As we say often here at Bright Agrotech, it’s time for a new generation of farmers to wake up and smell the future. People have more power than they know, and they should start using it to make changes in our food system and for their own health.
It’s time to get away from large-scale monocultural factory farms with their waste and lack of transparency, susceptible to devastating drought and mishandling of our fruits and veggies.
The immediate future is all about utilizing our existing underutilized spaces to grow the food we need to feed ourselves. It’s about It’s about decentralizing our food production to reduce fragility and increase access to better food options for everyone.
The good news? The future is here.
What if a lack of experience was a help rather than a hindrance?
It would force the educator and the student to stop thinking in hypotheticals to solve problems, fix mistakes, and help others. We’ve seen this exciting new face of experiential learning surface in many classrooms, like those of Oliver Schinkten, Michael Paoli, and Kevin Savage. Each of these educators has had an interesting journey since beginning with their classroom gardens to the present time.
You may have heard of Jeff Pernell’s ‘Space 200‘. The compact, seismic-ready, mobile aquaponic system was built last year for the University of Montana.
A few weekends ago I had the chance to meet Jeff Pernell, its’ creator, in person. Since the Space 200 Jeff has developed his business – Galactic Farms – even further.
At Bright, we love our team. Despite our fast-paced and at times hectic work week ,we have a lot of fun together. This week Halle and I returned from the Roadmap to STEM Con, we pinned a few cat memes up in the office, put up a Farm Wall, had a pull-up contest, and the entire team tested out a mobile hydroponic system.
It all started with an avocado.
Tired of the mysterious, wilted produce typical of the produce aisle in chain grocery stores, Tom Deacon, a film editor in New York, started rooting out avocado pits on a whim. A few months later he had a fleet of young avocado trees growing in the dead of winter, and an idea began to grow.
At the same time, farm-to-table restaurants began to shine brighter and brighter as beacons of transparency, and soon the mass-produced grocery store produce had taken on a drab tone that Tom could not justify.
The world is changing.
Alternative agriculture is especially important to our students these days.
Why? Because the world is changing. It’s changing everywhere and all the time. From population growth, to the responding resource scarcity, and of course the complex changes in communication and business.
The Downtown Laramie Farm Wall is in full swing and looking beautiful, so last Friday the media team took an impromptu trip to get some photos and meet our community while the streets were still full of farmer’s market guests.
Tyler, our head of media, issued an invitation…
Having raised four sons and been involved in sports her whole life, Anne Marie understands what a positive impact sports can have on the development of young world citizens.
“The arrival of my freight farm has sparked an interest into our food system, how it’s produced, [and] where it comes from. What is local really? My customers want local- real local. They want to know who is growing the food they are eating, they want to become more conscious, want a leader. ”
You want to get into gardening, but the confines of urban living mean you can only do so much. Choosing the right method allows you to grow a productive and vibrant garden. You’ll be surprised by what you can grow in limited space!
In 2012 we started a journey to creating the best living wall of plants in the world. We’ve made a lot of progress. Here’s a slideshow of our progress! In 2012, we had an idea.After seeing the beautiful but inefficient green walls gracing the walls... read more
The Alibi Pub is a small brick building that squats on a street corner near downtown Laramie. The multicolored light-up sign and a fleet of bicycles chained up outside speak to the quirky nature of the pub and the city it serves. Converted from a package liquor store... read more
In June 2015, a group of American student ambassadors went to the 2015 World Fair in Milan, Italy, to have a look at the operation behind the USA Pavilion’s giant vertical farm.
It seems like the operation was not what the students expected! We’re glad to see the next generation of innovators take an interest in alternative agriculture and take it home with them.
With the deconstruction of our aquaponics system (making way for better things) comes many goodbyes. Some of those goodbyes are bittersweet. One that we said Wednesday night to ten old tilapia was neither bitter nor sweet. More… salty. With a hint of cayenne.... read more
Over the past several months, Mrs. Theis has led an elementary science club through the exciting adventure of first-time vertical gardening. She documented the project closely with lots of great photos and even a cool video (which you can view in our next Educator’s Newsletter). At the end of the year, she submitted a report to the state on the project, and she has shared this report with us today.
Over the past several months, we’ve seen a significant spike in press coverage surrounding a wide range of Agriculture Technology, or AgTech. From vertical farms to “crop surveillance drones” aimed at increasing yields and feeding our increasingly... read more
We'll help you grow on your walls! Name Email Address Message Message Submit 11 + 3 = Hey there, I'm Sean! I'm passionate about equipping and empowering our customers to grow food anywhere with ease. Thinking about growing with your own Farm Wall? Shoot... read more
Vertical farming is changing an entire industry. CNBC’s recent article proclaimed vertical farming to be a “hot new area for investors.” “..an increasing number of sophisticated early-stage investors (venture and growth equity firms on one... read more
A writing team at Propublica recently outlined the problems causing the drought and how we can expect them to develop in the near future. Abrahm Lustgarten, Lauren Kirchner and Amanda Zamora establish one thing that we all know: that California’s drought is... read more
There are tons of funding options out there which plenty of educators have successfully used to implement a ZipGrow soil-less science classroom garden into their school. Today, I’m going to fill you in on the top 10 state and national funding opportunities for soil-less science educators as provided to me by Brook Brockman, the Grants Coordinator for the Wyoming Department of Education.
A strong IPM (integrated pest management) strategy is essential in any growing operation. The health of your crop depends on it. In starting my position as IPM and compliance coordinator, it was my job to create and implement the IPM plan for Red Sun Farms’ newest... read more
I recently read Catherine McLean‘s article, “Shrinking agriculture’s water footprint” (for FutureFood2050, which is a great site to explore, by the way) which covers an interview with Arjen Hoekstra, a Dutch scientist who has a viewpoint of water... read more
What happens when two high school students take their class project home?
“Choas. Destruction. Insanity, ” you say. Or perhaps you’re thinking the opposite. “Absolutely nothing. It just sits there untouched, abandoned and forlorn.”
What if neither was the case? What if instead the students spent hours and hours fiddling with the project, passionately crafting it into their own innovative masterpiece? Well, that’s when you would get something like this.
Do I need light in my vertical farm? If you’re growing indoors (and maybe even if you’re growing outdoors), you should consider artificial lighting. “Woah, hang on a second,” you’re thinking. “If I have natural light, then I’m... read more
This discussion of green walls was written primarily by Lois Downing and reformatted for this post. Are green walls just a fad? Green walls are a growing attraction to farmers, businesses, cities, restaurants, grocery stores, and more. Since we entered the green wall... read more
We keep collecting characters here at Bright Agrotech as the family grows. You’ve met Elesif and Perry. Today, meet our unique Grower Empowerment Specialist, Elijah. Who is Elijah? Name: Elijah Kruse Role: Makes sure that our growers stay happy and get the help... read more
Funding is one of the biggest constraints to small farmers Even though small businesses around the US create two thirds of the jobs in the country, getting capital is almost always reported as one of the top three constraints to growth. Can you believe it? We can.... read more
Today, we check back with Mr. Super on a topic briefly mentioned in that previous post: FFA and hydroponics. In this interview we hear about how his FFA chapter has been effected by the school’s implementation of a hydroponics hallway.
Across the world, multiple industries gear up in unison to face the next several decades, an urgent motivation compelling them to advance both intentionally and rapidly. The source of this motivation is the predictions of impending population stress on Earth by the... read more
What does CO2 do? We’re all familiar with CO2. To farmers, the most important role of CO2 occurs after the gas molecules have entered the photosynthesizing tissues of plants via passive diffusion through pores in the leaves. The passivity of this movement into... read more
STEM is a hot topic in the educational world these days. However, it can be difficult to come up with new ways to teach STEM concepts in the classroom. However, hydroponics is one option many educators have discovered in recent years. Today we hear from one educator who in my opinion, can be considered the Queen of STEM.
What’s the most undervalued greenhouse cost? You might be surprised. “What is your cost of natural gas? Electricity? Building cost per square foot? Operational cost per square foot?” Ask those things of a really good greenhouse operator, and he’ll give... read more
“Farming in the Sky” The Atlantic recently published a great article that gives a survey of vertical farming during this awkward growth spurt it’s undergoing. It’s one of the most dynamic growth spurts in agricultural history, largely... read more
But although the resources are plentiful, they can be tricky to find. As vertical and hydroponic or aquaponic gardening is only a newly popular concept in the educational world, it is hard for teachers to find many “traditional” resources on the subject. New resources are most likely to be found and accessed on new platforms- like Pinterest.
Market Research Matters for Local Farmers The challenge of choosing markets can cause the most confident farmers to stagger. What if you choose the wrong one? A poorly made decision may result in loss of revenue, a stunted business, and inability to expand your... read more
The What, When and How of Cloning Plants Haydn Christensen has an interesting planting method for his many towers of mint. If you were to walk through his greenhouse, you would notice that in the shallow gutters which run underneath the rows of towers, dozens of... read more
Investing in Entrepreneurship Starting a business is one of the most challenging things most people never experience. Since Bright Agrotech was founded in 2010, we’ve learned a lot about building a business, both through our successes and our failures. The fact... read more
The Vertical Food Blog welcomes some great tips from Rob Torcellini from Bigelow Brook Farms, whose innovation is apparent in his clever growing techniques. As with most businesses, we to try to reduce waste as much as possible. This ranges from cutting costs in... read more
Impressive Technology ≠ Corporate Power The US Pavilion’s green wall is getting a lot of attention for different reasons, and with widely different responses. Just look through the comments on any post covering the topic. One common theme I’ve seen is that... read more
ZipGrow has been used for a colorful variety of applications. This summer, another is being added to the list as ZipGrow technology graces 7200 square feet of the US Pavilion green wall in Milan, Italy. The pavilion was designed to convey a message of innovation and... read more
Five years ago, Bright Agrotech was founded on values of innovation and unity. This summer, those years of long days, dedication, and hard work are paying off with the American manifestation of innovation. The US Pavilion at this years World Fair is decked with a... read more
Ag tech is advancing at an incredible rate. In the midst of dozens of incredible pavilions at this summer’s World’s Fair, the USA Pavilion stands out with it’s incredible design, featuring the world’s largest vertical farm. Check out... read more
In today’s post, we will share some ideas for how you can use hydroponic produce in your school, and some examples of how schools are using their harvested produce currently. If you’ve been wondering what to do with all that delightful produce from your system, this post is for you!
What are microgreens? Microgreens are densely planted seedlings (bigger than a sprout, smaller than a mature plant) that are usually a leafy green or crops with dramatic flavors like radishes or peas. Typically grown in fodder systems, seeds are planted in an even... read more
This summer, Milan hosts the 2015 World Fair – and dozens of pavilions built to embody the messages of various countries. This year, the fair’s them is “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life“. Bright Agrotech is proud to represent America’s... read more
The team behind ZipGrow technology is grateful to have the opportunity to represent American innovation at the 2015 World Fair. Learn more about the USA Pavilion in WPR’s article, below. Wyoming Business Blossoms At Milan World Fair “Wyoming business Bright... read more
Crowdfund Your Farm Successfully [Free Webinar] If you’ve heard of some of the crazy success stories of crowdfunding, you might be considering trying it out on your farm. (If you haven’t considered it, read this article on why it might be a good idea.) ... read more
Today I bring you the story of one amazing educator who is taking school hydroponics further than ever before. He is showing the educational community (and in fact his entire community) that the applications for hydroponics are endless. And he’s only begun to skim the surface.
It’s time to shift women’s role in modern farming. If I say farmer, what do you think of? If you’ve been following Bright Agrotech for awhile, maybe it’s Farmer Joe. More likely, it’s an image of a similarly masculine figure, maybe... read more
The Upstart Farmers: Expanding Food Frontiers The food system is changing texture on a global scale. For the past several decades, the world has been producing and distributing food with a “big distributor” approach. A small number of... read more
Student enthusiasm, along with her students’ progress in learning about the science of hydroponics while continuing to grow produce inside in a very small space year-round is what Cathy finds to be her greatest success of this project so far.
The future belongs to the early adopters. Almost all of our customers are early adopters. Kate and Brian are no different. These are people who are actively looking for progress in the world, and who aren’t afraid to try it out they see a product’s potential.... read more
For beginning small farmers, choosing which markets to approach can be a daunting task. If you’re having difficulty knowing whether or not one of your market options is worth your efforts, check out this quick tip from Dr. Nate. Don’t know what your... read more
Ask Dr. Nate Episode 12: Lighting for Vertical Farms In the final episode of Ask the Doc, Dr. Nate addresses questions about lighting for vertical farms. Although this is the last episode of Ask the Doc, our team continues to answer questions and produce helpful... read more
“…our job as a platform is not to be neutral to their success, it’s to actually build what’s important for them to be successful.” – Eileen Gordon Chiarello, Founder of Barnraiser I recently had a chance to talk to Eileen... read more
Each member of our lean, mean innovation team here pairs hard work with a unique trait. Last time, we met a juggernaut of productivity. Today, we’re meeting Bright Agrotech’s unstoppable Farm Business Development Director. Who is Elesif? Name: Elesif Smith... read more
Ask Dr. Nate Episode 11: Carbon Dioxide for Indoor Growers CO2 is a hot topic for indoor growers; it can be a great tool if you understand how to use it, and a great detriment if it’s overlooked. Today Dr. Nate will be going over the basics of carbon dioxide for... read more
We are going to tell you what to expect when you’re expecting to grow in your Spring System, so that you have realistic expectations and can share these with the big (and little) people depending on you.
Single-crop cultivation is a common plan-of-attack Which crops are best to grow in commercial ZipGrow systems? If you have read through our crop list and production estimates resources you know that just about anything will grow in a ZipGrow tower, but the crop that... read more
Today Noah Newman walks you through the process to grow seeds in your greenhouse. Check out the video and the steps below to learn more! Steps to Grow Seeds in a Greenhouse 1) Decide what crops you will be growing and where you will be planting them. 2) Order seeds... read more
Ask Dr. Nate Episode 10: Alkalinity Today Dr. Nate answers your questions on water testing, alkalinity in hydroponic systems, and normal levels in hydroponic systems. Timestamps: 0:58 – What’s in it for the microbes? 3:11 – How do I raise alkalinity... read more
“Help! My ZipGrow towers are leaking!” If you’ve got towers leaking out the front, there are three probable causes. In this video post, Sam Gordon from the Bright Agrotech greenhouse explains the reasons that your towers might be leaking and tells... read more
Indoor Agriculture is about to explode! Last week several of our team and a dozen Upstart Farmers attended the 3rd Annual Indoor Ag Con in Las Vegas. In addition to great time with the Upstart Farmers, we also got to hear from those active in the indoor ag industry. A... read more
A few photos from Indoor Ag Con 2015 The ZipGrow Green Wall made it's debut at Indoor Ag Con 2015. Cowboy Trail Farms, a local Las Vegas Upstart Farmer supplied some beautiful towers of lettuces, basils and other herbs for the main stage. Dr. Nate and Perry of Bright... read more
Ask Dr. Nate Episode 9: Growing Indoors This week, Dr. Nate and Noah answer your questions about humidity and lighting indoors. Timestamps: 0:35 – How to deal with humidity indoors 3:28 – How much light do I need for proper growth indoors? 6:05 –... read more
In this blog post, we will discuss when and how to transplant your seedlings into your ZipGrow tower.