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What we do: We grow our plants indoors in our Arizona Vertical Farm CEA facility. The plants are vertically grown, which means they are grown on trays stacked on top of each other to fit lots into a relatively small space.
Why we do it: Microgreens are tiny and tender. Harsh wind and rain, cold snaps or hot spells, insects, and other natural forces could wipe out an entire crop of microgreens quickly. Since they are so delicate, a sheltered growing environment is where they thrive the best. Our yields are high because we don’t have to deal with weather or insect damage. This saves us lots of time and money, and we pass those savings on to our customers.
Since we grow several levels on top of one another, we can grow millions of plants in one building. This makes them much easier to monitor and helps us produce lots of food in a small urban space.
We are also able to grow in a densely populated area, so we save time, money, and fuel since we don’t have to ship our greens from a faraway rural farm. Plus, the greens are fresher when they arrive in the grocery store or your kitchen, because they didn’t have to travel as far to get there.
In addition, microgreens are the perfect candidate for testing out new indoor growing technologies! This could be an important step toward feeding the world sustainably. This puts us at the forefront of modern growing technology.
What we do-- Growing plants need lots of light, and since we decided to reap all the benefits of indoor farming instead of growing our microgreens outdoors, we can’t rely on the sun. You might notice something interesting about our lights—they are pink! It’s not just because pink is our favorite color. The pinkish-purple glow is actually due to a mix of red and blue LED lights.
Why it’s better-- These red and blue LEDs operate on fewer wavelengths, using much less energy than regular white lights, which saves energy for a more sustainable way of growing food. These special lights also cut energy costs for us, resulting in more affordable microgreens for you! More reliable than the sun, these lights never dim on a cloudy day or extinguish early in the winter months. They are cooler than regular light bulbs, so we can save space and grow even more greens by placing the lights close to the plants. Plus, research has shown that plants may actually grow faster with red and blue light than with regular white light! Overall, our pink lights help us meet our goals of sustainability, energy-efficiency, and growing as much as possible in our limited space.
What we do-- We use a HEPA filter to purify the air and remove all possible pollutants. We also monitor the air for the optimal temperature and humidity levels necessary to grow healthy plants. Plants also need carbon from the air to build nutrient molecules and grow, so we enrich the air with a little extra CO2 to help them grow and thrive.
Why it’s better-- We wanted to grow our crops in an urban environment, close to the stores and restaurants where we sell our greens. A big part of sustainability is growing food close to the people who will eat it. But urban air is full of pollutants, like fuel emissions, that can damage crops and harm people. Plants, just like people, need clean air in order to thrive. That’s why our controlled environment is so important. We prove that it’s possible to grow clean, sustainable crops in an urban environment!
What we do--We use a hydroponics system to grow our microgreens. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants where the roots are suspended in water instead of soil. The water is enriched to contain everything plants need.
Our water originates in a deep well. Before it enters our vertical farm, it passes through a reverse osmosis filtration system, just like your purified drinking water. The water is constantly moving to prevent stagnation and chilled to the optimal temperature for our growing plants. The water is also gently aerated to provide oxygen for a healthy root system. To ensure that our microgreens grow healthy and robust, we add full-spectrum plant nutrition to the water, containing everything plants need to grow optimally. This nutrient-filled water also ensures that the microgreens are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them extraordinarily nutrient-dense and healthy!
Instead of constantly bringing in more water, we sterilize and recirculate it several times. It cycles through our vertical farm and then flows through a UV sterilizer before returning to be reused in the system. We start over periodically with fresh, clean well water and nutrient solution, but we keep this to a minimum. Because of this innovative system, our technology uses an incredible 95% less water than traditional farming!
Why it’s better-- Water pollution can be an issue in traditional farms. Unfortunately, water sources can become polluted by pathogens, fertilizers, chemical waste, medications, and more. We never have to worry about these issues, because our water is filtered and tested regularly. In addition, our method recycles and reuses, meaning we consume far less water and there is no waste— this is essential in a hot, dry area like Arizona! We’re one of the leaders in this type of hydroponics system. Other drought-stricken areas can adopt this technology, helping to feed the world while using resources responsibly.