SEDALIA, Colo. — Drought conditions, limited resources and supply chain problems have stretched the global food market thin, but a Colorado business is building a self-contained system to grow fresh produce anytime, anywhere.
You're In Good Company with FarmBox Foods.
From the inside of a shipping container, Jake Savageau is part of a team working to solve a worldwide problem.
"Our CEO often says our biggest challenge will be that we can't make enough of these [container farms]," Savageau said.
FarmBox Foods outfits 320-square foot storage units, into standalone hydroponic farms that run on low-power and limited water to grow a wealth of nutrient-rich produce.
"We can go into, say a community in Ghana, and we can put five of these, 50 of them, 100 of them," Savageau said. "We can run them completely off solar, off-grid and have a water source. So, in countries where there's no infrastructure."
The vertical farms take seedlings of greens, herbs, small veggies and fruits to full harvest in a matter of months.
"Right now, we're growing radishes, kale," said Savageau while touring their on-site model farm. "Typically, most of our customers are growing leafy greens. You can do strawberries, cherry tomatoes, but just within lettuce, there are hundreds of different types of lettuce."
The grow cycle is independent of the weather outside. Software controls the climate inside the container, allowing fresh food to grow year round.
"[The software] can control everything in the environment," Savageau said. "The heat, the lights, the humidity, the temperature, the watering cycles, everything's controlled."
They also make mushroom farms that produce 500 pounds of gourmet varieties a week, and a fodder system for fast-growing livestock feed is coming soon.
"We're talking to cattle ranchers that have 500 to 5,000 head of cattle," Savageau said. "They're having to transport all that feed, hay — whatever they use from — point A to point B, and it takes a lot of energy."
It's a sustainable solution that eliminates supply chain problems, makes remote areas more independent and gets fresh food to those who need it most.
"You think about natural disasters, about war time, you know, that we're going through right now with Ukraine" he said. "That's the benefit of this product. It can grow 365, seven days a week."
They welcome tours at their Sedalia facility, and Centura Health owns one at the National Western Complex in Denver.