Farming is now done in 30 foot tall stacks without sunlight, pesticides, or soil – Geek

GEEK

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The population on Earth continues to grow at a staggering rate, with around 80 million new people on Earth each year. Those people need food, which puts an ever increasing strain on our farmland and water supply. Thankfully, we have technology, and applying tech to farming is allowing us to grow food better and without many of nature’s restrictions we’ve had to accept until now.

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One of the companies showing how tech can revolutionize farming is AeroFarms. They’ve created a farming system that allows the leafy greens found in all our salads to be grown without need of sunlight, soil, or pesticides. The completely controlled environment for growing also uses 95% less water and allows for much more intensive farming meaning greater yields.

As the video explains, AeroFarms uses a smart aeroponics system which mists the roots of their plants with just the right amount of water, nutrients, and oxygen. The huge water saving is achieved through a combination of that control and a closed-loop system meaning no water is ever wasted.

Growing is achieved with a special LED light that has had its spectrum, intensity, and frequency adjusted to perfectly suit photosynthesis on a per plant basis. AeroFarms even go so far as to say they can “control size, shape, texture, color, flavor, and nutrition” using such smart lighting. As for pests, the way in which growing happens doesn’t allow for the life cycle of common pests to happen, and so no pesticides are required.

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Is this the future of farming? Probably. The fact it can be done so intensively and pretty much anywhere in the world with a reliable power supply makes it a highly desirable method of food production. And AeroFarms isn’t the only company involved in this futuristic farming. Toshiba has turned an old floppy disc factory into a farm growing lettuce that doesn’t need washing. Meanwhile, Japanese company Spread has a farm run by robots set to produce 30,000 lettuce a day.

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Lessons learned down on The Farm – Sacramento Bee

Natalie Minas Watmore remembers the lessons handed down with a ripe tomato or green zucchini. Now at the California State Fair, her job is to pass on some of that same wisdom to new generations.

“When I was a kid, my grandmother took all of us out to pick tomatoes,” recalled Watmore, the fair’s education coordinator. “We were out there in a field in Stockton. It was hot. She said, ‘This is why you need to go to college.’ ”

Her grandmother wasn’t a farmer or farmworker, noted Watmore. “My grandmother canned tomatoes, tomatillos and jalapeños to make salsa. In summer, you could pick your own (at some farms) and we did.”

But this field trip was about much more than homemade salsa, she said. “She was really pushing us to get an education. She used the tomatoes as a tool. The smell of tomato plants to this day remind me of that.”

At The Farm at Cal Expo, Watmore is surrounded by tomatoes – and much more. During the fair’s July 8-24 run, the 3-acre agricultural display showcases the state’s bounty and tries to put fair patrons back in touch with their farming roots. In addition, The Farm serves as a year-round outdoor classroom to teach kids about food and farming.

“I went to college – and I’m picking tomatoes,” she said with a laugh. “We should have plenty of ripe ones during the fair.”

Those tomatoes, along with other fresh produce, will be used for State Fair cooking demonstrations. Some will also be donated to charity. Last summer, The Farm gave 10,000 pounds of vegetables and fruit to the Sacramento Food Bank.

Watmore, 31, took over from Nancy Koch as “The Farm lady” last year. A California State University, Sacramento, graduate, Watmore had focused her career on marketing and communications, including four years at the California Automobile Museum. After taking the State Fair job, she immersed herself in all things agriculture, working with local farmers as well as other ag educators.

“Agriculture really is people teaching people,” she said. “I know for me, it’s been quite a learning experience.”

Most people assume that farming is old as dirt, Watmore noted, but innovation is changing California’s ag business.

Among the cutting-edge examples featured at The Farm during this 163rd California State Fair is a state-of-the-art “EZ-Clone” cloning system that can produce 517 plants at once, using small cuttings from a mother plant. So far, it’s already churned out hundreds of baby basil, strawberry and tomato plants.

“It’s the first of its kind in the U.S.,” Watmore said. “We’re hoping to have enough plants to give some away during the last week of the fair.”

Also new are several “tower gardens,” vertical growing systems that use aeroponics to irrigate plants.

“Aeroponics are so interesting,” she said. “Similar to hydroponics, aeroponics use air pressure to spray plant roots with mist. It’s actually a quicker way to grow food and can be used indoors. It’s great for urban farming.”

While studying farming and how to present it to non-farmers of all ages, Watmore realized that many things were already second nature to her, thanks to her family.

“I remembered my mom, Norma,” she said. “She used to garden a lot when we were kids. She always had a big garden patch and grew zucchini every summer. Zucchini flowers are edible – I found that fascinating as a kid. But those flowers also can grow into these long green squash. How cool is that?”

Now, Watmore uses that same squash lesson to inspire kids visiting The Farm, and not just during the fair. More than 1,500 students toured the demonstration gardens this spring with many more expected this fall.

“It’s come full circle for me,” Watmore said. “It’s what agriculture is all about – passing it on to the next generation.”

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Indoor Harvest Corp Selected by Alamo CBD to Design-Build Pharmaceutical Production Facility in Texas – GlobeNewswire (press release)

HOUSTON, June 30, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Indoor Harvest Corp (OTCQB:INQD), through its brand name Indoor Harvest®, is a full service, state-of-the-art design-build engineering firm for the indoor and vertical farming industry. The company provides production platforms, mechanical systems and complete custom designed build outs for both greenhouse and building integrated agriculture grows. The Company is pleased to announce it has received a letter of intent from Alamo CBD to design and build its state-of-the-art pharmaceutical CBD production facility in Texas.

The expected facility, at 17,500 square feet, would be designed from the ground up utilizing our high pressure aeroponic platform. The facility is planned to be constructed in Wilson County, Texas and would produce pharmaceutical grade Cannabidiol under the Texas Compassionate Use Act.

“Not only are we excited to work with the team at Alamo CBD to design and build their facility, together we also successfully lobbied the State to amend a section in the Texas Compassionate Use Act that would have made advanced technologies such as aeroponics a non approved cultivation method in the State. We argued that methods such as aeroponics are superior in many ways to traditional organic growing and in fact will yield high quality pharmaceutical products, even though not considered organic according to the UDSA’s standards.  Under the final Act as adopted, our growing methods would be allowed in Texas,” stated Chad Sykes, CEO and founder of Indoor Harvest.

Dr. Lang Coleman, CEO of Alamo CBD, said “We are very pleased to be working with the professionals at Indoor Harvest.  We were introduced to Indoor Harvest by the Texas Cannabis Industry Association and we can’t thank the TCIA enough for that introduction.  Our team met with John (Zimmerman) and Chad (Sykes) and simply felt that their knowledge of crop production systems and building design is exactly what we need to move forward with our facility.”

Consistent with the SEC’s April 2013 guidance on using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to make corporate disclosures and announce key information in compliance with Regulation FD, Indoor Harvest is alerting investors and other members of the general public that Indoor Harvest will provide weekly updates on operations and progress through its social media on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Investors, potential investors and individuals interested in our company are encouraged to keep informed by following us on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/indoorharvest
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/indoorharvest
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/indoorharvest

ABOUT ALAMO CBD

Alamo CBD, LLC is dedicated to producing high quality CBD products in service to the patients of South Texas.  The company is based in the San Antonio metropolitan area and was founded by a highly qualified team consisting of a pharmacist, a neuropsychologist, a microbiologist, a horticulturalist, and a dietitian; we are very proud of the expertise of our company. For more information, please visit http://www.alamocbd.com.

ABOUT INDOOR HARVEST CORP

Indoor Harvest Corp, through its brand name Indoor Harvest®, is a full service, state of the art design-build engineering firm for the indoor farming industry. Providing production platforms and complete custom designed build outs for both greenhouse and building integrated agriculture (BIA) grows, tailored to the specific needs of virtually any cultivar. Our patent pending aeroponic fixtures are based upon a modular concept in which primary components are interchangeable. Visit our website at http://www.indoorharvest.com for more information about our Company.

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release contains certain “forward-looking statements” relating to the business of Indoor Harvest and its subsidiary companies, which can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “estimates,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “intends,” expects” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements are based on Indoor Harvest’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on Indoor Harvest. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting Indoor Harvest will be those anticipated by Indoor Harvest. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond the control of the Company) or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Indoor Harvest undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.

Contacts:Indoor Harvest CorpCEO, Mr. Chad Sykes713-410-7903ccsykes@indoorharvest.com

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Growing food in thin air – Bizcommunity.com

African farmers constantly have to compete against climate change, adverse weather conditions, drought, affected soil and high costs, to name a few. A young Nigerian man, Samson Ogbole, hopes to make farmers’ lives a bit easier.’ data-lazyid=”img-c-350573-18ea482d-5487-40a3-b8d0-fd5d0a748f24″>Photo/International Institute of Tropical Agriculture/FlickrOgbole is the founder of Sreach Aeroponics – an organisation which aims to train people on how to build and maintain systems where plants can be grown in the air. This means that everything from lettuce and tomatoes can be grown without soil and this can even be done indoors.
In an interview with Mail & Guardian Africa, Samson explained that he was first introduced to this soil-less system at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, where he studied for a year, after which he was taken on as a staffer and put in charge of an aeroponic system.

“It’s a simple idea”, he said, “in aeroponics, plant roots aren’t in soil instead they’re secured to a support platform and held in place at the stem by foam so that the root system hangs below in an enclosed or semi-enclosed chamber.”

“A pipe, which is connected to a pump and timer, brings nutrients – whether organic or inorganic – dissolved in water and sprays it onto the roots. It’s not a complicated system, which many people think it is, all they need to do is monitor the nutrient to make sure it doesn’t finish.”

“I can teach people how to make their own organic nutrient solution, but for those that prefer inorganic, you have to buy chemicals the way you buy fertilisers.”
Samson explained that there are huge benefits of having plants literally grow in “thin air,” free from soil borne pests and soil pollution.

Mail & Guardian Africa reported the system can reduce water usage by 98%, fertiliser usage by 95%, pesticide usage by 99% and can increase crop yields by 45% to 75%. It also enables faster growth of up to three to five times faster than conventional growing in soil. Lettuce for instance, in traditional systems, can be grown from seed to harvest in 70 to 90 days. While aeroponics growing would take just 25 to 30 days. Other plants proved to also have fantastic yields as a result of the system include beans, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and ginger.

But Samson also explained that there are three big limitations and drawbacks to using this system. There needs to be 24 hour electricity (though some are turning to solar energy to overcome this,) the technical ability to know how to maintain and set up the system and, if done on a big commercial scale, the initial set up will be expensive. “But no matter how expensive – in the first year your returns are huge,” he said.
Samson’s newly founded company is currently producing custom-built aeroponics systems – made to the specification and space requirements of the client.

To get an idea of cost he gave the example of a 5m by 1m lettuce aeroponics farm. The total cost for the system is 457,000 Naira ($2,290). A square metre (m²) will contain 50 holes which means 50 plants. In this design there are 10m², thus housing a total of 500 plants. In the case of lettuce, every 30 days, 500 plants will be harvested from this aeroponics system. This compared to a traditional farming system in which Samson claims a space of 10m² would produce 500 plants after 90 days – three times as long.

Big, larger scale aeroponic systems can be made though there are limitations as to what can be grown. Root vegetables can start their growing process in this system but will eventually have to be transferred to soil to become harvest ready. However, it has been shown that starting the process with aeroponics is very useful in producing seeds and healthier crop for root vegetables too.

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Is this how urban farming reaches scale? – Circulate

Two million pounds of fresh produce, including salads, potatoes and herbs, are grown and distributed to the New Jersey and New York City area each year from AeroFarms’ Newark facility. However, instead of open fields, soil, sunlight and large quantities of water, this facility demonstrates aeroponics at scale, and is beginning to be viewed by many as a potential model for the future of urban farming.

Traditional farming methods require acres of land and tonnes of water, but AeroFarms’ flagship facility takes up just 70,000 square feet and uses 95% less water than open field agriculture.

Shelf-like bins house the crops, while LED lights replace sunlight and reusable fabric extracted from recycled bottles replace soil. Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are not required, while the need for fertiliser is reduced by 50%.

Credit: AerofarmsCredit: Aerofarms

Staggering crops throughout the year and the ability to grow in tight spaces have been critical to the high levels of production achieved; they switch between 22 different crops featuring nearly 250 varieties of fruit and vegetables during the year, all while growing 70 times more per square foot compared against other methods.

In many ways, aeroponics as a technique is a direct response to the modern context, where space is becoming more limited, awareness of water finiteness is increasing and a large (increasing) percentage of the global population lives in cities.

There are a growing number of examples of innovators experimenting with the possibilities of urban farming. However, there are very few projects that have achieved the scale and commercial success of AeroFarms.

Photo via Visual huntPhoto via Visual hunt

Of course, even this method isn’t free of questions. For some, the prospect of a future where large quantities of crops are grown without any natural sunlight is unpalatable and there may be unknown issues caused by that disconnection, though it’s worth noting that the technology has existed for some time and has been thoroughly tested.

However, there’s no question that the global food system needs innovation and this solution is one of those that offers the most promise, particularly from the perspective of being able to grow the volumes of food needed to supply modern cities.

Seb Egerton-Read Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website’s topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]circulatenews.org

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Africa's future? Where food and fodder will be grown in air, using 98% less water – Mail & Guardian Africa

FARMERS across Africa face increasing challenges year in and year out. They have to adhere to planting seasons thrown into turmoil by climate change, are vulnerable to weather variations, the high input costs of farming in terms of fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides and, increasingly, seeds and climate change. 

One young Nigerian who is on a mission to change all this is Samson Ogbole, the founder of Sreach Aeroponics – an organisation which aims to train people on how to build and maintain systems where plants can be grown in the air. 

This means that everything from lettuce and tomatoes can be grown without soil and this can even be done indoors.

In an interview with Mail & Guardian Africa, Samson explained that he was first introduced to this soil-less system at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, where he studied for a year, after which he was taken on as a staffer and put in charge of an aeroponic system. 

“It’s a simple idea”, he said, “in aeroponics, plant roots aren’t in soil instead they’re secured to a support platform and held in place at the stem by foam so that the root system hangs below in an enclosed or semi-enclosed chamber.”

“A pipe, which is connected to a pump and timer, brings nutrients – whether organic or inorganic – dissolved in water and sprays it onto the roots. It’s not a complicated system, which many people think it is, all they need to do is monitor the nutrient to make sure it doesn’t finish!”  

(Diagram/hydroponicpassion.blogspot.com)

“I can teach people how to make their own organic nutrient solution, but for those that prefer inorganic, you have to buy chemicals the way you buy fertilisers.”

Samson explained that there are huge benefits of having plants literally grow in “thin air”, free from soil borne pests and soil pollution. 

The system can reduce water usage by 98%, fertiliser usage by 95%, pesticide usage by 99% and can increase crop yields by 45% to 75%. It also enables faster growth of up to 3 to 5 times faster than conventional growing in soil. Lettuce for instance, in traditional systems, can be grown from seed to harvest in 70 to 90 days. While aeroponics growing would take just 25 to 30 days. Other plants proved to also have fantastic yields as a result of the system include; beans, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and ginger. 

But it isn’t all rosy. Samson also explained that there are three big limitations and drawbacks to using this system; there needs to be 24 hour electricity (though some are turning to solar energy to overcome this), the technical ability to know how to maintain and set up the system and, if done on a big commercial scale, the initial set up will be expensive. “But no matter how expensive – in the first year your returns are huge”, he said.

Samson’s newly founded company is currently producing custom-built aeroponics systems – made to the specification and space requirements of the client. 

To get an idea of cost he gave the example of a 5m by 1m lettuce aeroponics farm. The total cost for the system is 457,000 Naira ($2,290). 

This is a high cost but the production predictions were impressive. 

A square metre will contain 50 holes which means 50 plants. In this design there are 10 square metres, thus housing a total of 500 plants. In the case of lettuce, every 30 days, 500 plants will be harvested from this aeroponics system. This compared to a traditional farming system in which Samson claims a space of 10 square meters would produce 500 plants after 90 days – 3 times as long. 

How realistic is it to roll this out on a larger scale?

Big aeroponic systems can be made though there are limitations as to what can be grown. Root vegetables can start their growing process in this system but will eventually have to be transferred to soil to become harvest ready. 

However, it has been shown that starting the process with aeroponics is very useful in producing seeds and healthier crop for root vegetables too. The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria for example has a project called the Yam improvement for income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA) which uses aeroponics. The system produce seeds, vine cuttings and mini tubers which they then hope to make readily available and affordable for yam producers in Nigeria and Ghana.

Speaking to Morufat Balogun from the project she said that this has “changed the yam seed system”. The system has improved the “quality of material planted in terms of seed health, vastly increased yields and seen tubers grow vigorously”. 

But it isn’t just food and seeds that can benefit. The aeroponics can also be used to combat one of soil’s greatest adversaries and one of our greatest challenges: climate change.

In an interview with Louis Visser of Qwik Gro aeroponic systems in South Africa, he said that their “[aeroponic] systems are more specifically designed for growing economical livestock fodder 365 days of the year, in a controlled environment, notwithstanding prevailing droughts.” This means that this system provides a consistent source of high quality, nutritious feed regardless of the weather, all year round!

For example, they are now in the process of constructing a feedlot for a 6000 lamb feedlot on 3.5 hectares of land and going to duplicate the same in Cape Town.

Systems like this offer one more option when looking at increasing the adaptive capacity of farmers, communities and governments to respond to the impending impacts of climate change.

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Next-Gen Israeli Agtech Turns a Rooftop Into a Farm – Jewish Business News

Aleinu aeroponic farm plants seeds for a new social, environmental and educational model of agricultural sustainability.

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On the rooftop of the Mishor Adumim industrial park in the desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, an acre of herbs and lettuces provide employment for about 20 people representing the entire Israeli mosaic: Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, Israeli-born and immigrants.

“We all work together and value each other’s contribution,” says Bentsion Kabakov, a religious Russian immigrant who established the Aleinu Sustainable Aeroponic Greenhouse as a prototype six years ago.

“We are convinced that no matter how harsh the political challenges are, there is always a basis for mutual respect and coexistence. At Aleinu, that’s our guiding line.”

Women in hijabs chat easily with Ethiopian-Jewish women in the packing and labeling room. Everyone from pickers to technicians works in a comfortable, air-conditioned environment and goes home at a set time every day.

In all its social, business and environmental aspects, this is truly a farm of the future.

aleinu-packing Israel Agriculture

The word aleinu in Hebrew means both “above us” and “our leaves,” aptly conveying the concepts of rooftop farming and a shared sense of purpose.

Though rooftop and urban agriculture are becoming more widespread as the world’s population centers shift to cities, the system created by Kabakov and fellow engineers from the former Soviet Union is one of a kind, explains Shelley Brinn of Tour Adumim, who brings groups to see, smell and taste the produce of Aleinu and learn about its social, ecological and educational facets.

aleinu-lettuce Israel Agriculture

Based on the concept of aeroponics — growing plants in humid air rather than soil or water — Aleinu incorporates several proprietary technologies that bring an unprecedented level of automation and efficiency to the process while eliminating problems of conventional farming such as unpredictable weather, the expense of land and the need for long hours of outdoor toil by many workers.

As a result, this aeroponic greenhouse yields 50 times more produce per square meter than does a traditional farm, while consuming 20 times less water. Compared with other aeroponic greenhouses, Aleinu’s harvest is three times more abundant, according to Kabakov.

The 25 different greens and herbs — such as basil, lettuce, kale, arugula, parsley, chives, thyme, sage, mint and oregano – are certified insect-free and meet stringent international quality standards.

aleinu-founder Israel Agriculture

Seeds are sown one by one mechanically in blocks of sterile mineral wool (made from recycled industrial waste), which are placed in long plastic troughs (conduits) with holes.

Resting on a computer-controlled dynamic “field” of conveyor belts, the troughs are close together at first. As the plants grow, the distance between the troughs automatically adjusts as they move gradually from the planting end to the final harvesting end of the field.

aleinu-troughs Israel Agriculture

Misty air circulates inside of the troughs, providing the roots with water, nutrients and oxygen. Sensors in the field alert operators to any nutrient imbalances that can be corrected quickly by computer. A wet corrugated wall opposite a wall of fans keeps the entire space humid.

“In this controlled environment, the plants grow more quickly,” Brinn explains. “They have smaller roots because they get all the nutrition they need from above and can use their energy to grow upward.”

An overhead platform travels across the dynamic field, enabling just one or two workers — Brinn calls them “herbal cowboys” – to tend the troughs and crops as needed from above, so little floor space is wasted on walkways. Propellers mounted on the moving platform suck up bugs from the plants into huge nets.

aleinu-watering Israel Agriculture

Far fewer insects are attracted to an industrial rooftop than to a conventional farm. Aleinu uses natural pesticides sparingly, mostly relying on a patented system of various physical obstacles to prevent insects from coming into contact with the plants.

For now, the model farm sells three million packages of produce per year in Israeli supermarket chains.

However, Kabakov hopes that once people become more familiar with the Aleinu brand and mission, he will be able to establish a direct-to-consumer sales network. Only by shortening the time from field to plate can the vitamins in veggies be preserved, he tells ISRAEL21c.

An applied mathematician whose grandfather was a farmer, Kabakov envisions satellite locations and mini home and school versions of his farm supplying Israeli households with fresh-picked, locally grown,virtually bug-free and chemical-free produce.

aleinu-sticky Israel Agriculture

“Neighbors, families and friends can get together and turn rooftops, yards, balconies and even flights of stairs into sustainable urban mini-farms. Our technology and equipment are safe, user-friendly and easily accessible,” says Kabakov.

Aleinu offers workshops for professional farmers and others interested in starting aeroponic farms.

Kabakov welcomes inquiries from abroad and can provide tours in English, Hebrew, Russian or French. The day before ISRAEL21c visited, he hosted a delegation from China eager to learn more about his made-in-Israel technologies.

“We have four patents, and everything you see was made by our hands,” he says. “We continue to innovate new technologies in our R&D center.”

By Israel21C

Read more about: aeroponics, Aleinu, environment, Israeli agriculture, organic vegetables, rooftop farm, Social Action, urban farm document.write(“”);

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