[indoor-gardening] INDOOR GARDENING : GARDENING : INDOOR AGRICULTURE : AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS : FOOD PRODUCTION : BUSINESS VENTURES : VIDEO : COUNTRIES: UNITED STATES: An Indoor Agriculture Startup is Bringing ‘Local Farming’ to Every Corner of the US

 

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INDOOR GARDENING :

GARDENING :

INDOOR AGRICULTURE :

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS :

FOOD PRODUCTION :

BUSINESS VENTURES :

VIDEO:

COUNTRIES: UNITED STATES:

An Indoor Agriculture Startup is Bringing ‘Local Farming’
to Every Corner of the US

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An Indoor Agriculture Startup is Bringing ‘Local Farming’
to Every Corner of the US

Lindsey Kratochwill

Wednesday 30 December 2015 07.30 EST

The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/30/ vertical-farming-indoor-agriculture-us-food-industry-solar-power

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/hqzwscw

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In early October, a little more than a hundred people gathered in an unlikely event space in New York City to talk about farming. They discussed water usage and efficient transportation, the price of LEDs and intellectual property concerns.

This was the first time the event, dubbed Indoor Ag Con, was held in New York, and it brought together the founders of alternative farming companies like BrightFarm, Aerofarms and Gotham Greens alongside technologists, lighting experts and researchers.

Indoor agriculture refers to an increasingly popular form of crop cultivation that happens inside, making it less of a traditional farm and more of a manufacturing facility. Where traditional farms rely on irrigation systems, soil and sunlight, indoor farms use LEDs or high pressure sodium lamps, and grow in hydroponic or aeroponic systems. Without bugs, proponents say, pesticides can be reduced and the overall product is not only more controlled but healthier.

Critics, however, warn that indoor agriculture is an energy-intensive way for companies to take over areas of food production where family farms and small businesses have excelled in recent years, as demand for local, organic products has increased.

Indoor agriculture is still in its infancy, but the CEO of Chicago-based FarmedHere, Matt Matros, signals a new type of food entrepreneur. Like a lot of people in the industry, Matros comes from a non-agriculture background. He worked as a brand manager at Kraft Foods, then went on to found the restaurant chain Protein Bar. After selling the company, he went on a sabbatical abroad, which got him thinking about the lack of access to fresh produce in many areas around the world.

That landed him at FarmedHere, founded in Illinois in 2011. Now in a 90,000 square-foot facility in Chicagos Bedford Park, the largest indoor farm in North America uses aquaponics to produce organic herbs and leafy greens, distributed to grocery stores and restaurants in the Chicago area.

And theyre looking to grow even bigger.

Its been a number of hobbyists who have scraped together a few thousand [dollars] to make an indoor farm and have tried to make it a little bit bigger and a little bit bigger, says Matros. But theres no one really professionalizing it or automating it, or fully putting capitol towards making big farms to feed lots of people. And I think the industry is about to tip.

He hopes to do so by becoming the local farm for every community in the country. Matros is planning to open about 20 new facilities across the US that serve consumers within a 200-mile radius.

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snip

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In each region, Matros hopes the company can work with local farmers to incorporate their goods into FarmedHeres distribution. In Florida, for example, they could work with citrus farmers; in New York, with dairy farmers.

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snip

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Its not hard to find people who dont believe that indoor farming is a panacea. In a presentation this September, Bruce Bugbee from Utah State Universitys Department of Plants, Soils and Climate made the case that the fossil fuels needed to support the crops would add up to about $400,000 per acre.

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snip

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Lou Albright, professor emeritus at Cornell University estimated in a February 2014 presentation that each pound of lettuce created in an indoor farm would require about eight pounds of carbon dioxide.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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