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AeroFarms – It Takes Guts

Touch the Soil News #843 (Feature photo – AeroFarms Headquarters – courtesy of AeroFarms) AeroFarms holds title to the largest indoor farm in the world. AeroFarms grows without sun or soil in a fully controlled indoor environment. Their larger plan is to build large indoor growing facilities near major highways and large cities – around the world. According to AeroFarms, they have indoor farms under development in several states and on four continents. It appears that news will be forthcoming on these new developments. AeroFarms made Inc. Magazine’s list for one of the top 25 most Disruptive Companies for 2017. AeroFarms’ flagship facility is in Newark, New Jersey. Newark is…

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An Unlikely Player in the Food Business

Touch the Soil News #627 (feature photo – Panasonic vegetables under its Veggie Life brand – courtesy of Panasonic) Mention the name Panasonic and we all think electronics and lighting. This global electronics company headquartered in Osaka, Japan employs about 250,000 people. Rapidly gaining momentum in the food industry is indoor farming, vertical farming or controlled environment agriculture. When you look at food from these angles, several things stick out – high tech, electronics, and lighting. Three years ago Panasonic decided to build a controlled environment food system in Singapore. Singapore is a small country that is almost all city and asphalt with virtually no agriculture. At the time, the…

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Millions of Dollars for Shipping Container Farming

Touch the Soil News #562 Agricool – a French container farming startup – wants to change global food, one shipping container at a time. The company announced it has raised $4.3 million from French venture capital firms to build out shipping containers into high-tech hydroponic farms. Agricool intends to use the money to build 75 enclosed hydroponic containers designed to grow strawberries. The goal is to install these 75 hydroponic containers around Paris in 2017 and produce about 91 tons of strawberries. Hydroponic farm freight containers from Corner-Stalk Farms. The four containers were purchased from Freight Farms and are located in Boston, Massachusetts (photo courtesy of Freight Farms and Corner…

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Urban Seed – Big Plans for Las Vegas

Touch the Soil News #455 Urban Seed, a Las Vegas enterprise, wishes to launch a worldwide farming revolution while making Las Vegas an environmentally responsible source of high-end produce. Last week, the management team – a group of 10 highly experienced professionals in business, finance, horticulture and culinary arts – broke ground on a campus of 7 greenhouses. The greenhouses will have an incandescent green glow which will make them visible from the Las Vegas strip. The new campus will also include a production studio, commercial kitchen and event space. At the heart of the operation will be the hydroponic greenhouses which Urban Seed says will be run and managed…

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Philips (lighting manufacturer) Challenges Food Production Approach

Touch the Soil News #396 Producer of all things light bulbs, Philips, built one of the world’s largest research facilities in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Philips is experimenting and testing all different ranges of light waves and their impact on increasing food production yields. Alongside the technological advances in lighting, Philips is also testing growing mediums, plant adaption and indoor controlled environments. It is no accident that Philips chose the city of Eindhoven as the location of the facility – which boasts 2,500 square feet of controlled growing surface for its research. In 2011, the Eindhoven region was named the world’s Most Intelligent Community – due to its focus on fostering…

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Vertical Farming – Plant Factories – Controlled Environments

Touch the Soil News #287 While most folks wait for spring to start gardening, a small number of people – often with significant financial backing – are entering the arena of controlled environment farming. Farming inside is not simple. One must buy buildings, retrofit the interiors, use expensive high-tech lighting, labor, get the right environmental management and on and on. Let’s just say a million dollars does not go far if you want to commercialize and produce in volume. What the controlled environment farming entrepreneurs are betting on is increasing demand for: Food that is grown consistently Food that is grown locally Food that can be grown year-round Food that…

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One of the World’s Largest Electronics Companies – Entering the Food and Agriculture Arena

Touch the Soil News #240 Fujitsu of Japan, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, is known for its tablet PCs, notebooks, telecommunications equipment and semiconductors. Fujitsu has 159,000 employees worldwide and serves customers in over 100 countries. Founded in 1935, the company now enjoys roughly $40 billion in annual revenues. In recent years, demand for Fujitsu’s semiconductors has softened and left the company with extra industrial space. What to do with it came rather naturally – grow food. They were able to use the super clean rooms in which semi-conductors were manufactured to create space for clean vegetables. Trays of soil-less lettuces are fed via nutrient rich water. At…

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