The Trendy, Spendy Future of Tech-Enabled Indoor Farming

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From arrival of the plow thousands of years ago, technology has facilitated agriculture. Farmers, young and old, now have access to advanced robots, automated facilities, autonomous tractors, and pollinating drones. Technology can also allow normal people to grow their own vegetables and herbs, as home systems with apps like Click & Grow and Lettuce Grow Farmstand have blurred the line between farmer and hobbyist. It is a phenomenon – and a market – that companies have wanted to take advantage of.

“Everyone walks out the door trying something new, and one part works, and the other doesn’t,” says Thomas Graham, an environmental science researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. “It’s still a bit of a wild west, and creativity is slipping away. That’s a big deal. “

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. basement or adapted shipping container) as ways to “democratize agriculture” for anyone who wants to give the crop a chance, regardless of whether it has fertile land. In January, commercial farm Square Roots opened its fourth shipping container farm in Wisconsin, and the company says the collection of packaging is capable of producing a couple of million. packages of plants, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and herbs, per year Walmart entered the domestic farming game in January when it invested in Plenty, another commercial vertical farming business. they have positioned as fine unique packages for agricultural production, all packaged in a single unit.

The Boston Freight Farms company builds farms in shipping containers for customers who want to feed a small community or run a business. In 10 years it has gone from a Kickstarter campaign to growing food for Google office lunches. Freight’s newest offering, Greenery S, is a system that packs rows of vertical shelves into an 8-foot by 40-foot shipping container. It is controlled by a complementary application called Farmhand that allows producers to control the data collected by the sensors inside the container. With it, growers can remotely adjust the temperature, humidity, lighting and CO of the garden2 levels from your desktop or phone. Users can tap the sliders to adjust the light and water controls and control the power of the camera to keep an eye on things inside the sealed and stable environment. If something goes wrong with the conditions around the plants, the app will send a notification about what’s wrong.

“I could be sitting on the farm, I could be sitting in my office away from my farm, I could be sitting on the beach 500 miles away from my farm, and I can only see what’s going on,” says Erich Ludwig, a product leader at Freight Farms.

This ease of access is not cheap. The Greenery S container costs $ 149,000 and a subscription to the Farmhand app is $ 2,400 a year. (Surely there will be additional equipment and maintenance costs, depending on how growers handle things.) That’s less than buying a plot of land to grow a farm in most places, of course, but no. exactly change of pocket. However, Freight Farms aims to attract a wide range of customers, from aspiring business owners to educators and amateurs. Freight Farms CEO Rick Vanzura estimates that 80 percent of the company’s customers have no previous farming experience.

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