Verticulinary Greenhouse Open House
Wednesday, June 13
Industry tours 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Ivy Tech Community College
3701 Dean Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Though our greenhouse is only 3,000 ft2, visitors can expect to see more industry-relevant hydroponic equipment in one location than we believe is anywhere else in the country. We have visited many vertical farming sites around the US and purchased technology that will provide our Agriculture students with hands-on training using the same systems as these fast-growing companies devoted to hyper-local food production. GrowRacksTM have four shelves of circulated water illuminated by red and blue LED fixtures tuned to plant growth and flowering spectra. They grow 2-3” tall, dense planting of vegetable seedlings called micro-greens that are a favorite of culinary artists to provide color, texture and a flavorful punch to dishes. Species include broccoli, wasabi, radish, amaranth, arugula and many more. These unique racks are designed to fit inside shipping containers that can be mobilized to grocery distribution centers, school parking lots, or urban deserts. We also use them for for edible flowers such as viola, nasturtium and borage, as well as lettuce and leafy greens. A High-Wire Trellis System simulates the hydroponic tomato and pepper production of massive greenhouses that grow for grocery store chains. Drip irrigation with nutrient solution moistens slabs of coconut husk fiber, while vines are trained up to the rafters on a twine trellis. Our unique improvement to this system is side-lighting provided by rays of LED fixtures from Fluence Bioengineering that increases photosynthesis along the full length of the vines. TowerGardensTM are seven-foot columns with trailing plants such as strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of each column where it sprays over the roots aeroponically. ZipGrow RacksTM feature an array of vertical gutters that grow lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens using a recirculating system, with an incredible efficiency of 10 plants per square foot of floor space. Our NFT System uses horizontal gutters recirculating a thin film of nutrient solution that lettuce roots grow into. Lastly, our tiered DoubleDeck System with LED illumination and drip irrigation on both levels will simulate vertical production of medicinal cannabis using basil, rosemary, mint and other culinary herbs.
Recirculating water systems greatly reduce the water usage and fertilizer waste, while LED fixtures use less than half the electricity of standard greenhouse lighting. Furthermore, aquaculture units are being put in place that will create organic fertilizer for our systems. This educational greenhouse will be used in partnerships with the Ivy Tech culinary program, local restaurants, the Fort Wayne Zoo, local farmers markets and other community organizations to provide safe, nutritious food while offsetting costs to train the Agriculture students in the new facility.
For more information, contact:
Robert Eddy, CEA Consultancy