Start a farm in your bedroom: Vertical farms

Start a farm in your bedroom: Vertical farms

The trays used to grow microgreens in vertical farming with LED lights shining down in the trays 24/7 (Source: YouTube).
The trays used to grow microgreens in vertical farming with LED lights shining down in the trays 24/7 (Source: YouTube).

Small indoor farms in garage or bedroom, growing in popularity with price-competitive microgreens for salads or sandwiches.

AGRICULTURE & HOME BUSINESS

Vertical farms: Start a farm in your bedroom

A very new kind of very small indoor farm is growing in popularity in the United States and was the focus of a New York Times article this week (29/06/2016).

What follows is a summary and paraphrase  (see original here).

BEDROOM OR GARAGE HAS ENOUGH SPACE

This kind of farm has no fields, ploughs or even soil or sunlight.

The new "vertical farm", as it is called, needs very little space and could even be located in the city.

The farm that the article discusses (and also video above) is named Farmbox Greens and it is located in a small garage of a home in Seattle.

Other vertical farms have even been made in the small space of a bedroom.

Such vertical farms typically produce 20 times as much food as outdoor farming.

Academics who research this kind of farming call it Controlled - environment agriculture (CEA) which means technology-based food production that provides protection to plants and "maintains optimal growing conditions throughout the development of the crop. Production takes place within an enclosed growing structure such as a greenhouse or building" (see wikipedia here & Cornell University program here).

The small home garage used by Farmbox Greens to grow vegetables in Seattle (Source: YouTube).

HYDROPONICS TECHNOLOGY IN TRAYS STACKED VERTICALLY

A vertical farm uses hydroponics technology with plants sitting in trays stacked vertically to save space.

In hydroponics, plants are grown "using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil" (see Wikipedia here).

The roots of the plant sit in water to which nutrients have been added and instead of sun, LED lights shine on the plants.

The plants grown are called micro - greens and they take only two weeks to grow. 

Microgreens can be used in salads or sandwiches or as a garnish on any dish

Microgreens grown on small vertical farms are ideal for delicious salads (Source: YouTube)

SPEED OF GROWING, LITTLE TRANSPORTATION COST

 The speed of growing and little to no transportation cost, because the farm is located in the city, makes vegetables fresher and competitive in terms of price with other vegetables on the market.

The vertical farm Farmbox Greens sells its vegetables to restaurants, a small local chain of grocery stores and so-called "farmers markets" that are public markets with many farmers selling their own produce, that are held several times a week in Seattle.

Trays with microgreens are stacked vertically to save space in a vertical farm (Source: YouTube).

ELECTRICITY FOR LIGHTS BIGGEST COST

The biggest cost and problem that has to be overcome to make these vertical farm startup businesses profitable is the cost of electricity to run LED lights almost 24 hours a day (24/7).

The LED lights also produce heat, so electricity has to be spent on fans to cool down the indoor farm too.

Since the vertical farms are indoors, money can be saved on pesticides, water and fertiliser (or "nutrients").

Vertical farms typically have other environmentally-friendly goals such as reducing their carbon footprint and recycling the fertiliser or nutrients, so the farm produces little or no waste products.

The business idea is perfect for people who have to work at home such as mothers or for disabled people too.

Roots of microgreens hang down from trays and are placed in nutrient-rich water (Source: YouTube).

FARMING PROCESS

Dan Albert, the owner of Farmbox Greens, describes the process for vertical farming in the YouTube video above. What follows is a transcript:

"The seeds are planted on the cloth."

"After a few days, the seeds have germinated and we expose them to light."

"The roots go down into the nutrient rich water and the leaves grow up towards the light."

"And after five to seven days under light, we take the flats off and we harvest everything by hand."

"And we package it up and we ensure quality and minimise any roots or seeds or anything like that, any debris that could be in the product."

"And that way, it is the cleanest product that we can harvest.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/30/business/smallbusiness/growing-greens-in-the-spare-room-as-vertical-farm-start-ups-flourish.html

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Vocabulary

  • academic: someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job - นักวิชาการ
  • agriculture: the science or practice of farming - เกษตรกรรม, การเกษตร
  • article (noun): a piece of writing about a particular subject in a newspaper or magazine - บทความ
  • carbon footprint (noun): the total amount of environmentally damaging greenhouse gases created by a person, company or organization in their daily activities, the goal is to make as low as possible -
  • chain: a group of businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.) owned by the same company - บริษัทต่างๆที่อยู่ในเครือเดียวกัน
  • competitive (adj.): when a product is more attractive to customers than other products because of low price, desirable features or higher quality -
  • condition: the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place - สภาพ
  • control: To exercise restraining or governing influence over; to check; to counteract; to restrain; to regulate; to govern; to overpower - จัดการ, ควบคุม
  • cool (adjective): not hot, not very cold - เย็น
  • cost: an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า
  • crop: a plant grown for food, usually on a farm - พืชผล
  • debris: broken pieces that are left when something large has been destroyed - เศษ ซากปรักหักพัง  ซากสิ่งของที่ถูกทำลาย
  • describe (verb): to say what somebody/something is like - เล่า, บรรยาย, บอก
  • development: the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา
  • dish: food prepared and cooked in a particular way - อาหาร
  • enclosed: surrounded by something and separated from what is outside - ปิดล้อมอยู่
  • ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ
  • environment: a place, including all the physical conditions that affect it - สภาพแวดล้อม, สิ่งแวดล้อม
  • environmentally-friendly (adj): not harmful to the environment; good for the enviroment - ไม่เป็นอันตรายต่อสิ่งแวดล้อม
  • expose: to uncover - เปิดออก
  • fertiliser: a natural or chemical substance which is spread on the land or given to plants, to make plants grow well - ปุ๋ย
  • focus: to give attention, effort, etc. to one particular subject, situation or person rather than another - เพ่งความสนใจ
  • fresh: having just come from a particular place; having just had a particular experience - สดๆร้อนๆ, เพิ่งมา
  • garage: a building for keeping one or more cars or other vehicles in - โรงรถ
  • garnish: some food that is added to other food as decoration (that can maybe be eaten too) -
  • greenhouse: a glass house used to grow plants and flowers - เรือนกระจกสำหรับเพาะปลูกพืช
  • greens: green vegetables -
  • grocery store: a shop/store that sells food and other things used in the home - ร้านขายของชำ
  • harvest (noun): the activity of collecting a crop - การเก็บเกี่ยวผลผลิต
  • in terms of (verb): measured by -
  • leaves: the small green things growing on branches of trees (single leaf, many leaves) - ใบ
  • local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น
  • located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่
  • maintain (verb): to make something continue at the same level, standard, etc. - ดำเนินต่อเนื่อง, คงเอาไว้
  • micro (adj.): very small -
  • minimise: to reduce something harmful or unpleasant to the smallest amount or degree - ลดจำนวนลง
  • nutrient (noun): a substance that is needed to keep a living thing alive and to help it to grow - ธาตุอาหาร, สารอาหาร
  • optimal: the best -
  • original: the first of something - เดิม, แบบฉบับ
  • outdoor (adj.): outside, not inside a house or building - ข้างนอก, นอกบ้าน
  • overcome: to succeed in controlling or dealing with something - ต่อสู้อุปสรรคจนสำเร็จสำมารถดำเนินการต่อไปได้
  • owner (noun): the person who owns something, i.e., who has something that belongs to them - เจ้าของ
  • package: the paper that a product is covered with in the store before it is sold, container, pack, packet - หีบห่อ, สัมภาระ, ภาชนะบรรจุ
  • pesticide: a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops - ยาฆ่าแมลง
  • plough: to dig and turn over a field or other area of land with a large piece of farming equipment called a plough - ไถ
  • popularity: a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • process: a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result - แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
  • produce: things that have been made or grown, especially things connected with farming - ผลผลิต, ผลิตผล
  • production: the process of growing or making food, goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต
  • profitable: able to earn money and expenses are subtracted - ให้ผลกำไร,ได้ผลประโยชน์
  • protection: the act of protecting somebody/something; the state of being protected - การอารักขา, การปกป้อง
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • quality: the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ
  • recycling: waste recycling, processing waste such as glass, metal and paper so it can be used again - การนำกลับมาใช้ใหม่ [สิ่งแวดล้อม], การใช้ของเสียให้เป็นประโยชน์
  • research: to make a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - ทำการวิจัย
  • roots (noun): the part of a plant that grows under the ground and absorbs water and minerals that it sends to the rest of the plant - ราก, รากพืช, รากใต้ดิน
  • seed (noun): the small hard part produced by a plant, from which a new plant can grow - เมล็ด, เมล็ดพืช
  • shine: To emit rays of light; to give light; to beam with steady radiance - สว่างไสวขึ้น
  • so-called: used for saying that a particular word is usually used for referring to someone or something - ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน
  • soil: the substance on the surface of the Earth in which plants grow - ดิน
  • space: an area or a place that is empty or that can be moved about freely - ที่ว่าง
  • stack: to put objects neatly on top of each other making a pile - วางตั้งซ้อนกัน, กองซ้อนกัน
  • startup (noun): a company that is just beginning to operate - บริษัทใหม่
  • throughout (adv): during the whole period of time of something - โดยตลอด
  • transcript: a written or printed copy of words that have been spoken - บันทึก
  • transportation: the process of moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง
  • tray: a flat piece of plastic, metal, or wood with raised edges, used for carrying things such as plates or food - ถาด
  • typically: usually; normally - อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
  • vertical: going straight up or down from a level surface or from top to bottom in a picture, etc. - ซึ่งตั้งตรง
  • vertically: going straight up or down from a level surface or from top to bottom in a picture, etc. - ซึ่งตั้งตรง
  • waste (noun): the useless part that is thrown away after something is used - ขยะ, ของเสีย, ที่ไม่มีประโยชน์, การสูญเสียไปโดยเปล่าประโยชน์, การหมดเปลือง
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