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Category — Aeroponics

At MIT, A Farm Grows That Is Built For A City


CityFarm is a soil-free system for urban farming that actually might work

Fast Coexist
Oct 1, 2014

CityFarm started as a 60-square-foot module inside MIT’s Media Lab, where Harper grew lettuce, herbs, and tomatoes in a windowless room bathed in blue and red artificial light–the part of the sun’s spectrum that plants can actually absorb. The system had no soil. Some plants were grown hydroponically and others aeroponically in a simple mist. Both methods require far less water–as much as 90% less–compared to a conventional farm. More recently, Harper began experimenting with an even bigger system in the building, which is also meant to test whether sunlight exposure helps or hurts the crops.

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October 9, 2014   No Comments

Atlanta-based PodPonics grows greens in shipping containers

CBS46 News

Lettuce Buy Local currently includes three product varieties of delicate local greens:

Green Mix – green romaine and green lollo
Encore Mix – green romaine, green lollo and red lollo
Dragon Mix – baby mustard, red kale, purple kohlrabi, mizuna, red cabbage (in stores summer 2014)
Jurassic Mix – baby kale (available in stores fall 2014)
Rocket Mix – arugula (available in stores fall 2014)

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October 9, 2014   No Comments

City Farm at MIT – Open source food

One MIT scientist hopes to farm without soil for city life

By Mona Lalwani
The Verge
August 27, 2014
(Must see. Mike)

At MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Caleb Harper’s CityFARM demonstrates the future of food production. He grows plants through aeroponics, a system that produces plants without soil. Plants are hooked up to servers and misting mechanisms. LEDs fill in for the sun and ladybugs (purchased on Amazon) occasionally make an appearance. Plants are periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist that provides optimal pH balance. Light and temperatures are closely monitored. The environment nurtures plants that have twice the nutrient density of their conventional counterparts. Lettuce, bok choy, and tomatoes have already fed the scientists in the lab.

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August 31, 2014   Comments Off

Panasonic ventures into farming in Singapore, a land-scarce city-state

panaClick on image for larger file.

It aims to contribute five per cent to local supply by March 2017.

By Medilyn Manibo
Aug 8, 2014


The vegetables, produced within a 248 square metre indoor facility in Tuas, includes green lettuce, white radish, rocket lettuce, basil, mint herb, wild parsley, baby spinach.

Both leafy vegetables and root crops are currently cultivated within 35 days in soil-based environment and sustained with artificial lighting using LED lights. Panasonic said it is continuing its research and development to shorten the lead time to 28 days.

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August 8, 2014   Comments Off

Tech entrepreneurs set their sights on urban farming

Growing indoors uses 98% less water and 70% less fertilizer than traditional methods, and has a higher yield. Photo: Rex Features.

As emerging lighting and automation technology plant the seeds for urban farming, a growing number of entrepreneurs are getting green thumbs

By Martin LaMonica
5 July 2014


So far, indoor farms still contribute little to the global food system because production costs are higher than conventional growing methods. And they tend to use more electricity. But businesses are starting take advantage of new technologies, including energy-efficient LED lighting and automated systems, to bring down costs. As these technologies become standardized, indoor farming will make sense in more locations, says Chad Sykes, CEO of Indoor Harvest, which builds custom indoor farms for professional growers.

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July 23, 2014   Comments Off

Home Gardeners Are Trying Aquaponics to Produce Trout or Tilapia - aquaponics 2

We work with dozens of schools that are using Aquaponics as teaching tools from kindergarten through university.

By Sylvia Bernstein
June 23, 2014

What could be better than growing fresh organic produce in your own urban garden? What if that same garden also provided a regular supply of fresh, organically fed Trout or Tilapia? Although it may sound like science fiction, there are thousands of gardeners around North America and world doing exactly this with a new type of urban gardening, called Aquaponics.

Aquaponics is, at its core, a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. In other words, growing plants without water and raising fish for food. The two sets of organisms benefit each other in these nearly closed-loop systems. The fish are fed organic food and, in turn, their waste becomes food for the hydroponically grown plants. The plants act as filters for the water, which ensures that the fish stay healthy and happy in their tanks. Beyond these two core components, composting worms and bacteria also play important roles by converting waste in the system into usable nutrients.

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July 1, 2014   Comments Off

Urban farms one solution for ailing food system, Colorado agriculture activist says

Evan Premer, owner of Aero Farm Co. in Lakewood, Colorado. Photo appeared in Modern Farmer.

Olson says banks will eventually lend money to urban farmers — if they see examples of urban agriculture success.

Elaine Grant
Colorado Public Radio
June 18, 2014


Now Olson wants to prove that farmers — specifically of what he calls “high-value” leafy green crops like kale, Swiss chard, and spinach — can grow produce more efficiently in urban greenhouses than on large rural farms. Consequently, they can make a better living, he says. Olson says a farmer makes about $1500 harvesting an acre of commodity corn; a grower of organic corn may make $15,000 from an acre harvest. In contrast, he claims an urban farmer growing leafy greens vertically in a greenhouse can earn a quarter of a million dollars in revenue per acre.

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June 28, 2014   Comments Off

No Sun, No Soil, No Problem: Eat an Indoor Farm Salad

MIT Media Lab City Science Initiative – cities media Caleb Harper.

The project’s last harvest fed the entire Media Lab (a collective of research groups consisting of several hundred people).

By Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow
Next City |
May 20, 2014


As opposed to conventional soil-based crops, or hydroponics, which sit in troughs of water, the roots of aeroponically grown crops just hang in the air below the plants. Hidden by a shiny heat shield, the roots are long and tannish-white, messy and hairy; when Harper lifts the heat shield to show me, they look a little naked. They are periodically misted with water that contains carefully doled out nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, as well as micro-nutrients such as copper and magnesium.

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May 30, 2014   Comments Off

Grown in Detroit, but not in the ground: The next evolution of urban agriculture

Herb beds at CDC farm & fishery.

In the building’s basement are several large tanks holding approximately 4,500 tilapia fish in various stages of growth

By Matthew Lewis
Model Media
May 20, 2014


ust south of Detroit’s Boston Edison neighborhood — ironically positioned across from a “you buy, we fry” fish joint — is the first functioning commercial aquaponics operation within the city of Detroit, Central Detroit Christian’s (CDC) Farm and Fishery.

Not only is CDC Farm and Fishery the city’s first functioning aquaponics operation, it’s also the first agriculture business to receive a special land use permit authorized under the city’s recently adopted Urban Agriculture Ordinance.

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May 28, 2014   Comments Off

Philips’ City Farming

Philips & Green Sense Farms usher in new era of indoor farming with LED ‘light recipes’ that help optimize crop yield and quality

Philips Press Release
May 9, 2014
Must see. Mike

Somerset, NJ – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG AEX: PHIA), the global leader in lighting, has partnered with Green Sense Farms (GSF), a Chicago-area commercial grower, to develop one of the largest indoor commercial farms using LED grow lights tailored to their specific crops. This innovative farming model allows them to harvest 20-25 times a year by using ‘light recipes’ optimized for their produce, using 85 percent less energy. The result will be an increase in crop yields and reduced operating costs, while providing consumers with locally grown, fresh vegetables throughout the year.

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May 15, 2014   Comments Off

The Economist: Two MIT groups working on solving indoor urban farming challenges

Grove Labs.

Whether plants are grown inside or outside, high-rises that are self-sufficient in food are still some way off.

By M. H.
Apr 29th 2014


At MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, two groups are tackling the problem from different directions. The CityFarm initiative at MIT’s Media Lab wants to add large vertical farms to existing buildings. Caleb Harper, CityFarm’s founder, envisages retro-fitting office blocks with glazed ‘plant factories’ many stories high but only a few feet deep. The farms would use natural sunlight but also LED lights tuned to emit only the red and blue wavelengths of light that plants need for photosynthesis. The plants would be grown either hydroponically, in shallow troughs of water with minerals added, or aeroponically, suspended in a fine mist of water that delivers all the necessary nutrients. Aeroponic plants require sophisticated pumps and control systems but waste very little water, are less susceptible to diseases, and easier to automate. Internal lifts would move the crops up or down for planting and harvesting.

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May 10, 2014   Comments Off

St. Paul urban farm can turn out 1-million pounds of produce/year

Local produce manager says, “We’ll take everything they can produce.”

By Tim Sherno
Apr. 10, 2014


The former Hamm’s Brewery in St. Paul is producing again, but not what you think.
A farm has moved into the building that has been vacant since 1997. Dave Haider is one of the co-founders of Urban Organic, the new occupant of the Hamm’s Brewery says when his farm is up to full potential it will ship an impressive amount of fresh produce. “We can turn out about 1-million pounds of organic produce each year.”

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May 2, 2014   Comments Off

Aljazeera reports on Gotham Greens and Bright Farms


See news video about the rooftop growers.

Companies are growing crops on rooftops and in warehouses in an attempt to fill a growing demand for local produce.

By Kristen Saloomey
Al Jazeera
22 Apr 2014

Urban farms are sprouting up in US cities that are not known for agriculture.

Rooftops and warehouses are being used to grow local, sustainably produced food.

Many stores in New York get their produce from the country’s west coast, which means a lot of items are already a week old before they hit store shelves in the east.

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April 25, 2014   Comments Off

Aquaponics Brings Fish to Farm to Table in Tampa, Florida

aquasustThe New Auqaponics System At Sustainable Living Project. Photo by Julie Branaman.

“The purpose of having several different grow systems is to show people as many different ways as possible to grow things.”

By Jan Hollingsworth
83 Degrees
March 18, 2014


Will Carey has spent most of his life feeding people — first as a chef, later as executive director of Tampa Bay Harvest, an organization that gleans and distributes farm and restaurant food that would otherwise be thrown away.

But these days he’s also committed to teaching people to feed themselves, a mission ripe for fruition as the urban farming movement takes root in cities across the nation.

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March 25, 2014   Comments Off

Former school building’s football field and playground converted to vegetable garden in Iowa

Stephen Kalina (left) and Mike Elwick look at the growth progress of tomato plants at Old School Produce Company in Vinton, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG TV9).

Vinton, Iowa man gets an education in urban farming

By Deborah Neyens
The Gazette
30 January 2014


“I had no plan for it,” Elwick admitted. “I bought it because it was a great old building with great exposure right in the middle of town. But then it became a question of now that I own it, what am I going to do with it?”

In researching local zoning ordinances, Elwick noted that one permissive use was truck garden. Although he “didn’t know anything about gardening,” he was drawn to the idea of joining the local food movement and converting the old football field and playground into an urban farm to grow and sell vegetables.

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February 11, 2014   Comments Off