Hydroponics in Alaska – Growing Over 30 Cultivars Of Leafy Greens and Herbs

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has allowed the human race to survive, thrive and build cities, and farming is still a profession that occupies a large part of the world. Since the earliest of civilizations, agriculture has undergone significant improvements. In comparison to cultivating our own food and livestock, modern agriculture has given us higher yields and extra time to put in into development of other enjoyable and needed products such as phones, computers, automobiles, etc.

BUT. We are seeing a compelling shift.

Because food has become less expensive and takes up a smaller portion of our budget, people are looking at it more intently, particularly the quality of our food and the impact it has on our lives:

Demand for local food has been rapidly increasing. Number of farmers markets has more than quadrupled over the past two decades (Nation wide from 1,755 in 1994 to 8,144 in 2013)According to The Organic & Natural 2014, national syndicated research by the Hartman Group, ” ’local’ is emerging as a category poised to surpass both organic and natural as a symbol of transparency and trust.” (know your farmer)We’ve seen fundamental behavior changes away from big packaged mass-produced foods to locally grown, artisanal and highly nutritious options.

As technology improves even further, the next step in agricultural revolution is growing quality food locally and sustainably on a mass scale. With the rise in environmental consciousness and population growth, controlled environment agriculture (CEA) a.k.a. indoor growing, may be the perfect answer and the next logical step in addressing the latest paradigm shift sustainably.

At Vertical Harvest Hydroponics (VHH), we’ve been experimenting with indoor, hydroponic (soil less) growing inside repurposed shipping containers. We are a company based in Anchorage, Alaska and our goal has been to design smart farming opportunities for the north and remote areas. We use modern technologies and apply it to an ancient practice of traditional farming in order to benefit communities. We are very motivated and excited by the current health trends in this country and our goal is to be a part of the effort on providing and promoting sustainable and healthy living, to everyone, regardless of their geographical location.

Hydroponic kale Hydroponic kale

is housed inside a 40’ insulated shipping container. Why shipping containers? Simply, this design gives us the biggest flexibility of location. This is a turnkey system that allows anyone to grow leafy greens and herbs anywhere, year round.

Since February 2014, we’ve been growing a large variety of crops. We wanted to find out which cultivars grow well in this type of set up and perhaps more importantly, which cultivars can grow on the same environmental controls, i.e. same temperature, pH, nutrient levels, humidity, CO2 levels, etc. By experimenting with environmental set points and crop types, we were able to grow over 30 different cultivars, and at various times, 15 or more cultivars simultaneously. Without being specific to cultivars, here are some of the varieties that we grew:

How would you like to see these greens grown right in your community?

Reduce the supply chain from weeks to hoursFrom farm to your table, just in time for lunch or dinnerEat food that’s still alive – that’s superior nutritionProduce that is grown without pesticides using non-GMO seedsRich flavor profiles, superior freshness, locally-grown greens

It is estimated that 2/3 of all the produce we eat can be grown indoors. Imagine the possibilities! At VHH we believe that Alaska is one of the states that can benefit the most from a reliable internal food source  – thus we must be on the forefront of the “growing local” movement. While our primary business model is to manufacture growing systems, we will continue experimenting to help with advancing the indoor growing techniques and to promote locally grown food.

Questions, comments? Please send them our way!

As always, to your health!

The team at VHH

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