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Food Factories Now At Every Scale

 

By George Irwin, The Green Wall Editor
The Green Walls Column
August 15, 2012
All Photos by George Irwin Unless Otherwise Noted

The public is demanding more accountability for where their food comes from, the quality of food, how it is grown, where it is grown and how it is transported.  Currently, a major quantity of food comes from outside the United States, for example, Mexico, Guatemala, and Canada are all major producers of produce for import.

Alarmingly, food produced outside the U.S. and Canada is not subject to the same regulations. I love the blog post by Dr. Dickson Despommier of The Vertical Farm where he refers to the saying The Earth Is Covered with a Thin Layer of Shit.”  Written by Robert Shope (respected virologist), Shope states that “over half of the world’s farms still use untreated animal waste as fertilizer, and most of it is of human origin.”  In principle, Dr.  Despommier says the World Health Organization agrees with him.

In some cases, seen in my photo below, we have seen shack communities with poor health conditions next to the same land using the same water to grow strawberries and tomatoes imported from Mexico.  The agricultural structure and policies have led to an environmental crisis by favoring huge multi thousand-acre monoculture farms with specialized production and highly mechanized means.  The result is a highly vulnerable agro-ecosystem dependent on high chemical and synthetic additives and genetically modified seeds.

A community of squatters adjacent to strawberry fields that utilize the same river for irrigation
is also used for personal bathing, dishwashing and defecation.

Traditional horizontal farms are failing and eventually will not be able to sustain the ever growing population unable to produce the quantity needed to sustain abundance (The Vertical Farm).  Research suggests that 9 billion people will need to be fed by 2050 (UN Population Division, 2009).

By 2050, food production is projected to increase by about 70 percent globally and nearly 100 percent in developing countries.  This incremental demand for food, together with demand from other competing uses, will place unprecedented pressure on many agricultural production systems across the world.  These 'systems at risk' are facing growing competition for land and water resources and they are often constrained by unsustainable agricultural practices.  They therefore require particular attention and specific remedial action (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture, 2011).

The demand for food in general is pressure enough, and add to that the use of modified seeds used to produce the size and quantity to meet demand and maximize profits - all this while the produce lacks taste and nutritional value.  And due to certain substances being sprayed on vegetables for fumigation, to retard spoilage, etc., we know some produce has been tested to confirm cancer causing pathogens (examiner.com, 2010, Tir na Saor, 2011, and AUSVEG, 2012).  Imported produce contains, on average, about three times the pesticide residue level found on domestically produced food,” (Craig, www.vegetarian-nutrition.info).

So, not only do we have quantity issues, our food also lacks quality.  Let’s take the modern tomato for example.  I say modern because, in my opinion, there is nothing like home grown, heirloom, or natural/organic tomatoes that we grew up with prior to commercialized farming, hydroponics, or hothouses - typically thick skinned and pale with at times a green inner center.  Not the prettiest, but they sure were tasty.  Of course, taste varies depending on the time of year and the means in which the tomato was grown.

Modern growing methods to feed the masses require high doses of fertilizers, fungicides,  pesticides, and increased use of fossil fuels.  Hydroponically grown tomatoes have a reputation for being less tasty, forced to grow and ripen faster resulting in lower vitamin C levels.  Much of the flavor comes directly from the soil tomatoes are grown in.  In my experience, healthy soil supports a large amount of living organisms that are beneficial for plants and the flavor we long for.  Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?

A New Way of Thinking...

Author’s house with tomatoes, peppers and herbs.

My work has been referenced in The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century, reprint 2011, by Dr. Dickson Despommier, yet I must give some negative feedback: the book needed more information on actual Vertical Farming techniques.  With all respect, the concept was not a new one.  Personally, I have been growing food vertically since 2004 and others long before me.  When we speak of vertical in the public realm the majority of concepts, and there are thousands of concepts, involve the horizontal element in one way or another.

Even Despommier himself depicts layers of horizontal growth inside a skyscraper.  For years I have watched the development of vertical farming and have been credited for developing the concept of vertical production using growing media vs. hydroponics.  I have seen everything from rotating barrels and cylinders with grow lights to plastic rotating horizontal trays of leafy greens that get a mist of water and fertilizer and plastic towers of herbs and leafy greens in airports.

Companies have come and gone who were going to change the world by growing leafy greens, fish, and herbs or a combination of such in these same stacked configurations I mentioned above.  In fact, most of these concepts and companies have based an entire business model on leafy greens.  The concepts and applications have used hydroponic based technology with plastic trays, tubes, towers, motors, monitoring equipment for pH, nutrients, temperatures and alarms; there is a fine line between success and failure.  I’m not going on a tangent about hydroponics, you can read my article prior to this one (see: Hydroponic Living Walls – DIY – Really?).

One such new company in Chicago is The Plant.  Listening to the video on how it works alone is exhausting.  Personally, I am a fan of the concept, however, it will take very sophisticated equipment and some micromanaging.  I say this because we know what the budgets are and what kind of effort it takes to grow fresh produce in our own facility, now add these other variables that are all dependent on each other.

If one system goes down it interrupts the production of the others and in some cases days, weeks, months or years of work and potential revenue are lost.

This is an example of highly mechanical and integrated systems relying on each other; there may be too many stars that need to align in order to be successful.  This application also calls for highly skilled management and an employee pool to balance all the systems so they operate in unity.  A successful vertical farm application has to start and continue to be simple to operate with minimal risk.  Make no mistake, I am a fan and would like to see the stars align on this one, but I have to wonder.
 
I say the vertical farm will succeed with a simple application without complication, predictable yields, and a predictable return on the investment.  And I want to share with you my latest work.

Food Factories

What is the answer right now?  A real product application from my company, Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) - the Food Factory, with compost-based growing media!  Good old fashioned microbial enriched loam complete with worms.

Potential scale of the Food Factory; Rendition by G-Space Design /
Philly Green Wall, Philadelphia PA.  Do not use without written permission.

What is a Food Factory?

• Indoor Farms operating year round utilizing an indoor anaerobic digester and worm composting
• Uses the advanced patented technology of GLTi Vertical/Edible Walls
• Maximizes production space to include walls, roof and vertical floor plan
• Utilizes existing buildings retrofitted to grow food
• Can be seasonally expanded to parking areas, exterior walls and roof tops
• Combines organic composting technology with vertical growing
• Offers job placement, education, rehabilitation, research and training
• Becomes part of the community
• Is year round “You Pick Farm”

Indoor look at a Food Factory; Rendition by G-Space Design /
Philly Green Wall.  Do not use without written permission.

What it’s NOT...

• Highly fertilized hydroponic or aeroponic
• Highly mechanical or using specialty equipment
• Conceptual

Food Factory; Rendition by G-Space Design / Philly Green Wall,
Philadelphia PA.  Do not use without written permission.

The idea and application was simple; expand the farm from one of our single self use panels or Mobile Edible Walls (MEWU) to several panels and the Commercial A Frame, and eventually to multiple and even hundreds of thousands vertical growing units, utilizing vacant buildings and parking lots with existing infrastructure to grow fresh produce.

Author’s house with herbs.

“All I need is water!”  Simple from the start, I have been growing food vertically for years, giving my company the baseline data we needed to explore more adventurous applications expanding from concept to reality.  We have gone from generation one, the trial, to generation five over the years, developing our systems to include variations of media, depths, and drainage and root migration configurations.

We continued to advance the number of horizontal spaces with vertical configurations using tried and true biointensive (long term sustainability on a closed system basis) farming techniques developed over hundreds of thousands of years, except we literally grow vertically using techniques common of French intensive gardeners who embraced the notion.  I like to say “Farm a small plot but farm it well.”

Intensive growing with minimal effort, low risk, simple technology, a low investment and fast returns on the investment is the model of the Food Factory.  Growing food in unorthodox means and places is not new.  Five gallon buckets with tomato plants on rooftops, patios and fire escapes all over New York and New Jersey (where I grew up) were not uncommon.  Our own roof farms have been superior producers long before the media buzz of larger scale roof farms; frankly, I believe a lot of this is because of our bioSoil.

Philadelphia Roof Farm by partner Philly Green Wall & Roof with the patented
Green Living Roof Panels with custom media containing GLTi bioSoil.

The First Scaled Food Factory

After years of having gardens and growing my own food in the Green Living Wall, we were asked to develop a program that grew food for the homeless in 2007.  Over 750 square feet of produce that included strawberries, tomatoes, tomatillos, leeks, celery, cucumbers and more, were pre-grown in a parking lot at the Department of Agriculture California Polytechnic School in San Luis Obispo, California by Hunter Davis.

750 sf of Patented Green Living Walls, the first portable /movable farm that used a parking lot to grow food without having to build raised beds.

“Lease me your parking lot, give me water and I can provide food, jobs, education and a profit.”

The panels were grown flat in a parking lot and then delivered to the vertical locations in Los Angeles, the epic center of not only movies, but unfortunately also of homelessness.  The project provided an eye-opening experience that connected us to the community as part of our base value of “Social Responsibility.”  Read more at my December, 2009 column "Empowerment with Vertical Agriculture, Edible Walls & Urban Farming Food Chains."

(Publisher's Note: See the resulting project profiles in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database:

Urban Farming Food Chain - Skid Row Housing Trust's 'The Rainbow' Green Wall
Urban Farming Food Chain - The Weingart Center Association Green Wall
Urban Farming Food Chain - Miguel Contreras Learning Complex Green Wall
Urban Farming Food Chain - Los Angeles Regional Food Bank Green Wall)

The next step in the development of the edible wall struck me when I realized not everyone has a wall, but we do have tons of parking lots and vacant lots in general that are not being used.  Armed with some hard core experience and mistakes, all I needed was a parking lot and water.  The first prototype of the Commercial "A" Frame was born.

The "A" Frame prototype allowed for 96 sf of
growing in only 24 sf of footprint.

In 2008-2009 I designed a unit that can be wheeled in the fashion of a peaked roof with even weight distribution and 3 times the horizontal footprint.  The first demonstration was 24 – 2’ x 2’ (60 cm x 60 cm) green living wall panels in an A frame  structure which created 96 square feet of growing in a footprint of only 24 square feet.

The idea was to lease a parking lot, erect our vertical farm, implement our training and education curriculum and grow food all summer while providing living wage jobs.  As we developed so did the intellectual property, and so did the programming and application including improved root migration, drainage, and the use of stainless steel.

One reason we use stainless steel is the fact that it works well in our commercial applications, where the panels are handled more than our typical green walls and that our systems for food are made to last years exposed to the elements.

The advanced configurations have included the smaller MEWU, Mini "A" Frame, and the Commercial "A" Frame.  All units are used to produce and grow a wide variety of crops, both in the interior and outdoors.  The MEWU was specifically developed as part of the classroom curriculum to extend garden programs from September to June where the students are engaged and the school garden is not a novelty program.

Advanced Food Factory

There is no question; the Food Factory can grow food and a lot of it.  Predicting yields with simple techniques of crop rotations, companion planting and timing are all possible indoors in much more detail because we have removed the external environmental factors.  The development of advanced techniques for growing specific produce forced us to change the types and recipes of the media we are using.

Classroom MEWU.

Commercially speaking it is not profitable to grow leafy greens in our systems which are better suited for other crops, so our commercial production does not grow them unless contracted to do so; leave the leafy greens to the hydroponic growers since they are suited for that.  Yet, we do encourage leafy green production in the classroom!

Why?  In the classroom as part of the planned success, leafy greens are easy to grow and will provide a baseline to more advanced success.  The goal here is not necessarily to produce food; the food is a by product to the student engagement, i.e. learning how to measure, collect data, predict yields, product assembly, soil science, plant biology, etc - all points ingrained in the STEM philosophy (Science Technology Engineering and Math).

Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beets, beans, eggplant, leeks, strawberries, and peppers are only the few major crops we grow indoors.  For the sake of production, cosmetics are not part of our edible walls.  We always tell people if you would rather grow leaves vs. tomatoes, go back to planting flowers or grow lettuce.

Our pruning techniques prevent us from having overgrown vegetation with little to no fruit.  In fact, so rather than having a lush display, it is just the opposite - we remove the majority of vegetation and allow the fruit to mature.

Our advanced media contains the GLTi bioSoil added as part of our microbiology program, the use of compost manufactured right in the same facility and worms.  That’s right, our walls have worms!  Our media is so advanced it is changed only once a year, added to our compost pile to re-charge the Food Factory and is 100% free of new raw materials after only 3 years.  No new media, no more worms and no seeds to buy!

The bioSoil is derived from high quality compost, and is not a tea.  We use it for our green roof media and green walls.  In short, it wraps around the root system of plants and improves nutrient uptake and oxygen exchange at the root level converting nitrogen from the air into natural fertilizer.

Left: Potato Roots without bioSoil; Right: Potato Roots with bioSoil.

Data from our field tests and from our many produce growers, including those for one of the largest food chains in the world, have demonstrated fruit and vegetables with higher brix (the sugar content of an aqueous solution) levels, as well as increased nutrient levels of magnesium, calcium and other micronutrients in plants grown with GLTi bioSoil.  I do not want to sound like an ad here, I am only sharing information with you, but I believe this technology alone makes us stand out as one of the most advanced media additives available.  Used with all green walls, roofs and even hydroponics, we can protect the plants and improved the health while reducing the need for any fertilizers.

The Future is Here

Vertical farming is still highly conceptual - I challenge you to Google “Vertical Farms” and count the number of concepts vs. real pictures of vertical food production and of those, there are a handful of hydroponic prototypes.  Like I said earlier, it is hard to make the budget work on leafy greens and highly mechanical systems.

The true vertical farm is taking advantage of vertical space including walls, roofs, maximizing floor plans and expanding outdoors according to the season.  I think the definition of vertical farming should be as such: “The footprint of a horizontal space has increased growing area with vertical applications without increasing the said footprint."

In the case of the Commercial “A” Frame, it takes up 16 square feet of horizontal space but can provide 48 square feet of growing in the same footprint.

The future is here: working vertical farms at various scales with high quality, increased nutrition, and high yield production.  Our data shows that a Food Factory is producing on average close to 35 - 55 lbs of tomatoes per square foot of footprint vs. only 9 lbs per traditional horizontal agriculture; and I am being generous on the horizontal numbers.  (Average tomato production per acre = 37,500 / 43,500 = 1.16 lbs.)

According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Commercial Tomato Production Handbook, via eHOW™, “The calculated average income from one acre of tomatoes, half the time, a grower will net about $950 per acre.  One year out of six, the grower can expect to earn more than $1,400 per acre.  But the bad news is that one year out of six, growers can lose more than $3,400 per acre if weather conditions are not suitable or serious insect or disease damage occurs.”

The current model of the Food Factory and our data available, below from 2012, shows each “A” Frame has 24 patented 1’ x 2’ stainless steel green living wall panels.  Each panel has 12 cells.  Each cell has one plant.  The budget numbers are based on simply growing 2 lbs of tomatoes per plant, per cycle.  Depending on the type of tomato, the Food Factory can produce up to 5 cycles of harvest per year.  Here is the math based on the capability to grow only 2 lbs of tomatoes per plant:

12 cells per panel x 24 panels = 288 cells per “A” Frame

288 plants produce only 2 lbs of tomato per cycle = 576 lbs of tomato every 60 – 90 days

576 lbs of tomatoes x 4 cycles* = 2304 lbs of tomatoes per year per “A” Frame

576 lbs of tomatoes / 16 square feet of footprint = 36 lbs per square foot of production per cycle

2304 lbs of tomato / 16 square feet of footprint = 144 lbs of tomato per square foot per year

*Increasing the cycles to 5 times per year would be equal to 2880 lbs of tomato per 16 square feet = 180 lbs per year

I’m already hearing the voices from the disbelievers and those questioning the data.  Let’s put it in perspective.  If you have ever grown a tomato it is virtually impossible not to be able to grow 2 lbs of tomato on a plant.  That is equal to about 3 medium tomatoes.  Realize we are removing the plant after it produces the amount of fruit we budget for; if in fact the plant is still healthy and is not a threat to overgrowing, we will allow it to set fruit again, increasing our yields.

The data presented here is underestimated!  In a controlled environment with no environmental factors we know we can at the very least grow 2 lbs of tomatoes per plant!  In fact if we grew 4 lbs of tomatoes our production data has doubled and so have our profits.

Flower clusters exceed 3 tomatoes per plant; usually 12 to 15 flowers at
the 45 day mark will easily yield 3-6 lbs of tomatoes.

Combined with indoor pruning techniques and irrigation methodology, we have yet to record disease, pathogens, fungus or insects.  The model can be implemented inside a retrofitted building, parking lots, rooftops, walls, hoop houses, horizontal farms and more.

The system is designed to be simple and adaptable to almost any space including classrooms!  When we bring the growing inside we are able to control the environment, removing the risk of failure.  Expanding the farm to the exterior adds an element of risk and additional preventative measures will require additional labor hours but are well worth it!  The natural sun is a tradeoff to the use of indoor grow lights; for a few extra hours of prevention we can increase production by using the exterior space, too.

The Backyard Farm

I used the tomato as an example because everyone can visualize the size and weight of a tomato.  Don’t discount other types of production!  For the backyard farmer, a biodiverse planting using our companion techniques and cycles could yield a bounty of food in only a 1’ x 2’ vertical space that wouldn't take up any yard and could just hang on your fence.

Utilizing my years of experience and common practices you can plan this small space efficiently, void of pests and prevent common disease.  One technique is companion planting combined with cycling.  For example, here in the U.S. Northeast I plant as soon as I can with leafy greens, radishes and broccoli in the same cells of the panel.

Broccoli, Parsley and Basil cycle in July.

The leafy greens and radishes will be ready in about 20-25 days while the broccoli will be 65-75 days before harvest.  We are picking leafy greens and radishes long before the broccoli is ready.  Since broccoli is so accommodating and willing to share this space, I replace the leafy greens and radishes with parsley and basil.

By the time the broccoli is ready for harvest, the parsley and basil take over.  By this time it is mid to late July (here in Rochester, NY) and by the second week of August, I will have already replanted more broccoli in the same space as the parsley and basil.  Did I mention this was all done in only 2 of the 6 cells in a 1 x 2 living wall!  This is only one example of how the backyard farmer can take advantage of the vertical space.

Left: Broccoli and Leafy Greens share the same space at the top of a MEWU; Right: The midsummer Parsley and Basil prior to additional Broccoli planting in time for the fall harvest.

There are literally hundreds of combinations of plant relations and cycles and even winter growing!  Yes, you can grow carrots and spinach in the same space in the winter with no heat and a simple double layered hoop house or other protection from the wind.  Carrots in February and March are the sweetest carrots you will ever have, which is a perfect introduction to root crops.

Beets reaching maturity (right side of the cell) as the seedlings emerge from the space of a previous harvest (left side of the cell).  In 20 days the beets germinating will be harvestable for leafy greens or if left to mature will be harvested for the root.  As the beets on the right are harvested a seed will replace that space to continue the cycle.  Each cell has anywhere from 3-4 beets at one time.

I mentioned radishes earlier - sometimes I forget I’m writing about the walls, too, and just assume I can grow anything.  We have been very productive with beets, and I love beets because they are easy!  The beet is very special since you can use it two ways; it can be grown for its greens in short order of 20-30 days, however, by allowing the beet to mature the yields are literally non – stop.  Harvest a beet and replace it with a seed and the cycle continues. With 3-4 beets per cell you'll have access to 30 – 40 beets growing in a 1 x 2 panel all the time.

Author's potato crop.

The mother of all root crops is the potato.  Not only did we successfully grow potatoes in the living walls, but we out performed traditional agriculture.

The only reason I don’t grow potatoes all the time is because they take 120 days to mature.

The original trials yielded 4.6 lbs of potato in one square foot.  The U.S. averages 39,000 lbs of potato harvest per acre (Wiki Answers); that’s only 1.5 lbs per square foot.

Not to say we are going to be able to commercially out produce the large scale potato grower, but it is great to know I can grow 5 lbs of potato with little to no effort and they are pure white and as tasty as can be!

You can witness the harvest via You Tube.

Food Factory – Social, Educational, and Economic Savior?

I don’t think we have the answers to all of life’s problems.  We can probably all agree we could use more unity in our community, we can all use more money and a living wage vs. minimum wage and the majority of our public educational system is not getting the job done.

In 2008 MSNBC reported that 17 of the nation’s largest cities had less than a 50% graduation rate.   Overall we're getting better as a nation, yet according to a recent article in the Washington Post, only 75.5 % of our U.S. students graduate from high school.  Locally, News 10 reported only 45% of our Rochester City students graduated in 2011.

Many years ago I met Bronx teacher Stephen Ritz and, long story short, we provided full scale training to some of the most underprivileged students from the poorest congressional district in the United States.  From the heart of the Bronx, New York we transformed one classroom into the most dynamic and enriched learning environment in all of New York City.

Steve Ritz in the background with some
of the Green Bronx Machine students.

Deemed "The Greenest Classroom in NYC" and awarded the Citywide Award of Excellence, champion educator and personal friend Steve Ritz says it best, “I have watched my students grow from super-sized, over-aged, and under-credited individuals to healthy, fit, and successful high school students – all working and/or in college.

Somehow, the most marginalized and disenfranchised youth in New York City were being celebrated nationally and internationally for the progressive work they were – and are – doing.”

The small scale Food Factory located in the Ritz classroom has produced more than food.  For the previous four years, there were  increased attendance rates from 43% to 93% and 100% graduation.

Steve Ritz  in the background with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. surrounded by students.

From the first time I walked into the classroom to teach a lesson of living walls, the students were engaged in a way that set the stage for an entire curriculum.

Some of Steve Ritz's students in the
classroom with the living wall panel.

The application as described by Ritz: “The green living walls and the partnership with George Irwin and Green Living Technologies has been life changing and transformational.”

Designed around the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) philosophy, our programs and technology introduces all the key elements of education, provide real life experiences, hands on learning, small and large group activity, students are engaged and accountable.

Since I only have limited time to write about the numerous educational applications, you can visit featured videos from NBC and CNN by visiting You Tube.

(Publisher's Note: Also make sure to watch the awesome "Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx" Panel Session video with Robert Bieder (Moderator), Jon Beuttler, Jess Dannhauser, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Javier Lopez, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and Steve Ritz from Greenroofs.com's inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 on our YouTube channel.)

The Food Factory is:

A for-profit vertical farm solution that will allow for education and research, and provide internships and living wage jobs to just about every social demographic.  Rehabilitating buildings for reuse will eventually increase the property tax base providing additional funds to local communities, improved social programs, better roads and improved public services.  The availability of local, fresh food 12 months a year may raise awareness and improve health and well being through on site cooking and nutrition classes.

U.S. veteran Greg Gravitte places a plant in the "Green Living Wall."  Photo Source: Canandaigua VA Medical Center.

This type of facility could also be dedicated for use in many different types of classrooms or in a variety of hospitals or medical centers for rehabilitation and therapy.

For example, currently the MEWU, seen at left with veteran Greg Gravitte, is being used as part of the Occupational Therapy Program at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in New York.

The benefits to a facility of scale are uncharted at this time and I can’t speak to hard core data.  What I do find interesting is how our country was built on agriculture and manufacturing, two things we don’t do much of anymore.  How ironic that the large scale Food Factory is modeled after utilizing buildings that used to be utilized for large scale manufacturing.

Going back to our roots, no pun intended, only through a less traditional and futuristic way of thinking, only now, the future is here.

How ironic: A building now being used as a Food Factory overlooks the Rochester SEARS tower where a once bustling manufacturing industry stood, as seen through the side of an “A” Frame growing beets.

The first Factory Farm is the Foodlink Factory Farm Prototype on Exchange Street in Rochester, NY, a partnership between Foodlink and GLTi.  Foodlink provides food to food pantries across the upstate NY region and Rochester, NY.  At 400 square feet this is more of a demonstration of garden to table food capabilities.  We opened it in February of this year and it has already produced hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables.  It's also 100% organic, and produces zero waste water.

Beehives atop the Foodlink Food
Factory in Rochester, New York.

We have bee hives on the roof as well.  The roof top aviary is the first of its kind in Rochester. The bees are free to roam, however, they are also right above the Food Factory main window and come in and out all summer.  Come late fall we will have additional hives inside all year.

Foodlink and GLTi are in the process of enlarging the Factory Farm Prototype to 13,000 square feet for January, 2013.

You can watch the short video "New Technology comes to Old Warehouse" here from Rochesterhomepage.net reported by Tina Shively of August 8, 2012.

The idea for the Food Factory is that it is not a standard size…the Food Factory can be 200 square feet or 2 million square feet.

A shot of the Foodlink Food Factory growing all sorts of fresh, healthy vegetables for sale and for distribution to the needy.  Photo Source: "New Technology comes to Old Warehouse" from Rochesterhomepage.net.

"Food Factory" is the name of an entity, place, or building that is growing food indoors year round at any scale.

Food Factory; Rendition by G-Space Design /
Philly Green Wall.  Do not use without written permission.

I want to publically thank our partners Michael and Angela Bucci of G-Space Design/Philly Green Wall and Roof, in addition to Foodlink's Executive Director, Tom Ferraro, and team, with special thanks to Fred Serafini from Foodlink.

With these individuals, the concepts and the implementation of various configurations, data, trials, space and expense have made the Food Factory a reality.
 

(Publisher's Note: Also make sure to watch the excellent "Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Walls & Roofs to Table" video with George Irwin (Moderator), U.S. Congressman Tom Reed, and Tom Ferraro from Greenroofs.com's inaugural Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 on our YouTube channel.  The Food Factory concept and applications are discussed here.)


George Irwin, The Green Wall Editor

George Irwin is the Founder of Green Living™ Technologies International (GLTi),  based in NY.  He is also the owner of the patented Green Living Walls, Green Living Roofs and is a global pioneer in Vertical Agriculture.  A published author, and featured as the “Green Wall Editor” within the industry, George is also a leading resource and authority for green wall and roof technologies around the world. TIME, National Geographic, Fortune Magazine, Profit Mag., CNN, NBC, Good Morning America and Newsweek are among the major media recognizing his efforts and the development of vertical agriculture.

Contact George Irwin at: GreenWallEditor@greenroofs.com, George@AGreenroof.com, www.agreenroof.com, or 1.800.631.8001.


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The opinions expressed by our Guest Feature writers and editors may not necessarily reflect the beliefs of Greenroofs.com, and are offered to our readers to simply present individual views and experiences and open a dialogue of further discussion, debate and research.  Enjoy, and if you have a particular comment, please contact the author or send us an email to:  comments@greenroofs.com.

 

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