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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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Wrestling Food Production Away From Farming

Touch the Soil News #836 (Feature photo – Example of Vertical Farming – CCA SA 3.0 Valcenteu) The global psyche has become impressed with technology. However, is it possible that embracing technology blindly without some analysis as to its ramifications is not wise? Technology in terms of GMOs for example has brought us a world doused in dangerous agro-chemicals. Chemicals winding up in almost everything we eat. An emerging trend is the tug-of-war between farming in nature, or turning the production of food into the realms of big capital and high technology. Vertical farming startup – Plenty, Inc. – is focused on indoor high-tech food and big capital. Headquartered in…

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If the Idea Works – Money is Not the Problem

Touch the Soil News #728 In the world of banking, the number one concept is cash flow. In short, cash flow means more money coming in than going out. If you can build a business model that can do that and demonstrate that it can be scaled up – the sky is the limit. Enter Bowery Farming. Similar to other indoor vertical farming enterprises springing up around major cities, Bowery claims it is more efficient. In fact, it claims (by stacking growing trays vertically) that it can out produce a conventional farm by 100 times relative to square footage. Bowery Farming is the brainchild of Irving Fain (co-founder and CEO),…

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AeroFarms Gets More Money

Touch the Soil News #715 (photo – artists rendition of AeroFarms operations – photo courtesy of AeroFarms) Aeroponics is a form of indoor vertical agriculture that raises leafy greens and herbs without sunlight, soil or pesticides. AeroFarms has a patented technology that grows plants on a reusable cloth medium. As the plant pushes roots through the cloth, the roots are then misted with water and nutrients. AeroFarms recently received more venture capital money – $34 million to be exact. This brings the total venture capital funding for AeroFarms to over $130 million since 2014. AeroFarms presently has nine (9) indoor farms, selling fresh greens to the food service sector and…

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Far Reaching Concepts

Touch the Soil News #670 (photos courtesy of Sasaki) International architecture firm Sasaki, with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and Shanghai, China is looking to re-invent food and cities in a big way. The firm just unveiled plans for a 250 acre urban farm to be integrated into the city of Shanghai, China. Shanghai is the world’s largest metropolitan area of over 35 million people. This urban farm is intended to integrate the latest vertical and urban farming technologies. There will be algae farms, floating greenhouses, vertical walls and seed libraries. Farming models will include hydroponics and aquaponics (includes fish). The project, when completed, is intended to produce enough food for…

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Target – Re-Inventing Food and Food Retailing

Touch the Soil News #521 Farmers Markets are the epitome of local food and doing away with the middle-man – the grocery store. However, in a bizarre change of directions, grocery stores may start cutting out the farmer. Target Stores, the second largest retailer in the United States behind Walmart has been working on a new project which they will start testing in early 2017. The project is about creating indoor vertical farms within Target stores. Folks can buy fresh herbs and greens right from the indoor farm set-up. Target is working with global design firm IDEO and MIT Media Lab. IDEO has worked with InFarm, a global leader in…

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The Fence Garden

Touch the Soil News #436 Yael Stav and Gordon Glaze founded Invivo Design Studio on Tel-Aviv. Invivo designed “fence” gardens – a new approach to vertical urban agriculture. Invivo’s pocket planters allow you to turn any fence or railing into a vertical garden. Invivo’s design gardens – which had multiple vertical garden demonstrations – drew the attention of tourists. Weekly tours were started for sightseers introducing vertical vegetation, permaculture and urban agriculture. Growing pockets hang from a wall in a childcare center that did not have access to a yard. The children planted the pockets with herbs and vegetables. They water the plants and enjoy the harvest as herb teas…

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LED Lights & Fresh Greens

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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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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