The FDA has found a genetic match to the E Coli strain they were investigating and found that it was present in Chicago Indoor Garden products containing red clover sprouts. The products with the “best buy” dates of 12/1/19 to 3/12/20 may be affected by E Coli. You should return them or throw them away instead of using them. Chicago Indoor Garden says that they believe the seeds were the cause of the E Coli and is now growing seeds from a different supplier.

Key Takeaways:

  • E Coli was found in Chicago Indoor Garden products specifically ones containing red clover sprouts. 
  • Products with the “best by” dates of 12/1/19 to 3/12/20 may be affected and should be discarded or returned from which they were bought for a refund.
  • The company says that they believe that the seeds they used are the culprit and are growing their produce from different suppliers.

Quote: “If you have purchased any of these products with those best by dates and in those package sizes, don’t eat them. Throw them away in a sealed container in a secure garbage can, or take them back to the place of purchase for a full refund. The company has held the are material that may be contaminated, and is growing their sprouts with seed from a different supplier.” (Larsen, 2020)

Link to article:
foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2020/chicago-indoor-garden-red-clover-sprouts-recalled-for-e-coli-o103/

InFarm managed to raise $100 million and has parlayed that money into partnerships with Kroger, Irma, and M&S. They are slated to bring their indoor farms to Sobeys, Thrifty Foods, and Safeway Canada. They hope to provide a way for consumers to get their fresh produce faster than if it was shipped from a farm.

Key Takeaways:

  • InFarm raised $100 million and has deals in place with Kroger in the USA, Irma in Denmark, and M&S in the UK.
  • The indoor farms will begin appearing in Empire related stores this spring.
  • The stores include the following places: Sobeys, Thrifty Foods, and Safeway Canada.

Quote: “InFarm will launch a range of herbs at two Safeway stores in Vancouver this spring, according to the press release, and Empire will also put farms in stores across seven Canadian cities.” (Marston, 2020)

Link to article: 
https://thespoon.tech/infarms-high-tech-vertical-farms-head-to-canadian-grocery-stores/

The argument is over the topic of whether or not hydroponic growers should be allowed to use the term, “organic”. Soil growers say that the ruling by the US Department of Agriculture has weakened the label “organic”. Soil-based farmers say that the term, “organic” also means that methods should be used that improve the fertility of the soil which hydroponics does not do. They contend that the ruling by the USDA was illegal based on that fact. The article also mentions that the movement may be spurred on, in part, by the fact that farmers growing in the soil are having a hard time competing with hydroponically grown products because of the lower prices they can charge while maintaining the label of “organic”.

Key Takeaways:

  • The USDA is being sued over the use of the term “organic”.
  • Soil-based growers believe that the USDA violated the law when it allowed hydroponic growers to use the label.
  • Soil-based farmers say that there is confusion in the marketplace because customers cannot tell which products nurture the soil via growing methods and which are hydroponically grown.

Quote: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture was sued March 2 in a civil action brought by organic interests that use soil to grow their crops. They claim the USDA decision allowing hydroponics to be sold under the organic label puts dirt growers at a disadvantage.” (Flynn, 2020)

Link to article:
www.foodsafetynews.com/2020/03/organic-growers-say-it-is-in-their-economic-interest-to-stay-grounded-in-soil/

A fledgling business owner in Quadra wants to open a micro-cultivation facility for cannabis. Quadra is a small island between Vancouver Island and B.C.’s mainland. It has about 3,000 people living there. Shane Hedefine says that it has taken 14 months to get this far into the process. The public information meeting was only attended by 20 people who were mostly seniors and did not seem to have much problem with the proposal.

Key Takeaways:

Cannabis production keeps growing even to smaller islands with low populations like Quadra.
A businessman, Shane Hedefine, is trying to have Strathcona Regional District, rezone for marijuana production.
The business would procure a micro-cultivation license. The license will allow for a maximum of 400 plants. 

Quote: “Quadra, a small island with a population of approximately 3,000, is part of the Discovery Islands archipelago wedged between Vancouver Island and B.C.’s mainland. Approximately 20 residents attended the meeting. The majority were seniors and already on a first name basis with Hedefine, 46, who has lived on Quadra his entire life” (Baker, 2020)

Link to article:

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/03/06/news/craft-brewery-marijuana-inside-cannabis-info-session

canada, marijuana, quadra, urban gardening

Hydroponics, urban gardening, and vertical farming are becoming increasingly popular in many places. The University of Illinois Extension has gotten behind it as well by offering information on how to DIY create a hydroponic garden. The article says that these types of gardens can produce up to 30 to 40 percent faster. They also say it uses up to 10 times less water than traditional farming methods. It also says pest and insect exposure is significantly less because the farms are usually housed indoors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hydroponic farms can grow products 30 to 40 percent faster than traditional methods.
  • Less water is used to create the product. The article says the method can use less water in amounts up to 10x less.
  • The article also states that exposure to insects and other pets are decreased.

Quote: “The use of hydroponics has been documented as far back as the first century when Roman Emperor Tiberius grew off-season cucumbers under what was described as transparent stone. Indoor hydroponics systems can be constructed with items such as a five-gallon bucket with lid, net pots, a growing medium, an air stone and an aquarium pump.” (Walker, 2020)

Link to article:

https://jg-tc.com/lifestyles/over-the-coles-indoor-hydroponics-provide-growing-alternatives/article_6936e6e5-dc31-551c-a7ba-8dd1262d2087.html

The United Kingdom has its hopes up that vertical farming and indoor gardening can help ease the pinch that their residents felt last year during the heatwave. The article notes that 30,000 heads of lettuce a week head to be imported just to keep enough on shelves in the region. It is a growing trend as many people and countries are starting to realize that they may have to look at other methods of supplying produce other than the traditional methods currently available.

Key Takeaways:

  • The United Kingdom has been more concerned with food security and being able to feed themselves with the EU exit and weather patterns that have made growing produce more difficult.
  • Vertical growing and indoor gardening have been looked at as possible solutions to this problem.
  • The article notes that 30,000 heads of lettuce a week had to be flown in from California during the heatwave in order to keep food on shelves.

Quote: “The supply lines from farm to fork that many of us take for granted can be more fragile than we think, as illustrated by recent weather events in the UK.” (Wade, 2020)

Link to article:
https://www.theengineer.co.uk/high-hopes-for-uk-vertical-farming-startup/

“If a company works primarily in an area where seismic calculations are not needed then they probably do not have the calculations to give you because… The company also lacks the experience or knowledge that will guide you through a successful process of procuring permits…”

Every grower has to start out somewhere and most of the growers out there start out by ordering something on Amazon. They figure, correctly, that they can see if they like growing, if they are capable of doing it, and what it is like overall. It is a smart idea altogether. Why waste time in a profession where it is not going to pan out. However, if you get past this stage and realize that you want more from the industry then you are going to have to start looking at growing vertically in a rack. You are also going to have to figure out how you can do it more efficiently.

One of the biggest problems you face when you go from being a hobbyist into a bigger business is the amount of consumer-level products that will be pitched to you. The truth is that there are a lot more entry-level consumers than there are businesses that make it in this industry. Many of the businesses building rack or shelving tend to focus on this segment which means that you might be out of luck when it comes to finding what you want. You will have to comb through the hundreds of consumer-level products to find a few that are capable of doing the level of growing that you have in mind.

Industrial strength is not industrial strength in the consumer market. Many of the products they have in the marketplace tout “industrial strength”. Much of those products have a limit somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 lbs. The weight sounds impressive until you find out that professional growers can handle up to 2500 lbs per level with their racks. They can also stack their grows vertically to the limits allowed by their local governments. If you are stuck with a rack or shelf that only does 800 lbs and your competition has a shelf that can do 2500 lbs per level while maintaining the ability to grow vertically then you can guess how much bigger of a yield and profit they have above you.

“If you still intend on using it legally in your business then you may have to have it modified. It may end up being more expensive than just buying a vertical farming rack that has seismic calculations already included.”

Money is always a factor and you should do what is profitable for you but you should not cut corners because that is where you start to have trouble. If you start looking into the used vertical farming rack or discount racks that are new then you can run into trouble. It is because not all racks have the necessary documentation that will allow them to be used, legally, in your location. Not all areas have the same seismic activity happening underneath their businesses. It is because of this fact that not all rack or shelving should or can be used in your business. If they do not have a need for seismic calculations in their respective area then it is unlikely they will have the calculations for you. If you need calculations for your permit process then you might be out of luck. You will have to get them so that you can prove that your newly bought used rack is up to code. If it is not up to code then you will have to store it. There are some cases where you might be forced to disassemble it and then store it away. If you still intend on using it legally in your business then you may have to have it modified. Of course, this is all dependent on what your seismic calculations say. It may end up being more expensive than just buying a vertical farming rack that has seismic calculations already included.

Remember, this is also possible with a new rack. If a company works primarily in an area where seismic calculations are not needed then they probably do not have the calculations to give you because it is unnecessary for them or the clientele they deal with on a day to day basis. The company also lacks the experience or knowledge that will guide you through a successful process of procuring permits for your area. You should always ask about seismic calculations before you buy a new or used rack so you know what you are getting into before you buy anything.

If you are looking for a vertical farming rack with seismic calculations and a company that can help you with permitting then you want to talk to us. Give us a call at 503-564-4064. You can also look at this vertical farming rack or mobile grow rack by clicking the respective links.

80 Acres Farms is growing produce as part of an art show in New York. It is on one of the busiest streets, Fifth Avenue. It will grow tomatoes continuously for the next six months. New Yorkers will be able to look in on the crop during the exhibition which will run through August. It is another step towards indoor gardening/farming as a mainstay of crop production in the future.

Key Takeaways:

  • 80 Acres Farm is producing crops of tomatoes for an art show in New York.
  • The crops will grow continuously for six months until the end of the exhibition in August.
  • The production of tomatoes will be visible on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Quote: “For the Guggenheim exhibition, 80 Acres Farms, Infinite Acres, and its Priva partners have collaborated on the 700-square-foot grow center, which is expected to grow 50,000 tomatoes in six months. ” (Schwartzberg, 2020)

Link to article:

https://www.journal-news.com/news/hamilton-acres-farms-grow-tons-tomatoes-new-york-city-fifth-avenue/tlJWQYQ5R7giNTSgDO80aP/

A new indoor growing facility has caught the attention of some in Long Island. It is a business growing produce and it is named Urban Fields Agriculture. It is part of a movement that is starting to gain traction and that is indoor farming and gardening techniques. It is using hydroponic growing methods to grow its wares. The owner used to grow at home with 15 plants. He is set up to grow 1800 plants now thanks to good stewardship of his business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Indoor farming/gardening is an emerging technique that is gaining more and more traction and attention.
  • Urban Fields Agriculture has grown from an in-home 15 plant venture to one that is growing 1800 plants.
  • It uses hydroponic techniques to grow its produce.

“The farm is carefully curated and controlled through lighting, humidity and temperature. There are seeds that sprout in a controlled environment (mostly with humidity levels) and then are moved to a larger bed to grow to full size. ” (Long Island Advance, 2020)

Link to article:

http://www.longislandadvance.net/stories/theres-a-new-farm-in-town-and-its-indoors,85263

One of the more famous indoor farms is opening a new location in Baltimore. The Bowery has opened a new facility in Baltimore and is working on getting the farm up to speed with the rest of the farms they operate. It also has two farms in Kearney, New Jersey. They believe that this newer farm will allow them to serve a 150-mile radius or 25 million people. It should create about 80 jobs in the area.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bowery has opened a new facility in Baltimore.
  • It is expected that this facility will allow them to reach a 150-mile radius or 25 million people.
  • They also have two farms in Kearney, New Jersey.

“With the expansion to Baltimore, the company is seeking a wider foothold in the mid-Atlantic. Seawell said the White Marsh location will open up distribution into a 150-mile radius where it can reach a potential 25 million people.” (2020, Babcock).

Link to article:

technical.ly/baltimore/2020/02/20/bowery-new-automated-indoor-farm/