture at the Community Level

"We're really trying to understand the second life our soil can have. We've been partnering with a few local farms to pass along used soil (as it's still full of roots and edibles) after harvest as an additional food source for chickens, cows and pigs."

The soil recycling program at High Desert Horticulture promotes regenerative agriculture at a community level, promoting the idea that farming and natural resources are healthier when interdependent. Recycling soil locally is a low-footprint way to keep the food cycle going.

Idaho Indoor Farms Growing through the Winter: Our Roundup List

This multi-article series explores innovative contributions to year-round local food production in the Treasure Valley area. View the list of farms.