Modular Farming is Growing on Investors
There’s a huge noise around the legalization of cannabis, but behind the headshops and headlines, another type of operation is catching the attention of investors and entrepreneurs.
Indoor farming is taking off around the world – in homes and businesses, cities and remote communities, in bone-dry deserts and in the cold heart of the Arctic Circle. In fact, it’s indoor farming which may be key to cannabis taking off across North America.
An indoor farm can be more than just a greenhouse. Most of the growth has been around a subcategory called vertical farming, which involves the cultivation of crops and other produce using surfaces that are vertically arranged. The plants are grown in climate-controlled environments usually using LED lighting systems to allow for precise, year-round growing. Often there is no soil at all, instead using a precise drip of liquid nutrients instead. The technology is new but the idea is mature- this approach was pioneered by NASA in the 1970s for long-duration space travel. The system is incredibly effective for many plants, including kale, leafy greens, beans, even strawberries. With the massive growth in the legal cannabis market in North America, they are also perfect for medicinal marijuana use.
Rising New Technology for Growing Cannabis Indoor
Container Farms- Where the Money Is
Leaders in the market have attracted $350-million in venture capital last year with investment is being driven by the realities of the modern world: Rising world population means more mouths to feed and the availability of arable land is shrinking as a result of expanding human habitats and changing climate patterns. A lead format for vertical farming is building greenhouses out of refurbished used shipping containers. With an insulated, sterile interior, equipped with stacked walls of growing plants, this is literally a farm in a box.
In a climate controlled continually lit container, vertical indoor farming allows food to be grown where it’s needed, regardless of land availability or climate- whether it's the rainforest, the desert or the arctic tundra. It also reduces, sometimes dramatically, the amount of water and energy that goes into agriculture production. Being enclosed, the units can also be made secure, which can be useful for medicinal cannabis cultivation.
Vertical Farming Growth
According to market-intelligence firm Frost & Sullivan. every hectare under vertical farming can potentially substitute nine hectares of conventional outdoor farmlands, and save up to 200 tonnes of water every day. Frost calculated that about 22,000 vertical farming patents were filed globally between 2014 and 2016 alone. Allied Market Research, another research firm, estimates the global market will grow at a compound annual rate of 23.6 per cent, to US$6.4-billion by 2023 from US$1.5-billion in 2016.
Shipping Container Technology
A new container-farm company still probably pops up every month, but this is about more than just growing heads of lettuce. The technology is now so well developed growing herbs and leafy greens indoors is a plug and play operation. The focus now is on maximizing quality and yield, and being flexible enough to grow everything from kale and quinoa to raspberries and tomatoes. This means achieving the perfect balance of temperature, air flow, water, light and nutrients is crucial- hence ensuring the monitoring and automation of your farm is not a trivial choice.
Although the idea is old, modular container farming is enabled by modern technology. Indeed each of Microlabs farming modules is heavily insulated and built with its own automated heating, air-conditioning and humidity-control systems.
All key operations can be remotely monitored, and the facility’s spacious layout makes for easy maintenance and harvesting. Our design allows a range of plants to be grown using 95 per cent less water and up to 30 per cent less energy than an outdoor soil-based farm with similar yields.
Create Modern Modular Farming Facility Today!
Interest in modular farming has come from a huge range of potential customers though urban and remote communities alike are drawn to the idea of growing their own food year-round. Schools, mining and logging operations, commercial caterers and food distributors are among the customers who are showing more and more interest. The growth in the market for cannabinoid oil (CBD) as well as the legalization of marijuana has also spiked significant interest.
Whichever way you look at it, modular farming is here to stay. If you want to start building your own modular farm, contact now Micro Lab Farms to talk with one of our farm technicians through phone or send us an email to schedule a consultation.