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A Portage company with the slogan "watch us grow" is now growing east.

Green Sense Farms isn't content with just being the country's largest indoor vertical farm. The company is partnering with Star Global Holdings of the People's Republic of China to build a network of indoor vertical farms that use Philips LED grow lights to grow produce 

"With so many new manufacturing sites built on former farmland and more people living in urban centers, vertical farming is an ideal technology for China," Green Sense Farms CEO Robert Colangelo said. "By growing food indoors in a sustainable, controlled, and sanitary environment, we can increase food security and help feed the Chinese people in an environmentally friendly way."

This year, Green Sense Farms, Asia Pacific ltd. will start building its first farm in the city of Shenzhen in southern China's Guangdong Province. Colangelo will travel to Shenzhen, which is near Hong Kong, next week to oversee the start of construction.

Based out of the AmeriPlex at the Port business park in Portage, Green Sense Farms grows arugula, cilantro, kale, peas, lettuce and other crops year-round for markets within an average distance of 75 miles, guaranteeing freshness. The facility — recently hailed by Popular Science magazine as one of the year's 100 Greatest Inventions — is only one-tenth the size of a traditional farm and uses a fraction of the water and the fertilizer.

Green Sense Farms also makes a point of not using herbicides, pesticides and GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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