Published on February 7th, 2015 | by Mary Gerush0
Urban Farming Reimagined: Who Wants a Growbot?
Urban farming has become quite trendy. People are planting edible landscapes and raising chickens in their backyards. Fun, right?
But the issues urban farming has the potential to affect are very serious. Growing food close to where it is eaten lessens the environmental impact of “food miles” — the distance food travels from production to consumption. It reduces food waste; 12% of food is typically wasted during transportation. And it puts nutritious food closer to food deserts — places where affordable, healthy food is most difficult to find and sorely needed.
It also has the potential to positively impact a looming world food crisis. By 2050, the world’s population will increase to more than 9 billion. To feed all those people, global agricultural production has to increase by 70 percent. Basically, farmers will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as they have in the past 10,000 combined.
We have to get smarter about how and where we grow our food.
An innovative company in Santa Cruz, California is here to help.
Cityblooms has developed hydroponic micro-farms. It calls them “growbots,” and they’re remarkably cool. Small and modular, so they can be configured in any number of shapes and sizes. Lightweight, making them practical to install on rooftops without costly building retrofits.
The growbots’ closed-loop hydroponics systems means they use much less water than conventional farming methods. And the enclosed growing environment eliminates the need for pesticides.
But wait. There’s more! They’re automated: Farmers can monitor the environment, irrigation, and plant nutrition from their smartphones. Technology and farming have had a baby!
And look at how beautiful this lettuce is.
Cityblooms has piloted the micro-farms with excellent results and is now welcoming interest from early adopters. The team thinks its growbots are well-suited for places like universities, hospitals, hotels, and companies seeking to provide healthy, local food to their employees.
Interested? I am.
Image Credits: Cityblooms