by Olivia Wong, C.E.O.
Vertical farming has been named a top trend for 2022. What exactly is vertical farming, you ask? The term is often used in conjunction with or in place of terms like hydroponic farming, indoor farming or urban farming. In essence, it is growing fruits or vegetables inside a building maximizing the usage of the space by growing for maximum yield, often in racks. Think of it like fitting all your belongings in a tiny apartment. You put shelves and go up for storage space so as not to waste any bit of valuable space.
Another plus about vertical farming is that it is sustainable. Sprouts and microgreens are such delicate veggies that all they take is clean water and light to grow. They do not require soil and less water than outdoor crops, making them perfect for indoor farming. When outdoor farms water their crops, some of the water evaporates, is carried by the wind and is wasted run off water. Although true that hydroponic farms like ours use a significant amount of water, it is a controlled and calculated amount (just what the veggies need to grow) and a fraction of what would be used outdoors. Water, after all, is the essential life source of sprouts. Most of them do not require any nutrients added. There are no chemicals, pesticides, herbicides…
Whereas in soil farming there can be concerns over soil quality and contaminants, that is not much of a concern here since no soil is utilized. Sidenote: if you are a stickler, then that may be your biggest reason for buying organic sprouts versus conventional. Both are grown using organic methods, but the seeds do come from soil-based farms.
A third plus about our vertical farming is the nutritional value of sprouts and microgreens. In this baby stage, vegetables have more vitamins and nutrients than full grown vegetables. The plant’s nutrition comes from the seed. As it matures, the nutritional content lessens. Broccoli sprouts, for example, have been studied and shown to be more than 25 times as concentrated as full grown broccoli. They contain the powerful enzyme called sulforaphane. That means you’re getting maximum nutritional value from a tiny plant that can be quickly mass produced (a double win for sustainability and health!) More on that another time. Feel free to read official research conducted on the health benefits by searching www.pubmed.gov.
We at Fullei Fresh think that the fact that it’s now trendy is both exciting and humorous since sprouts and microgreens have always been grown like this. We were ahead of the trend, growing in this manner since before social media, the internet, and even cell phones!
Sprouts like alfalfa, broccoli, and clover are commercially grown in large machines which are programmed to automatically water and rotate (for air flow.) Bean sprouts, daikon shoots, pea shoots, sunflower and wheatgrass are grown very differently. The mung beans used to grow bean sprouts are tossed into massive bins where up to 300 pounds of raw mung beans are watered automatically and 6 days later yield 3000+ pounds of bean sprouts. The other shoots grow in trays on vertical racks which also water automatically. They grow so fast that a crop cycle is 4-7 days for all our products. We can grow over 3 million pounds of fresh sprouts and microgreens in one year inside a 45,000 square foot building in the heart of Miami. That square footage includes office space, coolers, packing and storage spaces. Wouldn’t you agree that is pretty impressive and quite the case for vertical, indoor, hydroponic, urban farming?