April 14, 2015 Indoor Harvest Corp. (OTCQB: INQD), a Houston based company designing and selling commercial grade aeroponic and hydroponic systems for use in urban Controlled Environment Agriculture and Building Integrated Agriculture is posing a solution for America’s need for sustainable farming and embracing consumer’s ever-increasing desire for access to fresh and local produce.
According to the USDA, approximately 70% of all fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in the U.S. are grown in Third World countries. Of the produce grown and sold within the United States, the majority comes from large corporate farms that rely heavily on irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides and temperate weather. Indoor Harvest has a passion to change where and how our food is grown through the use of their vertical aeroponic farming systems.
Indoor Harvest Corp. founder and CEO, Chad Sykes says, “The demand for locally grown produce is growing by leaps and bounds. The demand for local food has increased from $1 billion in 2005 to over $7 billion last year. Concerns over food safety, an interest in building local economies and access to higher quality produce is driving the growth. Indoor farms can address some of this demand and with water becoming a commodity in places out west or rising food costs in the north east, indoor farming methods are becoming viable solutions for local food production.”
Aeroponics: Bridging the Organic and Technological Gap
According to Indoor Harvest’s website, aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or a medium. NASA funded research concluded that a high pressure hydro-atomized mist of 5-50 microns is essential for the development of robust root structures which increase a plants ability to uptake minerals and nutrients.
Aeroponics can provide clean and efficient food production. Plant production can be increased by as much as 40% for certain plant types. Plant cuttings can be rooted in over half the time of traditional methods. Crops can be planted and harvested in the system year-round without interruption and free of soil contamination, pesticides, and other impurities. Since the growing environment is clean and sterile, the chances of spreading plant disease and infection commonly found in soil and other growing media are greatly reduced.
Further, high-pressure aeroponics can reduce water usage by as much as 90%, fertilizer usage by 60%, and pesticide usage by 100%, all while maximizing crop yields. Plants grown with high-pressure aeroponics have also been shown to absorb more nutrients, making the plants healthier and providing higher plant metabolites and organic compounds.
Aeroponics is currently one of the fastest growing methods for indoor cultivation. Indoor Harvest’s patent pending aeroponic growth tray is the largest high-pressure design currently available on the market. This system can also be configured for low-pressure operation for smaller budget projects.
In late December 2013, Indoor Harvest began development of a framing system for vertical farming of culinary herbs, micro-greens and leafy greens. Using a modular-fixture-based approach, Indoor Harvest developed a universal framing system that is designed to work with standard strut framing systems, Illumitex brand horticulture, LED’s and standard hydroponic systems. The Indoor Harvest framing system is also designed for use with their modular aeroponic system, making the complete product line interchangeable.
Today’s world is in a rapid state of technological innovation and evolution. Regrettably, often times this means compromising quality for convenience. At the turn of the 20th century, most of the food that was consumed was grown within 50 miles of a consumer’s home. Once the American demographic shifted from rural to urban, many local food sources disappeared. Prompted by improvements in transport, Americans started looking farther away from home for food. Small growers lacked the economy of scale that industrial farming enjoyed, deterring consumers. However, present day culture is shifting ideals. The Farm-to-Fork Movement — presently, one of the biggest trends in the nutrition world — stems from an opposing school of thought: one that values local production for local consumption. Previously, there was a disconnect between the product and the consumer. Today, an increasing number of Americans want that connection, and are willing to pay for it. Indoor Harvest’s vertical farming systems have the ability to provide consumers with fresh, convenient, affordable and local produce year-round.
Consumer attitudes coupled with environmental change have created a ripe environment for the indoor farming industry to thrive. The average metropolitan area in America still grows or raises less than 2 percent of the food it consumes. Many areas of our country have been plagued with lengthy droughts and bitter cold winters. Indoor Harvest’s technological breakthroughs in the indoor farming industry prove their relevancy in today’s economy. There are an estimated 15 commercial-scale vertical farms and rooftop greenhouses in North America today, and it is projected that an additional 30 will be added in 2015. With a total market size of over $9 billion, indoor agriculture is poised to revolutionize the American food supply chain.
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