Newark, New Jersey will soon be home to the largest vertical farm in the world, a 69,000-square-foot warehouse. In this vertical farm, called AeroFarms, will be produced up to 2 million pounds of fresh, leafy greens annually. Crops sit on stacked trays outfitted with LED lights and sensors that track the growing process.
“Cities have a lot of mouths to feed. We have population growth, urbanization, and we need better ways to feed humanity that are sensitive to the environment,” AeroFarms’ CEO and founder David Rosenberg tells Tech Insider. “Vertical farms are one of many solutions.”
It may sound unbelievable but, people who toured the farm said that there where 250 different types of herbs and greens grow on trays stacked 30 feet high. So, here are some pictures to see how is inside.
AeroFarms renovated and expanded a former steel mill in Newark. This will be the company’s ninth farm. All of the farms are in the Newark area, AeroFarms’ Chief Marketing Officer Marc Oshima tells Tech Insider.
As we mentioned previously, the facility features 35 rows and 12 levels of vertically grown greens, like kale, arugula, and mizuna.
The best this about AeroFarmers is that they don’t get their hands dirty. In order to avoid contaminating the plants, they all wear rubber gloves, hairnets, and coverall suits. Anyone who enters the farm must wash their hands, wear a hairnet, and wipe their shoes on a special mat.
So, here is how the harvest process begins:
First, it starts with the AeroFarmers pouring tiny seeds onto a tray that’s covered by a recyclable cloth woven from recycled plastic. Each sheet is made from 24 water bottles, Oshima says.
Then, the trays are placed under LED lights that mimic natural sunlight. The lights shine at a specific intensity and spectrum that’s tailored to each plant.
To us people, the LEDs look white, but the plants actually sit under a combination of “red” and “blue” lights. The violet lights below are for demonstration purposes. “This is what the plant sees,” Oshima says.
Mini-fans spin at the center of every vertical bed, giving the greens oxygen. The trays are also periodically sprayed with nutrients.
There are sensors that are put in the trays, and collect 30,000 data points to track how the plants grow. The data is analyzed by scientists from MIT and Harvard, allowing farmers to constantly improve the plant-growing process.
If the kale isn’t sprouting at a certain light spectrum or oxygen level, the farmers can tweak the settings for the next batch. AeroFarms is constantly running A/B tests to perfect the “algorithm” for every plant, Oshima says.
Just by adjusting the algorithm, the farmers can make the greens more peppery or sweet. Batches of watercress, red romaine, and mizuna lettuce are incredibly spicy.
Each year, AeroFarms will produce up to 30 harvests and yield two million pounds of greens. In comparison, a traditional outdoor farm in New York state produces about three lettuce harvests in a good year.
What differs AeroFarms from the traditional vegetable farms, is that they will use 95% less water and 50% less fertilizer. The plants are all grown without pesticides, because they’re protected from pests inside the warehouse.
What is good about vertical farms in warehouses is the fact that they offer the promise of huge amounts of locally grown fresh greens that are easily shipped to nearby cities.
AeroFarms will bring fresh produce year-round to New York and New Jersey for the same price as organic lettuce.
With the opening of this farm will be created more green jobs in Newark while producing locally grown greens in the process. “Do you know any good data scientists in need of a job?” Oshima asks me as we exit the farm. “We’re hiring.”
http://www.healthyfoodandsporttips.com/the-worlds-largest-vertical-farm-will-produce-2-million-pounds-of-lettuce-every-year/http://www.healthyfoodandsporttips.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/the-worlds-largest-vertical-farm-will-produce-2-million-pounds-of-lettuce-every-year-1024×512.jpg http://www.healthyfoodandsporttips.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/the-worlds-largest-vertical-farm-will-produce-2-million-pounds-of-lettuce-every-year-150×150.jpg2016-04-11T14:28:37+00:00 Healty Food And Sport TipsGeneral HealthFarmNewark, New Jersey will soon be home to the largest vertical farm in the world, a 69,000-square-foot warehouse. In this vertical farm, called AeroFarms, will be produced up to 2 million pounds of fresh, leafy greens annually. Crops sit on stacked trays outfitted with LED lights and sensors that…Healty Food And Sport TipsMartin Spasovski[email protected]AdministratorHealthy Food And Sport Tips