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Category — Hydroponics

UK: From Forgotten London WWII Tunnels To Urban Farm: Q&A With Growing Underground

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Micro greens up close. Photo from Growing Underground.

We’re using food as something to break down barriers and engage in your local community, rather than just being a producer in the middle of nowhere

By Brittany Lane
Unreasonable
Jan 26, 2017

Excerpt:

When you discovered the tunnels, do you remember realizing the potential opportunity here? What did that feel like?

S: I remember the phone call to the guy at Transport for London when I said we want to meet and rent your tunnels. He was like, “You can’t do a nightclub.” We said we don’t want to; we want to build a farm. And I think at that point he was like, what? He literally came out a couple of days later and met us. They were really forward thinking and supportive.

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June 14, 2017   No Comments

Beijing, China: Meet the Company Building Farms in Parking Structures

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Alesca Life creates solutions that enable anyone anywhere to grow the safest, healthiest and freshest produce. Our flagship product is a completely self-contained and automated growing system housed within a ISO-standard 40-foot shipping container.

By Lizzy Schultz
Agwired
Jun 2, 2017

Excerpt:

Stuart Oda previously worked as an investment banker before serving as a co-founder of Alesca Life, a Beijing-based agriculture technology company that builds weather-proof, cloud-connected farms in order to enable local food production by anyone, anywhere.

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June 9, 2017   No Comments

Has This Silicon Valley Startup Finally Nailed The Indoor Farming Model?

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“We’re working to ensure that all of our food gets to the store within hours, and not days or weeks.” [Photo: courtesy Plenty]

That day at Google’s cafeteria, I tasted something different. True and vibrant flavors, textures like I’m used to in field-raised greens and fruits, unusual varieties I’d only expect from really savvy growers.

By Adele Peters
Fast Company
May 18, 2017

Excerpt:

The company plans to build its farms next to large cities, but not directly inside, to best fit in existing supply chains that have distribution centers on city limits. “If you want to be delivering a large amount of super-amazing tasting produce to a large grocery store in the middle of a city, you want to be in the distribution center that feeds that grocery store,” Barnard says. “Because otherwise, it’s going to go back out of the city to the distribution center and then back to the store. And now you’ve cost [yourself] hours and maybe even a day or two. The promise that we’re making to customers is that it’s literally days faster.”

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May 24, 2017   Comments Off on Has This Silicon Valley Startup Finally Nailed The Indoor Farming Model?

How tech-enabled urban farms can work for Singapore

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Comcrop – Singapore. A 6,000-square-foot urban farm on a downtown rooftop. Click on image for larger file.

How would an urban farm here commercialise and scale up?

By Paul Teng & Christopher Vas
The Newspaper
May 13, 2017

Excerpt:

Consumer data collected by researchers at Murdoch Singapore from markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia showed that consumption of high-value leafy and non-leafy vegetables and fruits by these urban populations is on the rise and likely to grow by over 20 per cent in the future.

Plus, some of these markets were found to be not price sensitive. Instead, they are more focused on getting nutritious, safe and certified products.

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May 22, 2017   Comments Off on How tech-enabled urban farms can work for Singapore

Is Boston the next urban farming paradise?

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Freight Farms has spread north from Boston to Canada, and Pope says there are over just over 100 of the company’s container farms operating in the US alone.

By Oset Babur
The Guardian
Apr 16, 2017

Excerpt:

Freight Farms has spread north from Boston to Canada, and Pope says there are over just over 100 of the company’s container farms operating in the US alone. The company outfits each 40-ft container with the equipment for the entire farming cycle, from germination to harvest. This set of equipment, which the company calls Leafy Green Machine (LGM), creates a hydroponic system, a soil-free growing method that uses recirculated water with higher nutrient levels to help plants grow.

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April 24, 2017   Comments Off on Is Boston the next urban farming paradise?

Student’s goal to produce sufficient food to make one salad per week in an apartment environment.

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Rice University team cultivates ideas for indoor farming

By David Roth
Rice University
Apr 11, 2017

Excerpt:

The team achieved its goal to produce sufficient food to make one salad per week for one year, all in an apartment environment. The original prototype was built last November after two months of brainstorming. It’s a much bulkier, space-consuming model and has been moved outdoors to a fenced-in area behind the OEDK. It remains overgrown with sprawling tomato plants, broccoli and Swiss chard.

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April 22, 2017   Comments Off on Student’s goal to produce sufficient food to make one salad per week in an apartment environment.

Growing produce in space is closer than we think

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Chuck Spern, a project engineer with Vencore on the Engineering Services Contract, removes a base tray containing zinnias from a controlled environment chamber in the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Flowering plants will help scientists learn more about growing crops for deep-space missions and NASA’s journey to Mars. (NASA/Bill White)

“The patent for using LEDs to grow plants was developed through NASA-funded research, and this was in 1990”

By Torah Kachur,
CBC News
Apr 06, 2017

Excerpt:

Generally pretty small at this point. The ISS has a 0.15-square-metre growth chamber. Clearly not enough to feed them, but enough to look at the feasibility of upscaling it.

The reality is the growth chambers that may one day exist on the moon or on Mars aren’t that much different from what we already see on Earth. In particular, hydroponics have been a huge focus of space-farmers.

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April 13, 2017   Comments Off on Growing produce in space is closer than we think

$500,000 from the National Science Foundation goes to urban agriculture research

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In addition to his work studying recycled nutrients in the soil of the community garden, professor Chip Small studies the same phenomenon in hydroponics, where the waste from fish is used to feed aquatic plants. (Photo by Mike Ekern ’02)

“The main focal point of the grant is on the use of nutrients and how to recycle them efficiently.

By Jordan Osterman
St. Thomas Newsroom
April 5, 2017

Excerpt:

“I’ve been asking questions about how efficiently we can recycle nutrients from food waste into new food through composting, coupled with urban agriculture,” Small said. “Something like nearly half the food imported into cities ends up as waste, and we compost maybe 5 percent of that waste. Theoretically that could be scaled up and provide lots of nutrients for urban agriculture.”

Of course, scaling anything up means increasing the amount of everything in play and, when it comes to growing food, that means increasing the amount of phosphorus.

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April 12, 2017   Comments Off on $500,000 from the National Science Foundation goes to urban agriculture research

Meet the budding hydroponic farmer feeding George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia

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Donielle Nolan, Greenhouse and Gardens Specialist, Office of Sustainability. Photo by Evan Cantwell.

In its first year, the Greenhouse supplied Mason’s kitchens with 1,400 pounds of greens, valued at $14,400.

By Buzz McClain
George Mason University
Mar 15, 2017

Excerpt:

The hydroponic garden Nolan oversees conforms to the certified standards required by Mason’s food service provider, Sodexo, to be an official vendor of fresh produce for use in Mason kitchens. In its first year, the Greenhouse supplied Mason’s kitchens with 1,400 pounds of greens, valued at $14,400.

“The goal is 2,000 pounds a year,” Nolan said. That would be valued at $20,000.

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March 16, 2017   Comments Off on Meet the budding hydroponic farmer feeding George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia

Chicago Students Learn To Be Hydroponic Urban Farmers at Schurz Food Science Lab

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The chef and marketing executive’s idea for a high school urban farming program started as a way to prove a restaurant concept.

By Erica Gunderson
WTTW
March 9, 2017

Excerpt:

Friedman: Yields from the Food Lab are often large enough to allow the program to donate herbs and microgreens to a nearby food pantry. And like any farm, increasing yields is a constant focus –whether it’s by adjusting light or fertilizer, testing different grow media or developing a prototype for a rotating growing system. For senior Nathaniel Colon, working in the Food Lab has allowed him to apply some of the problem-solving techniques he’s learned in his pre-engineering classes.

Nathaniel Colon, Schurz senior: We thought of a triangle system that would have different layers. It would be a mist system, it would have LEDs under the trays, so you can access it easier. There’ll be a pipe coming through the middle so it can all recycle back to the reservoir.

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March 16, 2017   Comments Off on Chicago Students Learn To Be Hydroponic Urban Farmers at Schurz Food Science Lab

Bright Farms Hydroponic Greenhouses Move From Urban Farming to Suburban Farming

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After dealing with the high costs and logistical nightmares of developing in urban areas, Bright Farms realized that they could streamline their process by moving just a bit outside the city limits.

By Adele Peters
FastCoexist
Mar 2, 2017

Excerpt:

BrightFarms also has greenhouses in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; Culpeper County, Virginia; and Rochelle, Illinois—all also near, but not in, large cities. The new strategy lets the company avoid the costs and challenges of working on urban sites, while still providing a local version of foods like salad greens that would normally travel thousands of miles.

“Like most good strategies, it was driven by some painful experiences,” Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, tells Co.Exist. “Basically, we had a couple of failures. We tried to develop a giant rooftop of a building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and we also tried to develop an environmentally soiled parcel of land in the city of Washington D.C., owned by the city.”

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March 8, 2017   Comments Off on Bright Farms Hydroponic Greenhouses Move From Urban Farming to Suburban Farming

“Father of Vertical Farming,” Dr. Toyoki Kozai Says ‘Future Promising’

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ICCEA 2017: Dr. Toyoki Kozai’s take on vertical farming.

The most fulfilling project for the next generation of vertical farms is the online estimation of rates of photosynthesis, transpiration (water uptake) and respiration in vertical farms.

By Patrick Williams
Produce Grower
Mar 2, 2016
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpts:

PG: What does the future look like for vertical farming?

TK: It is promising. Commercialization of vertical farms started in Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan since 2010. It is going to be started in the Netherlands this year. Russia has a strong interest in the vertical farming business.

Commercialization of strawberry production in vertical farms started in Japan two years ago. Commercialization of high-wire cherry tomato production has been considered in the Netherlands. Many private companies are interested in the production of medicinal plants in vertical farms.

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March 3, 2017   Comments Off on “Father of Vertical Farming,” Dr. Toyoki Kozai Says ‘Future Promising’

Vertical Farming: Does it Stack Up

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Video published on Feb 28, 2017. Writer:Sam Lemonick. Narrator/Scientific Consultant: Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.

If vertical farming is so great, why isn’t everyone adopting it? Vertical farming has its challenges.

By David Latchman
ChemMatters
Oct/Nov 2016

Excerpt:

Open-field agriculture relies entirely on energy from the sun, so, when it is available, this source of energy is free. Crops grown indoors receive their energy from artificial light sources, which rely on electricity.

Another issue is that the artificial light sources, called grow lamps, emit heat, which can damage plants if they are placed too close to the plants. So the plants need to be spread out, and the indoor space needs to be cooled to compensate for the added heat from the lamps.

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March 2, 2017   Comments Off on Vertical Farming: Does it Stack Up

The view from inside Square Roots’ urban shipping container farms in Brooklyn

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Arugula and mustard greens from Square Roots’ first harvest were on sale for $5 a bag. (Photo by April Joyner)

A month ago, Square Roots, the urban farming accelerator launched by Kimbal Musk and Tobias Peggs, began its yearlong program in the Pfizer Building

By April Joyner
Technically Brooklyn
Dec 19, 2016

Excerpt:

The farmer-entrepreneurs have been given free rein to develop farming and business strategies of their own choosing. The challenge, both Peggs and the program’s participants stressed, is figuring out how to make the economics work. The modular farms, which use technology from Boston-based Freight Farms and Laramie, Wyo.–based Bright Agrotech, cost about $3,000 a month to run, according to participant Jonathan Bernard. But they also produce a relatively high yield, given the space: one farm, for instance, could yield 55,000 mini-heads of lettuce per year, Peggs said. The farming system Square Roots uses allows the participants to yield a weekly harvest once their first crop matures.

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December 27, 2016   Comments Off on The view from inside Square Roots’ urban shipping container farms in Brooklyn

Rooftop hydroponic systems in cities produce vegetables that are cheaper and healthier than rural farms

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Putting roots down on rooftops. (Reuters/Vincent Kessler)

After calculating the cost of building the screenhouse and tanks, rent, labor, utilities, seeds, fertilizer, and other equipment, the team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences South China Botanical Garden and the Zhong Kai University of Agriculture and Engineering found that six out of the seven vegetables were cheaper to produce than to purchase at a local store.

By Kelsey Lindsey
Quartz
Dec 14

Excerpt:

On a 1,600-square-foot-rooftop in Guangzhou, China, 14 hydroponic tanks produce hundreds of pounds of vegetables a year, with a potential profit of over $6,000 annually—almost twice the 2015 annual minimum wage in the city, which has one of the highest monthly minimum wages in the country. The hydroponic tanks are part of study that shows residents and developers in Guangzhou that their rooftop space might be worth some green.

A paper published this past July the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development reports that growing leafy greens in rooftop hydroponic systems can not only produce a steady supply of vegetables—it can also be cheaper than buying store-bought alternatives.

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December 15, 2016   Comments Off on Rooftop hydroponic systems in cities produce vegetables that are cheaper and healthier than rural farms