The film Hearts of Glass, about the tumultuous first 15 months of Vertical Harvest, screens in Jackson on Saturday. It captures the people, the aspirations and the angst of such an ambitious project in a place with few agricultural options.
Sitting on a 4,500 square foot lot in downtown Jackson, the glass-encased three-story vertical farm is not only spatially aware but also an answer to the area’s short 90-day growing season. It provides what local farmers can only dream of: year-round produce in Jackson Hole. Another notable aspect of the project? Co-founder Nona Yehia made it part of Vertical Harvest’s mission to employ developmentally disabled people, folks who have limited employment options.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, 19.1 percent of developmentally disabled people were employed. (Compare that to the 65.9 percent of people without a disability who were members of the workforce last year.) There are indeed many threads to this story: inclusion, sustainability, old-fashioned grit and determination. Hearts of Glass documents all of that.
Since Hearts of Glass premiered at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in January, producer and director Jennifer Tennican described the ensuing journey and audience response in one word: overwhelming.