First AeroFarms Unit Installed This Week in Jeddah
AeroFarms will incorporate a water vapor harvester from AWG. It literally squeezes water from air.
By Susan Kraemer
January 24th, 2011
AeroFarms, a company whose vertical skyscraper farming idea we have covered before, is now beginning to introduce a new way of farming to the Middle East that could have as radical an effect on the future of our food supply, as when we switched to farming from hunting and gathering. This will be a very major change.This week AeroFarm’s first unit has just been installed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the support and partnership of Saudi Arabia’s Sheikh Saleh Boqshan, who is spearheading the project.
Instead of soil, and sunshine, AeroFarms employs aeroponic farming technology, that can work inside buildings in cities. Because of the rise of mega cities in the 21st century, with 80% of us expected to be living in large cities by 2050, this alone makes for a sustainable farming technology.
Seeds are sown into a light weight porous support that is open to air so that the plants can be sprayed with a mist of water and nutrients. The structural growing medium cloth can be reused again and again. The mist itself is recycled too, so there is no run-off, like in traditional farming.
Because aeroponic farms can be sited literally anywhere at all – inside buildings: even multistory buildings without any sunlight at all – it dramatically cuts the carbon costs of transporting food from distant farmlands to city dwellers.
Aerofarms – Now in Jeddah
According to The DeLeon Group, Inc (USA) and Adawat International (KSA), the first Aerofarms unit has arrived in Jeddah, KSA and has been planted.
In addition, an AWG International water unit has been incorporated to collect water from humidity in the air, thus enabling the farm to maximize water usage and recollect water vapor that would normally be lost.
The Jeddah farming facility will serve as a showplace for the Middle East in what is hoped to be the first of several sustainable farms. Saudi Arabia was choosen as the first site for the new technology due to the generous support and partnership of Sheikh Saleh Boqshan who is spearheading the project in conjunction with Mr. Saleh Bawazir the General Manager of Adawat International Corporation.
“Our goal is to grow indoors without the use of a greenhouse or sunlight, and to provide 100 percent of our own water by collecting humidity from the air. This is step one. We then want to use solar and wind power to make our farms fully self sustaining. In our opinion the Aerofarms technology represents the best way to accomplish step one of our goals. By the end of 2011 we hope to be growing several varieties of fruits and vegetables at the farm in Jeddah, including, leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers all without soil or sunlight.” said Luke Sestito, The President of The DeLeon Group, Inc. “We have met with 3 governments in the GCC and have given them proposals to setup similar systems in their countries. The reception we have received has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope to have similar model farms in Qatar, Kuwait, and UAE by the end of 2011.”
The Aerofarms unit enables the growing of food indoors using LED lighting and a clothe medium that can be recycled and used to grow over and over again. No greenhouses, sunlight, pesticides, or soil required. In addition by giving the plants light 24 hours per day, and making sure to give the proper photon, in the proper amount, at the proper time, crops can be grown in about 1/2 the time of normal agriculture.The aeroponic aspects of the system enable farmers to maximize water consumption by using less than 10 percent of the water that would be used by traditional agriculture. By coupling this State of the Art growing technology with new air water technology the farms can provide 100 percent of their water, without an external water source.
“The people of Saudi Arabia, and the GCC in general, understand the need to conserve water and find alternative water resources, perhaps better than any other people or any other region, since their supply is limited and the land they can farm is limited. We were privledged to visit Tadco Farm in Tabuk, KSA and see the wonderful work they are doing in growing food for the people of Saudi Arabia, a huge farm cut out of the desert is a tribute to the hard work and genius of the Saudi people. We hope to have a small part in helping the region explore new growing and water collection methods.”, said Sestito.