April 28, 2015, Indoor Harvest, Corp. (OTCQB: INQD), is an emerging design build contractor and OEM manufacturer of commercial aeroponic and hydroponic system fixtures and framing systems for use in Controlled Environmental Agriculture and Building Integrated Agriculture.
The EPA has stated that agriculture and fisheries are highly dependent on specific climate conditions. Attempting to understand the comprehensive effect of climate change on our food supply can be formidable. Increases in temperature and carbon dioxide can be helpful for some crops in certain areas. However, nutrient levels, soil moisture, water availability, and other conditions must also be met. Shifts in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions will present challenges for farmers and ranchers. Ultimately, climate change will likely make it increasingly difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and places as we have done in the past. Farming practices and technology need to be considered in finding the solution to feeding the masses while confronting the effects of climate change in the world.
Indoor Harvest’s, founder and CEO, Chad Sykes, stated. “Agriculture is moving indoors because of the cost of crops. A changing climate is disrupting agriculture.” Record drought conditions are currently occurring in key agricultural regions in the United States, specifically, California. Drought conditions are predicted to persist due to the changing climate. As a result, agricultural production will lessen. Indoor agriculture has the ability to boost and sustain crop production in regions like California that are effected by drought, using very little water.
Indoor Harvest explains aeroponics as the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium (known as geoponics). Aeroponic culture differs from both conventional and hydroponics and in-vitro (plant tissue culture) growing. Unlike hydroponics, which uses water as a growing medium and essential minerals to sustain plant growth, aeroponics is conducted without a growing medium.
Crops grown in the United States are critical for the food supply nationally and internationally. U.S. Exports supply more than 30% of all wheat, corn, and rice on the global market. Changes in temperature, amount of carbon dioxide, and the frequency and intensity of extreme weather could have significant impacts on crop yields. Indoor crop production enables year-round growing by mitigating the effects of weather. Indoor farms are able to increase margins by being able to produce an endless variety of crops year-round. Farms that once solely grew summer crops have the option to diversify and expand their produce portfolio and growing season. Further, production variability from indoor farms is vastly diminished, making operating costs largely predictable. These benefits for producers trickle down to the consumer in the form of a consistent availability and quality of produce year-round across the country. This will be a much welcomed stability for produce buyers accustomed to inconsistent supplies and volatile market prices.
Weather is a key factor in crop yield. Indoor farming removes weather from the production equation and is essential to meet market needs in our changing climate. Several businesses are already using indoor agriculture technology to drive profits and grow indoor crops in a cost-competitive manner. Being able to offer quality produce during a season where it would normally be unavailable is an economical advantage to restaurants and grocers. Indoor farmers also have the ability to enhance the quality and flavor of their produce by growing in a controlled and sterile environment.
Indoor Harvest is developing their aeroponic and hydroponic systems for use by both horticulture enthusiasts and commercial operators who seek to utilize aeroponic and hydroponic vertical farming methods within a controlled indoor environment. On May 15, 2013, Indoor Harvest filed a provisional application for patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to extend protection of their invention and subsequently filed a non-provisional application for patent on May 15, 2014. Their application was published on November 20, 2014 as US-2014-0338261-A1, a “modular aeroponic system and related methods.” Indoor Harvest’s patent is currently pending.
On September 18, 2013, INQD entered into a material transfer agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab to provide aeroponic system components for MITCityFarm.
On December 18, 2014, INQD entered into a Cannabis Production Pilot Agreement with Tweed Marijuana Inc., a TSX Venture Exchange listed company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries Tweed Inc. and Tweed Farms Inc. which are licensed producers of medical cannabis in Canada.
Recently, INQD has signed a letter of intent with the city of Pasadena, TX to build an indoor farming facility and education center in the city’s downtown area. This facility will serve as a showcase to demonstrate Indoor Harvest’s capabilities to prospective customers as well as an educational, nonprofit center that would include an academic program for vertical farm as lab for practical studies. Chad Sykes reported, “The Pasadena center will generate some revenue down the road. More importantly it presents an opportunity for Indoor Harvest to demonstrate the benefits behind indoor farming in the short and long-term.”
Indoor farming will never wholly replace traditional outdoor farming methods. However, its unique ability to aid producers regardless of climate and foster a relationship with consumers who desire quality is unparalleled. An agricultural system that is resilient to supply shocks and better prepared to meet the demands of a growing global population will benefit generations to come.
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