How is OptimIA helping vertical farms grow more efficiently and economically?

The OptimIA project, which was funded by USDA in Sept. 2019, is focused on the study of the aerial environment and economics for producing indoor leafy greens. Photo by Rosemary Brandt, College of Ag and Life Sciences, Univ. of Ariz. OptimIA is a research and outreach project aimed at offering production and economic information that […]

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How important is the root zone environment in controlled environment hydroponic production?

As the water moves though a nutrient film technique (NFT) production system it is near saturation with oxygen because of mechanical aeration that is occurring from the water recirculation. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas The oxygen level and temperature in the root zone can have a major impact on rate of plant growth and inhibiting […]

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What technological advancements are being made in controlled environment agriculture?

During the International Meeting on Controlled Environment Technology and Use, Chris Higgins (left), president at Hort Americas, moderated a panel discussion on Indoor Agriculture Economic Viability. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas The International Meeting on Controlled Environment Technology and Use gave representatives from academia and the CEA industry an opportunity to discuss the advancements and […]

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How did Big Tex Urban Farms use hydroponics to achieve its Million Servings Mission?

Drew Demler, the State Fair of Texas director of horticulture and cofounder of Big Tex Urban Farms, and his staff were able to achieve the farm’s Million Servings Mission ahead of schedule using a variety of controlled environment hydroponic production systems. Photos by Jessie Wood, State Fair of Texas Big Tex Urban Farms announced in […]

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What is the “best” grow light for your controlled environment operation?

Growers who replace incandescent bulbs with screw-in LEDs to control photoperiod can reduce their energy consumption by as much as 85 percent. The LED bulbs could last up to 30 years. Photo courtesy of Southwest Perennials Depending on whether you are looking to control photoperiod or increase plant growth will determine the grow lights you […]

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What are your substrate options for containerized vegetable production?

The amount of leachate from cucumber plants grown in Dutch buckets can be significantly reduced with plant-based substrates when compared to perlite.Photos courtesy of Uttara Samarakoon, Ohio St. Univ., CFAES Wooster Growers using containers to produce vegetable crops have options when it comes to growing in plant-based substrates. Small- to medium-size growers of vining vegetable […]

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Have you considered growing greenhouse vegetables for a high-end clientele?

Serge Boon, founder of Boon Greenhouse Consultancy, said growers who are interested in selling to a high-end clientele, including resorts, restaurants and individuals, need to be able to offer exceptional quality produce. Photos courtesy of Brush Creek Ranch An increasing number of upscale resorts, restaurants and affluent individuals have begun operating their own greenhouses to […]

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Trying to find enough greenhouse vegetable workers? You’re not alone.

Jose “Pepe” Calderon, head grower at Local Bounti, said finding people willing to produce greenhouse vegetables has become complicated because crops like tomatoes require skilled workers to perform some production activities. As in other industries, greenhouse vegetable operators are facing challenges finding enough skilled workers to produce their crops. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, employers […]

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Expect vertical farming to continue to gain credibility as a reliable food source

Dr. Murat Kacira, director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center at the University of Arizona, said the ultimate goal in any type of controlled environment production, including vertical farming, is resource-use efficiency. Photo by Rosemary Brandt, College of Agricultural Life Sciences, Univ. of Ariz. Vertical farm advancements in technology and plant genetics will lead to […]

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Is your greenhouse or vertical farm operating sustainably?

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS) will provide CEA growers with a means of doing a self-evaluation of their operations to achieve sustainability certification. The Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS) certification program will enable CEA growers to identify those areas within their companies that are operating sustainably and where improvements can be made […]

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Looking for additional controlled environment food crops?

Genhua Niu, professor of urban horticulture at Texas A&M AgriLife Research, is conducting greenhouse and vertical farm trials with Asian vegetables to determine their potential as commercial controlled environment crops. Photos courtesy of Genhua Niu, Texas A&M AgriLife Research With an increasing Asian population in the United States, controlled environment growers have an opportunity to […]

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What are the 5 “must dos” for growing a quality greenhouse lettuce crop?

While growing lettuce may be relatively simple, trying to produce crops year round can be challenging if you’re not paying attention to these 5 “must dos”. Lettuce seems to be the crop of choice for growers looking to start producing controlled environment food crops. Many of the new controlled environment growers that have begun operating […]

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Are you getting the numbers right for controlled environment food production?

Scott Prendergast, chief data officer at Edible Garden, with son Boston and daughter Evan, in the company’s 5-acre greenhouse facility in Belvidere, N.J. Photos courtesy of Edible Garden Organic hydroponic food grower Edible Garden stepped up its tech game by improving its product planning and product availability management. Starting with a 5-acre glass greenhouse facility […]

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Will tomatoes be the next big commercial crop for vertical farms?

University of California-Riverside researchers Martha Orozco-Cárdenas (above) and Robert Jinkerson are using CRISPR gene-editing technology to develop short tomato plants that have the potential to be grown in vertical farms and on the International Space Station. Photos courtesy of Robert Jinkerson, Univ. of Calif.-Riverside Photos courtesy of Robert Jinkerson, Univ. of Calif.-Riverside Researchers at University […]

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