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(ABC7 New York)   Let's tour the world's largest indoor vertical farm that's addressing food inequity ...in where else but the Garden State   (abc7ny.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Nutrition, New York City, world's largest indoor vertical farm, New Jersey, first municipal vertical farming program, groundbreaking partnership, sustainable indoor agriculture company, Sustainable agriculture  
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1989 clicks; posted to Business » and Geek » on 01 Aug 2020 at 3:22 PM (6 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



44 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
6 days ago  
I'd love to see those things replace conventional farms. The food supply would be much better protected against things like drought, screwy weather, new invasive pests, etc. It would probably be much safer and easier work for ag laborers too.

I understand the big thing keeping much of that from happening is the cost of energy for all those grow lights.
 
6 days ago  
That is so cool.
 
6 days ago  

Riche: I'd love to see those things replace conventional farms. The food supply would be much better protected against things like drought, screwy weather, new invasive pests, etc. It would probably be much safer and easier work for ag laborers too.

I understand the big thing keeping much of that from happening is the cost of energy for all those grow lights.


I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.
 
6 days ago  
I used to ride the train to Manhattan right past these old ironworks, remember about six years ago when this guy had this idea for the place. Very cool to see this come to fruition.
 
6 days ago  
It's good for low-calorie stuff like lettuce which grows quickly and doesn't have a lot of non-edible parts. I'm not sure how the economics work out for crops like corn or potatoes. Sunlight's free in the middle of Iowa, but not on floor 18 of a downtown skyscraper.

Stibium: I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.


You're limited to the portion of the building which is exposed to sunlight. There's one rooftop's worth of collecting area to supply however many floors of growing crops (assuming that the sides of the building are shadowed by someone else's vertical farm or apartment tower next door).

The real answer is to build a bunch of modern nuclear power plants using reprocessed fuel and/or thorium breeder cycles to supply electricity and (where needed) to desalinate ocean water, but that's not going to happen.
 
6 days ago  
Put some of those vacant office buildings and factories to use again.  "Farm to Fork in Five City Blocks"
 
6 days ago  
Growing in the middle of a city, you reduce the long range transportation cost quite a bit.
 
6 days ago  
So I click on the link, and what pops up at the start of the video?

A Dominos ad.
 
6 days ago  
Cool. More of this.
 
6 days ago  
so everybody is moving to the farout suburbs that used to be farmland and your turning downtown industrial places into farms... seems efficient.
 
6 days ago  
Another variation of "let's solve a problem created by structural racism with a community garden."
 
6 days ago  
Terrible tour, love the idea, though. I always wanted to do this with a shipping container but just never found the time.
 
6 days ago  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
6 days ago  
I wonder if people could design a system of mirrors to get sunlight in to do the job of the LEDs? That'd save on energy costs during the day I'd guess if done right.
 
6 days ago  

Ivo Shandor: It's good for low-calorie stuff like lettuce which grows quickly and doesn't have a lot of non-edible parts. I'm not sure how the economics work out for crops like corn or potatoes. Sunlight's free in the middle of Iowa, but not on floor 18 of a downtown skyscraper.

Stibium: I'd like to see some use of light collectors and piping to provide lighting through the day. It would at least take care of the bill during sunlight and would be a lot cheaper than solar panels.

You're limited to the portion of the building which is exposed to sunlight. There's one rooftop's worth of collecting area to supply however many floors of growing crops (assuming that the sides of the building are shadowed by someone else's vertical farm or apartment tower next door).

The real answer is to build a bunch of modern nuclear power plants using reprocessed fuel and/or thorium breeder cycles to supply electricity and (where needed) to desalinate ocean water, but that's not going to happen.


Right, that's more of a larger roof area to height plan, like an abandoned Wal-Mart or something where you don't have access to so many levels.

Could be useful for the developing world if it could be made cheaply.  Those fresnel lenses from projection TVs would be useful to focus it into a glass collimator and then into acrylic.
 
6 days ago  

Nimbull: I wonder if people could design a system of mirrors to get sunlight in to do the job of the LEDs? That'd save on energy costs during the day I'd guess if done right.


Probably not mirrors alone, they'd be too bulky and unless they're in the space where the LEDs are, the light would be distributed unevenly, and probably block off an access side.

If they could concentrate the sunlight, though, using mirrors on the roof, then there's a very slight possibility they could use a large version of the light guide and reflector that you get in LCD screens (the one they use for edge lit LCDs). That way they could have the light moving to the far ends of each column, then evenly spread across the plants without taking up a lot of space or interfering with the LEDs.

Then just have light sensors that wind the LEDs up and down based on the supplied sunlight (so it's automatic on cloudy days and whatever).
 
6 days ago  
Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.
 
6 days ago  
It could be a useful purpose for that gigantic mall that was wisely built recently in New Jersey.
 
6 days ago  

Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.


So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?
 
6 days ago  
Jersey has finally run out of places where we can dig without hitting a body.
 
6 days ago  
Virus or bacterial infection could wipe it out. You would have to formaldehyde bomb it to start over. The problem is that the environment could be TOO clean. With food processing you get stuff like listeria when that happens.
 
6 days ago  

scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?


Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.
 
6 days ago  

Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.


Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

Words mean things.
 
6 days ago  

scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?


Closer to 500. A sodium light puts out 2/3 of the energy as heat and 1/3 as light. LED lights, if you include the heat generated by the control ballast, put out 2/3 light and 1/3 heat. This means for a fixed amount of power or heat you get double the light. You can get some very cool LED strips that are mostly just light output but the voltage controller still puts out a fair amount of heat. You can put the control gear outside your growing area though so the heat in the growing area can be almost nothing. This is not possible with HID lights as most of the heat is put out by the bulb. One upside of this is a reduction in equipment needed to maintain the environment around the plant, this also lowers electricity consumption.

This means you can keep your plants closer to the perfect temperature and humidity for growth so the benefits can be more than the expected double.
 
6 days ago  

scanman61: Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.

Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

Words mean things.


And when talking about plants you would use PAR (photosynthetic active radiation). Lumens are used when rating bulbs for your human eyes, PAR is used when you want to know how much of the light can be used for photosynthesis.
 
6 days ago  
They've been putting pinkhouses in places where the soil is too crappy or polluted to grow things so North Jersey sounds perfect.

(Also if you read the fine print LEDs are ALSO sold with a semi-nonsensical unit called "Watt Equivalent" which is often WATT equivalent So when people say LED Watts that's what they mean, and it's dumb, but it is a thing. )
 
5 days ago  

dready zim: scanman61: Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.

Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

Words mean things.

And when talking about plants you would use PAR (photosynthetic active radiation). Lumens are used when rating bulbs for your human eyes, PAR is used when you want to know how much of the light can be used for photosynthesis.


There are charts of the spectral response for all the lights, on the manufacturer's web site.
The leds don't waste a lot of power on the spectrum outside the range the plants use.
 
5 days ago  
The LED's are optimized to emit in the spectrum most useful for the plants, so that's actually better for them than regular sunlight.

Also, they get the electrolytes they crave.
 
5 days ago  
In my area we have Backyard Farms. Right now they only do tomatoes but the rumor is they are expanding to other veggies. While nothing can compare to a tomato grown in your own garden, they aren't bad at doing what they do. And they employ many people.
 
5 days ago  
Sorry, sucky link above. This is better.
 
5 days ago  
TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.
 
5 days ago  

Lexx0001: dready zim: scanman61: Lexx0001: scanman61: Lexx0001: Growing indoors does have a lot of advantages. Herbicides and pesticides are not cheap. And the chances of a cow or deer wandering thru and eating the best parts just before harvest should be almost eliminated.
Plus you have absolute control of a lot of variables. The plants would always be well watered, the ph and nutrients monitored. Bugs might show up, but be noticed very early on. You shouldn't have to worry about cross pollinating with ditch weed cucumbers either.
Power for lights is definitely an expense, but turning the lights on at night when electricity can have lower rates. And comparing electricity used by a 1000 watt HID or high pressure sodium  vs a 1000 watt led array. The leds are just as bright as the HID, but require 1/4 the juice.

So the 1000 watt LED array uses 250 watts?

Compared with the1000 watt HID. The leds use much less power. They get warm, but certainty not hot. Not enough to warm a cold room in cold climates.

Yup...that's why you talk about lumens instead of watts.

Words mean things.

And when talking about plants you would use PAR (photosynthetic active radiation). Lumens are used when rating bulbs for your human eyes, PAR is used when you want to know how much of the light can be used for photosynthesis.

There are charts of the spectral response for all the lights, on the manufacturer's web site.
The leds don't waste a lot of power on the spectrum outside the range the plants use.


There are (every light has a spectral response chart, even the ones in your home), and they don't, but you would still measure it in PAR, not lumens or watts.
 
5 days ago  

merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.


They're talking about the ones in the paragraph above that figure, the random ass building farms.

According to their website the headquarters farm pictured is 1.6 acres and produces ~2 million pounds.

First result on Google for mesclun output per acre reckons 800lb per 1/8 acre. Or 10,000 pounds in 1.6 acre.

That's a pretty big divide. And a lot of expenditure would be a swap, pesticides vs power, harvest and cleaning costs (for the farm) vs, say, automation maintenance. Harvest and replanting would be effortless in this system, as would preparing for sale. Distribution etc.
 
Fot
5 days ago  

merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.


There is a company near where I live that sells 'micro-salad' to a health shop near my home. It is made from very young sprouts of coriander, pea and other 'super greens' as they call them. They grow them in a shipping container hydroponically under LED lights for between 9-14 days then cut and sell them. They take orders in the morning for restaurants who want ultra-fresh salad for that evening and deliver them on a bike.

At the health shop, you can buy a 20g salad for £1.99.

That works out at £100 per kilo...

There sure are some gullible people out there.
 
5 days ago  

LaChanz: In my area we have Backyard Farms. Right now they only do tomatoes but the rumor is they are expanding to other veggies. While nothing can compare to a tomato grown in your own garden, they aren't bad at doing what they do. And they employ many people.


One problem is that if you try to sell tomatoes as ripe as you would pick yourself, they rot before they get bought. You are forced to pick them early.

Looking forward to my tomatoes this year ;)
 
5 days ago  

merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.


When it comes to general food production the goal isn't necessarily to make it profitable. Stability and affordability for the end user is the goal. We don't do farm subsidies for shiats n' giggles. We do them so prices and availability stay relatively consistent.

We're long past the point where we should take the production of basic human needs "out of nature" and into industrial scaleable environments like vertical farming.

The history of farming is the history of humans protecting their food supply from the vagaries of nature. This is just the next logical step.
 
5 days ago  

Ivo Shandor: The real answer is to build a bunch of modern nuclear power plants using reprocessed fuel and/or thorium breeder cycles to supply electricity and (where needed) to desalinate ocean water, but that's not going to happen.


dear God I hope that won't happen.
 
5 days ago  

Boudyro: merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.

When it comes to general food production the goal isn't necessarily to make it profitable. Stability and affordability for the end user is the goal. We don't do farm subsidies for shiats n' giggles. We do them so prices and availability stay relatively consistent.

We're long past the point where we should take the production of basic human needs "out of nature" and into industrial scaleable environments like vertical farming.

The history of farming is the history of humans protecting their food supply from the vagaries of nature. This is just the next logical step.


This is exactly not scaleable in the sense that space, equipment, energy and labor are multiplied with expansion.

Unless you are going to claim that a salad is worth a week's wages, just the cost of labor for the guy who changes the lightbulbs is a dealbreaker in terms of affordability.
 
5 days ago  
This only works for supplying very high quality fresh produce to upscale restaurants, etc, who can hype it to rich people.  Any other food can be grown so much cheaper and efficient  on real farmland, or a large greenhouse not in the city.
 
5 days ago  

merkinpeeble: Boudyro: merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.

When it comes to general food production the goal isn't necessarily to make it profitable. Stability and affordability for the end user is the goal. We don't do farm subsidies for shiats n' giggles. We do them so prices and availability stay relatively consistent.

We're long past the point where we should take the production of basic human needs "out of nature" and into industrial scaleable environments like vertical farming.

The history of farming is the history of humans protecting their food supply from the vagaries of nature. This is just the next logical step.

This is exactly not scaleable in the sense that space, equipment, energy and labor are multiplied with expansion.

Unless you are going to claim that a salad is worth a week's wages, just the cost of labor for the guy who changes the lightbulbs is a dealbreaker in terms of affordability.


The average LED bulb lifespan is about 50,000 hours. That is well over 5 years., not one week

If you mean labour for the people who grow the crops, have you heard of FarmBot? You could have one of those in your own garden or shipping container farm.

or Hands Free Hectare, who have successfully demonstrated an autonomous farming process without a single person stepping out onto the field?

When you can stack one field on top of another, space stops being an issue.

When robots run the farm labour stops being an issue.

With LED lights, bulb replacement and power stop being issues.


I don't think you have done the maths on this one.
 
5 days ago  
It uses less water overall and more efficiently, should us less fertilizers and more efficiently, doesn't have to worry about bad weather/natural disaster ruining crops nearly as much (outside of a particularly bad flood, hurricane, tornado or earthquake), feeds the plants light 24/7 (check out how this affects crops in Alaska, it's nuts), uses space far more efficiently, and can be automated. Being in NJ I hope their land isclassed as farmland for tax purposes.

Traditional farmers will have to start growing crops these places aren't to stay in business. These vertical farms will devour their market.
 
5 days ago  

dready zim: merkinpeeble: Boudyro: merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.

When it comes to general food production the goal isn't necessarily to make it profitable. Stability and affordability for the end user is the goal. We don't do farm subsidies for shiats n' giggles. We do them so prices and availability stay relatively consistent.

We're long past the point where we should take the production of basic human needs "out of nature" and into industrial scaleable environments like vertical farming.

The history of farming is the history of humans protecting their food supply from the vagaries of nature. This is just the next logical step.

This is exactly not scaleable in the sense that space, equipment, energy and labor are multiplied with expansion.

Unless you are going to claim that a salad is worth a week's wages, just the cost of labor for the guy who changes the lightbulbs is a dealbreaker in terms of affordability.

The average LED bulb lifespan is about 50,000 hours. That is well over 5 years., not one week

If you mean labour for the people who grow the crops, have you heard of FarmBot? You could have one of those in your own garden or shipping container farm.

or Hands Free Hectare, who have successfully demonstrated an autonomous farming process without a single person stepping out onto the field?

When you can stack one field on top of another, space stops being an issue.

When robots run the farm labour stops being an issue.

With LED lights, bulb replacement and power stop being issues.


I don't think you have done the maths on this one.


The math is already being run on indoor ag and the crop that is testing long term economic viability is worth a whole lot more than radish greens: check out how pot stocks/companies are doing.
 
5 days ago  

Riche: I'd love to see those things replace conventional farms. The food supply would be much better protected against things like drought, screwy weather, new invasive pests, etc. It would probably be much safer and easier work for ag laborers too.

I understand the big thing keeping much of that from happening is the cost of energy for all those grow lights.


Farms are protected in NJ mostly to preserve green space.
The land is worth more than anything they can grow on it unless maybe they legalize non-medicinal marijuana after the next election.
 
4 days ago  

dready zim: merkinpeeble: Boudyro: merkinpeeble: TFA says each farm can produce up to 19,000 lbs. of vegetables annually. Worth what? $4/lb. for leaf lettuce?

After infrastructure investment, cost of rent, energy, and labor, the cost of inputs would be multiples of the value of the product.

This is a rube goldberg machine for plants.

When it comes to general food production the goal isn't necessarily to make it profitable. Stability and affordability for the end user is the goal. We don't do farm subsidies for shiats n' giggles. We do them so prices and availability stay relatively consistent.

We're long past the point where we should take the production of basic human needs "out of nature" and into industrial scaleable environments like vertical farming.

The history of farming is the history of humans protecting their food supply from the vagaries of nature. This is just the next logical step.

This is exactly not scaleable in the sense that space, equipment, energy and labor are multiplied with expansion.

Unless you are going to claim that a salad is worth a week's wages, just the cost of labor for the guy who changes the lightbulbs is a dealbreaker in terms of affordability.

The average LED bulb lifespan is about 50,000 hours. That is well over 5 years., not one week

If you mean labour for the people who grow the crops, have you heard of FarmBot? You could have one of those in your own garden or shipping container farm.

or Hands Free Hectare, who have successfully demonstrated an autonomous farming process without a single person stepping out onto the field?

When you can stack one field on top of another, space stops being an issue.

When robots run the farm labour stops being an issue.

With LED lights, bulb replacement and power stop being issues.


I don't think you have done the maths on this one.


Sure machines have taken over farming and your farm robots will be the future.  But they will always need maintenance, the more complex the machine the more maintenance it will need.
 
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