Tour of Garden Fresh Farms

Garden Fresh Farms

I was able to meet with a leading start-up and MN Cup Winner Garden Fresh Farms.   As a pioneer in urban farming they are one of our regions leaders in urban farming.   We had an opportunity to tour there Minneapolis facility and see the technology and processes in action.  The first thing that impresses in the layout of the vertical farming system.  The ability to optimize space turning 1 acre into 100 acres of productive farming creates a whole new scale of agriculture.  The conservation of water and use of fish tanks in closed systems also adds to the economy of the production.   Given the indoor nature,  optimized growing conditions can be implemented and it eliminates seasonality and geographic conditions.   These capabilities to produce fresh food sources all year round and reduce transportation costs of traditionally geographically located crops to being produced locally.
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The uses for the technology are both boundless, breakthrough, but can also be disruptive.   Given the small footprint of the technology it is possible to place urban farms on top of corporate building, apartments, campuses, or inside of existing building like old warehouses that can be used to renovate older sections of town and create new jobs.  Fresh produce can be available in stores, restaurants, and cafeterias daily and year round.  Lack of growing seasons means steady work in stead of a migratory work force.   Local growth means a massive reduction in transportation that the food industry relies upon now.  These are all benefits but disrupt the status quo of current systems.
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Urban Farming Impact
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Urban farming is going through many interactions and advancements of technology.  New forms of lighting, filtering, and monitoring is constantly improving a system with waste advantages.   Does technology spell the end of traditional farming.   No,  the need for food production is only going to increase, but with more land being used to raise animals for the growing demographics of meat eaters, this could be a vital companion to traditional farming.  With the new capabilities to produce food in an urban environment now possible, it will be interesting to watch which countries and cities will become the leaders in this area.

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