Indoor Farming

Agriculture consumes almost 70% of the world’s daily freshwater use while using roughly 50% of the world’s habitable land. To feed our hungry planet, we rely on a vast network of fragile and inefficient supply chains. With an aging workforce, rising input costs, and facing the increased volatility of climate change. With much of our farmland in decline, and the need to grow 70% more food in a few decades than we do today, it’s clear that we need to rethink agriculture.

New to indoor farming? Read this quick introduction to better understand how NuLeaf Farms is creating a sustainable and secure food future!

Indoor Farming, commonly referred to as vertical farming or controlled environment agriculture, has been around in its modern state for about 20 years. With applications ranging from growing food, flavors, fragrances, and medicines, indoor farms typically share the following attributes.

  • Crops are grown indoors, year-round, away from the risks of mother nature
  • Plants are raised using artificial lighting
  • Most often are soilless, using either hydroponic, aquaponic, or aeroponic nutrient delivery methods
  • Uses climate control to enhance plant health and vitality

Different types of vertical farming incorporate various aspects of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA). These indoor growing systems are commonly housed in larger warehouses or shipping containers. The plants are grown with LED lighting in layered stacks or tall wall towers.

Brief History of Indoor Farming

The first vertical farm project began in the early 2000s when Dickson Despommier challenged his students at Columbia University. They designed an outline of the world’s first indoor vertical farm that included grow lights and conveyor belts.

By the mid-2000s, vertical farming companies were raising millions of dollars to fund their start-up ventures. The investment community was believing the hype around the potential for new technology to make indoor farming more efficient.

The buzz included advancements in:

  • Robotics
  • LED lighting
  • Artificial intelligence

Challenges Facing The Industry

This trend continued for about a decade. Vertical farming companies gained traction by touting the efficiencies of new operating systems and lighting technology. The vertical farming industry is quickly becoming one of the hottest investment trends coming out of the 2020 pandemic.

However, to date, many vertical farming companies have struggled with profitability. The main issues cited generally involve:

  • System design flaws
  • Capital Intensity
  • Rising operating costs
  • Excessive labor requirements

Are Greenhouses Considered an Indoor Farm?

A popular debate amongst indoor farmers is the question if greenhouses are considered an indoor farm.  In our view, there are some significant differences both in terms of the technology used, and the operations of an indoor farm vs greenhouses. Some of these considerations include;

  •  Greenhouses use the sun as the primary source of light vs artificial lighting.
  •  Pest management strategies.  
  • The control over environmental conditions in greenhouses lack the precision of indoor farms.
  •  Greenhouses still have to contend with changing seasons and growing conditions throughout the year.

The NuLeaf Advantage

The NuLeaf team has over 70 years of experience engineering, building, and operating commercial and industrial projects across North America.

In 2015, the founding team merged their knowledge in automation, construction, and agriculture with the goal of creating sustainable solutions for crop production. This quest led us to build relationships with indoor farming industry leaders across North America and create a wide range of product offerings. Fast forward to today and NuLeaf is proud to offer solutions to grow food at home, start a commercial farm.  Providing reliable, cost-effective food security, all year-round. 

Food Security

  • Year-round crop production
  • Displacement of imported crops
  • Consistent and predictable harvests
  • Local job creation
  • Stronger, healthier communities
  • Sustainable Agriculture

  • No pesticides or chemical sprays
  • Reduce food waste by 50%
  • Eliminate 90+% of transportation
  • Restore farmland
  • Next generation of farmers
  • Water Savings

    Depending on the HVAC technology used, indoor farms can reduce water consumption by 95% vs field grown crops

    Climate Control

    Precise control over environmental conditions provides protection from pest and disease while promoting plant vitality

    Nutrient Delivery

    Real time control over macro and micronutrients growing more nutritious, better tasting food

    Indoor Farming and ESG

    Indoor farms offer companies a unique opportunity to demonstrate their commitments to ESG programs while investing in technology that is helping to build a sustainable and secure food future.

    ENVIRONMENT: Measurable savings to land, water, greenhouses gas, waste, chemicals  

    SOCIAL: Food security, STEM jobs, Next gen. farmers

    GOVERANCE: Investing in stronger communities 

    Vertical Farm- Automation. Sustainable.

    Indoor Farming Applications

    Remote Communities
    Feeding Northern Communities and Work Camps
    The Freshest Flavors & Aromas
    Functional and Medicinal Foods
    Commerical Real Estate
    Bring Life Into The Office
    Urban Farming
    Supplying Grocery Stores & Local Markets

    Simplified Supply Chains

    As climate change and resource depletion increases the costs and volatility of agricultural products, indoor farming has begun to take root. By simplifing supply chains these plant factories are a year-round source of safe, reliable food and ingredients for grocers, restaurants, and natural product manufacturers.

    Growing Tomorrows Future....

    Have more questions about how hydroponic farms can play a role in your next project?  Send us a message and we’d be happy to discuss how together with our partners, NuLeaf Farms is growing tomorrow’s future today!

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