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LED Lights & Fresh Greens

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Touch the Soil News #422 Quartz News reports that New Jersey-based AeroFarms is shipping arugula, kale and spinach from a farm inside a former Newark nightclub to grocery shelves at the same price as Earthbound – one of the largest organic farms in California. AeroFarms is just putting the finishing touches on what will be the world’s largest vertical farm (feature photo courtesy of AeroFarms – http://aerofarms.com/ Growing food indoors has been an economic challenge, considering the costs of buildings, growing platforms, heating and lights – LED lights to be specific. LED lights represent one of the biggest costs for indoor farming enterprises. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy released…

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Philips (lighting manufacturer) Challenges Food Production Approach

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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

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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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Sundrop Farms’ Greenhouses Boggle the Imagination

photo courtesy of Sundrop Farms

Touch the Soil News #210 While the information doesn’t reach mainstream American news, the folks down under (Port Augusta, Australia) are engaged in a big project. Sundrop Farms – a hydroponic greenhouse venture – is in the midst of building a 49.4 acre complex of greenhouses. Sundrop Farms has reached an agreement with Australian supermarket chain “Coles” to supply locally grown, sustainably produced affordable produce. Coles has 750 retail outlets across Australia. Inside a Sundrop Farm tomato greenhouse – the new greenhouses will cover about 2.2 million square feet (photo courtesy of Sundrop Farms) The farming project, called the Port Augusta project, does not utilize the traditional farming cornerstones of…

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Tokyo – a city of 14 million – Attracts Indoor Robotic Lettuce Farm

photo courtesy of Richie, licensed under creative commons attribution share alike 2.o

Touch the Soil News #205 Recently, Fast Coexist reported on a massive indoor farm in the works in Japan. The farming company “SPREAD” already raises lettuce and supplies some 2,000 stores around Tokyo. The new indoor farm seeks to cut labor through automation and produce food locally for a nation that must import 60 percent of its food. California Lettuce Field – Will high tech start encroaching on traditional soil farming? (photo courtesy of NRCS) Fast Coexist Journalist Adele Peters reports on the plans. Robots will plant lettuce seeds, transplant them, raise them and automatically carry the heads to a packing line where they are readied for local grocery stores.…

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