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.

View the original article here

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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ReGen Villages: Behind the Design of Self-Sustaining Eco-Communities – Sustainable Brands

The first Regen Village is scheduled to open this summer in Almere, The Netherlands, with 100 homes. | Images credit: EFFEKT

ReGen Villages is a tech-integrated real estate development company with purpose. The Dutch holding company, in collaboration with Danish architecture firm EFFEKT, was founded by serial entrepreneur James Ehrlich, who describes his brand as “engineering and facilitating the development of off-grid, integrated and resilient neighbourhoods that power and feed self-reliant families around the world.”

The model takes a holistic approach, combining innovative technologies that include energy-positive homes, renewable energy and energy storage, door-step high-yield organic food production, vertical farming, aquaponics/aeroponics, water management and waste-to-resource systems.

As EFFEKT co-founder Sinus Lynge recently told Stuff: “We like to think of ReGen as the Tesla of ecovillages. We want to make it easy, convenient and accessible to choose a sustainable lifestyle off the grid. We are simply applying already existing technologies into an integrated community design, providing clean energy, water and food right off your doorstep.”

The first Regen Village is scheduled to open this summer in Almere, The Netherlands, with 100 homes, followed by sites across Northern Europe in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Further plans include the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, MENA, Malaysia, India, China, parts of Africa, the U.S. and Canada.

We recently spoke with Ehrlich to learn more about his concept for sustainable community living. First, how scalable is the current model and what’s been the biggest challenge to date?

“ReGen Villages is globally scalable, based on our years of research and now corroborated by the viral spread of our brand and concept that has spread to almost every corner of the planet,” Ehrlich said. “Scaling is not a matter of physics, so therefore anything is possible. Rather, all of the technologies, materials, components and design thinking are already proven, even if many of them have not yet been fully integrated with the others.

“Our greatest challenges will always be with the status quo, where government regulations (national, provincial, municipal) must be addressed with a new kind of forward thinking that puts the planet and people first,” he added. “Then we must compel the traditional real estate development, construction, material and labor conglomerates to look upon our redefinition of residential housing development through a new lens of profit through proliferation of doing things in a better way.”

While ReGen chose Almere for its upper-middleclass potential, the bigger prize is in developing countries as billions migrate from rural communities in search of better living conditions. Half the world’s population lives in cities today and projections are that 2.5 billion people will be moving to cities in the next 50 years.

“Our intent from the very beginning is global scale, and bringing thriving, regenerative and resilient platform design thinking into peri-urban and rural areas where it’s frankly needed the most,” Ehrlich said. “With the inclusion of high broadband access into each ReGen Villages, along with other managed services at the neighborhood scale, it is our ambition to encourage families to stay in their local villages, and eventually to attract city dwellers back into these areas, where we believe this is the base case for the future of humanity.”

ReGen Villages says its model “retrofits with local supply of all resources that will lift burdens on struggling municipal governments at both ends of the population spectrum.” We asked Ehrlich to elaborate.

“After the past several years of research, traveling all around the world, we discovered the same exact issues wherever we landed – the rural areas are emptying out and the big cities are overcrowding,” he said. “In the rural areas, the issues are profound in the loss of tax base and even demolition of infrastructure – where usually only elderly, very young and immigrant populations are residing. Conversely, the cities are being over burdened by populations they can’t possibly employ, house, power and feed, and deal with the externalaties of these populations falling directly into poverty.

“ReGen Villages is a steam valve to building regenerative and self-reliant small communities around the peri-urban and eventually rural areas that, in the aggregate, will reduce burdens on government through production of clean water, energy, food and waste mitigation.

“ReGen Villages also intends to bring curriculum and other managed services to each community through broadband Internet access, visiting researcher and scholar programs and developing new economic models, eventually – out of innovation labs that teach residents how to start thinking creatively and differently about their own self worth between themselves in community and expressed perhaps outward to the world.”

The company is raising monies from sovereign wealth funds looking to divest from fossil fuels into impact- and knowledge-based investments. ReGen acquires suitable land in collaboration with national and local municipalities and contracts with local architecture, construction and engineering firms to optimize village models to local environs.

We asked Ehrlich if his brand is selling a model or a consciousness – or both?

“Our brand is all about living close to nature in new ways that just make sense,” he told us. “Absolutely we represent a movement – a global subconscious epiphany, if you will – where families want to live in abundance and with agency to healthy and clean food, water, energy and mitigated waste into resources.

“ReGen Villages has hit a very powerful nerve with people who are searching for a better way of life that makes them feel secure in all these areas of regenerative living and more,” he asserted, “to feel connected to each other in multi-generational communities where the cycle of life is celebrated and people know what real hope and joy is all about.”

Sheila Shayon, President of Third Eye Media, is a senior media executive with twenty five plus years in television and new media including expertise in programming, production, broadband, start-up models, creative and branding strategies, digital content and social networking. 

[Read more about Sheila Shayon]

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New York to get the world's biggest vertical farm which can produce 2m pounds of food a year – Daily Mail

The US loses at least 1.5 million acres of productive farmland to urbanization every year.

In order to combat the loss of land, AeroFarms builds indoor vertical farms and is set to open its ninth facility in Newark, New Jersey – one hour outside of Manhattan.

Believed to be the world’s largest vertical farm, this 70,000-square-foot facility has the potential to harvest 2 million pounds of food a year and will use 95 percent less water than field farmed-food.

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In order to combat the loss of land, AeroFarms builds indoor vertical farms and is set to open its ninth facility in Newark, New Jersey – one hour outside of Manhattan. Dubbed the world’s largest vertical farm, this 70,000-square-foot facility has the potential to harvest 2 million pounds of food a year

AeroFarms has been on a mission to combat the global food crisis since 2004 using its aeroponic growing systems.

This technology providers ‘faster harvest cycles, predictable results, superior food safety and less environmental impact,’ AeroFarms explains on the website.

Not only will this massive farm produce millions of pounds of nutritious greens and herbs, it will produce 75 percent more yield than a traditional outdoor farm that is the same size, reports Urbanist.

AeroFarms is able to achieve this by staggering crops, a strategy that allows them to switch between 22 crops per year – regardless of the season.

The cutting-edge farming systems that are used in all of the facilities do not contribute to the effects of soil erosion, pesticides, water overuse and carbon emissions are heavily reduced – and sometimes completely eliminated. 

The facility in Newark will be be 70,000-square-foot with the potential to harvest 2 million pounds of food a year and will use 95 percent less water than field farmed-food.

Specialized LED lights and climate controls have been specifically designed to grow a 250 variety of greens, all without the need for sunlight or soil.

These unique lights allow AeroFarms to control size, shape, texture, colour, flavor and nutrition of the leafy greens and herbs grown in the facilities.

AeroFarms uses aeroponic growing systems that mist the roots of the greens with 40% less hydroponics and zero pesticides.

Plant scientists monitor more than 30,000 data points from every harvest at each facility.

During this event, researchers will review, test and use predictive analytics to better improve the systems.

The firm has also developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing and harvesting.

Each cloth is developed using 24 post-consumer, recycled plastic water bottles, which can be fully sanitized after every harvest.

AeroFarms is able to achieve this by staggering crops, a strategy that allows them to switch between 22 crops per year during, including baby kale, regardless of the season. The aeroponic system is a closed loop system, using 95% less water than field farming, 40% less than hydroponics, and zero pesticides AeroFarms is able to achieve this by staggering crops, a strategy that allows them to switch between 22 crops per year during, including baby kale, regardless of the season. The aeroponic system is a closed loop system, using 95% less water than field farming, 40% less than hydroponics, and zero pesticides

Specialized LED lights and climate controls have been specifically designed to grow a 250 variety of greens, all without the need for sunlight or soil.

These unique lights allow AeroFarms to control size, shape, texture, colour, flavor and nutrition of the leafy greens and herbs grown in the facilities.

‘We use aeroponics to mist the roots of our greens with nutrients, water, and oxygen,’ explains AeroFarms.

‘Our aeroponic system is a closed loop system, using 95% less water than field farming, 40% less than hydroponics, and zero pesticides.’

The facility is getting closer to completion after a year of construction and the firm is opening up areas that are ready for operation. 

The aisles are filled with tall shelves that can only be accessed using a forklift crane and farmers must suit up before getting close to the produce – gloves, lab coat hairnet and disinfected shoes are mandatory attire. 

‘We are building the world’s largest indoor vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey, and we have farms in development on four continents,’ said AeroFarms.

‘There has never been a greater need for safe, dependable, nutritious food.’

‘That is why we are committed to growing locally on a global scale.’

The firm says the proximity to Manhattan will cut costs for transportation and holds a large market that is eager for fresh locally grown produce.

Plant scientists monitor more than 30,000 data points from every harvest at each facility.

During this event, researchers will review, test and use predictive analytics to better improve the systems.

‘With remote monitoring and controls in place, we have minimized the typical risks associated with traditional agriculture,’ explained AeroFarms.

The firm has also developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing and harvesting.

The firm uses specialized LED lights and climate controls, all without the need for sunlight or soil. These unique lights allow AeroFarms to control size, shape, texture, colour, flavor and nutrition of the leafy greens and herbs grown in the facilities The firm uses specialized LED lights and climate controls, all without the need for sunlight or soil. These unique lights allow AeroFarms to control size, shape, texture, colour, flavor and nutrition of the leafy greens and herbs grown in the facilities

'We are building the world's largest indoor vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey, and we have farms in development on four continents,' said AeroFarms. The firm says the proximity to Manhattan will cut costs for transportation and holds a large market that is eager for fresh locally grown produce ‘We are building the world’s largest indoor vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey, and we have farms in development on four continents,’ said AeroFarms. The firm says the proximity to Manhattan will cut costs for transportation and holds a large market that is eager for fresh locally grown produce

Each cloth is developed using 24 post-consumer, recycled plastic water bottles, which can be fully sanitized after every harvest.

This system also acts as a barrier between the mist and the plants, allowing the firm to harvest a clean, dry and ready to eat product. 

AeroFarms is able to grow over 250 different varieties of leafy greens and herbs, which they has has a longer shelf life and highest highest possible food safety controls from seed to package.

Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oshima (left) laid out the reasons why New Jersey is the perfect place to grow our company and even had governer Chris Christie (left center) stop in for a visit. Oshima (right) also took visitors on a tour of the new facility in Newark sometime in March 2016, dressed in the proper mandatory attire Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oshima (left) laid out the reasons why New Jersey is the perfect place to grow our company and even had governer Chris Christie (left center) stop in for a visit. Oshima (right) also took visitors on a tour of the new facility in Newark sometime in March 2016, dressed in the proper mandatory attire Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oshima (left) laid out the reasons why New Jersey is the perfect place to grow our company and even had governer Chris Christie (left center) stop in for a visit. Oshima (right) also took visitors on a tour of the new facility in Newark sometime in March 2016, dressed in the proper mandatory attire

AeroFarms has been on a mission to combat the global food crisis since 2004 using its aeroponic growing systems. It has also developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing and harvesting  The aisles are filled with tall shelves that can only be accessed using a forklift crane and farmers must suit up before getting close to the produce AeroFarms has been on a mission to combat the global food crisis since 2004 using its aeroponic growing systems. It has also developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing and harvesting  The aisles are filled with tall shelves that can only be accessed using a forklift crane and farmers must suit up before getting close to the produce AeroFarms has been on a mission to combat the global food crisis since 2004 using its aeroponic growing systems. It has also developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing and harvesting  The aisles are filled with tall shelves that can only be accessed using a forklift crane and farmers must suit up before getting close to the produce

The firm doesn’t just aims to make up for the farm loss in the US, but help combat the global food shortage.

The World Bank predicts that there will be a global population of 9 billion by 2050, which will require at least 50 percent more food than is needed today.

And climate change is also expected to cut crop yields by more than 25 percent over this time period, which is said to hit the poorest areas of the world the hardest. 

AeroFarms is able to grow over 250 different varieties of leafy greens and herbs, which they has has a longer shelf life and highest highest possible food safety controls from seed to package. Plant scientists monitor more than 30,000 data points from every harvest at each facility. During this event, researchers will review, test and use predictive analytics to better improve the systems AeroFarms is able to grow over 250 different varieties of leafy greens and herbs, which they has has a longer shelf life and highest highest possible food safety controls from seed to package. Plant scientists monitor more than 30,000 data points from every harvest at each facility. During this event, researchers will review, test and use predictive analytics to better improve the systems

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Southern Ag Center researchers look to vertical farms to end food desert – The Advocate

 

 Photo provided by the Southern University Ag Center -- James Henson, left, and Marlin Ford set up an aeroponics system at the Southern University Ag Center. The researchers say vertical farming could provide a solution to food deserts, areas where residents lack access to fresh food Photo provided by the Southern University Ag Center — James Henson, left, and Marlin Ford set up an aeroponics system at the Southern University Ag Center. The researchers say vertical farming could provide a solution to food deserts, areas where residents lack access to fresh food BY TED GRIGGS| tgriggs@theadvocate.com

 

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