FarmBox Foods, a company that makes modified shipping containers to grow food, is partnering with CORE Electric Cooperative to grow trees from seed to sapling using a unique and innovative technique called vertical hydroponic farming.
“We got pretty excited when CORE Electric initially came over for their first visit. And they had an opportunity to walk through our vertical hydroponic farm. ...Our timing was very good for their visit, in that we were growing trees just to do a little R & D,” said Rusty Walker, the CEO FarmBox Foods.
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.
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Maintaining power-line corridors as safe and free of potential hazards, CORE Electric removes trees and other vegetation, and by partnering with FarmBox Foods, it’s putting a determination into revegetating areas that have been damaged by wildfires.
Kevin Perkins, a vegetation manager at CORE Electric Cooperative, said the company hopes to have 15,000 seedlings ready to plant for reforestation.
“Most of our service territory would be able to support trees such as Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, blue spruce, and we have some large burn scar areas too. The Hayman Fire and the Buffalo Creek Fire are within our service territory. So those are some areas that we would like to help revegetate,” Perkins said.
Walker explained that with a controlled environment, FarmBox Foods can more efficiently grow trees.
“That growing environment also allows us to grow 365 24/7 and with that, we're able to do the diagnostic work, take measurements samples, and then build our software around that. So, we have a greater chance of growing trees faster with less water — all the efficiencies that we get with our traditional vertical hydroponic farm, we get to use those as well than growing trees.”