The optimism on all sides is hard to miss. Hampton County Council Chairman Clay Bishop has appropriately called the project “a game changer,” and has thanked the Southern Carolina Alliance, the S.C. Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture for their help. LiDestri Food and Drink CEO Stefani LiDestri says the partnership involves some of the best companies in locally grown produce and will have an impact on the South Carolina agriculture industry for decades.

The first part of this new campus is expected to open by 2022, and it could be fully operational three years after that.

South Carolina already has some indoor farming operations, also known as controlled environment agriculture, such as Vertical Roots and the Tyger River Smart Farm in the Upstate. But the scale of the new Agriculture Technology Campus and its prominent partnerships will set it apart.

Similar indoor farming operations are prevalent in the Netherlands, which is smaller in area than South Carolina but is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter. So as we increasingly look to the Dutch for help with limiting our floods, why not also tap into their expertise in growing foods?