How growing plants in controlled climatic and environmental conditions can feed communities at a much lower cost to the environment
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is the process of growing plants inside a closed, indoor facility, like a greenhouse or a grow room, where all atmospheric and environmental variables, such as humidity, temperature, nutrients, pH levels, light, etc. can be controlled. And controlled they are! Indoor farmers can recreate the precise atmospheric conditions and balance of nutrients to optimize plant growth, which means much lusher, healthier yields of crops. Furthermore, because these plants aren’t exposed to the environment the way traditional farms are, they are mostly protected from threats like pests (insects and birds), diseases, fungus, molds, and contamination. This makes the output of CEA facilities healthier and safer to eat!
This technology-based approach toward growing crops gives farmers a lot more control over the variables required for plant growth and so no matter what’s going on outside, the farm can continue to produce food.
Overcoming hurdles to traditional agriculture
“CEA allows a grower to accomplish two critical goals: maximizing crop production and quality, as well as optimizing inputs, like energy, labor, water and other operating expenses.”
– Jon Kozlowski, CEA expert and head of team at Growers Supply
CEA really highlights the incredible number of problems traditional farmers face every hour of every day. Within the safe embrace of Fusion Farm’s steel-reinforced concrete grow facility, our crops are protected from the torrential downpour and fierce winds associated with the hurricanes and tropical storms that slam into the island every year.
It’s these storms that have also razed over 80% of the island’s traditional farmlands to the ground, which is, in part, why Puerto Rico is forced to import 90% and upwards of its fresh food needs. But even in locations with a great year-round climate and benevolent weather, there are a myriad of other concerns that can affect crop yield, from pests, fungi, and disease to drought, sunburn, and wildfires.
Unfavorable conditions aside, traditional farms can only be as productive as the soil, the sun, and the seasons allow. And it becomes evident when you compare the output of these farms with that of Controlled Environment Agriculture facilities, that by having a much larger degree of control over crops’ growing conditions, CEA is simply a more efficient and productive way to meet the food demands of Earth’s tirelessly growing population.
Check out Fusion Farms’ delicious fresh produce we grow in our CEA facility!
Fusion Farms dedication to sustainability in our CEA facility
Fusion Farms has an ongoing commitment to utilizing as many sustainable initiatives in all levels of our operations as possible, including but not limited to the following:
We implement the best agricultural management practices for water treatment, reuse, and recirculation in our CEA facility. Not only do we collect and harvest rainwater, but we also increase our farm’s water efficiency via our closed-loop system in order to conserve this valuable resource.
Through our solar panel installation, reduced energy usage, and energy storage systems, we keep our use of non-renewable resources and fossil fuels – and therefore our carbon footprint – to a minimum.
We are committed to sustainability on all levels of our operations, right down to our packaging. To every extent possible, all Fusion Farms packaging is either compostable or recyclable, easy to open, and designed to maintain the quality and freshness of our produce. We also employ composting programs to ensure that we return biological materials back into the soil when appropriate, thereby restoring the health of the soil and helping to lower our overall carbon footprint.
At Fusion Farms, we place the highest priority on food safety and so all of our staff receives extensive food safety training; our policies and procedures are strictly enforced for every person who may come into contact with our produce; and we adhere strictly to all food safety guidelines in all aspects of the business. We are proud of our food safety certifications and assure customers that our produce and facilities are certified food safe and always will be.
Integrated Pest Management
Both indoors and outdoors, our focus is on harnessing the power of nature to control and keep out unwanted pests; for example, ladybugs, which are the natural enemy of a slew of insects known for attacking crops. We prefer to establish a natural balance and make use of non-toxic solutions instead of chemical pesticides that are harmful to both humans and the environment.
We are involved with world-class research and development institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Arizona, the National Renewable Energy Labs, and the Bayamon Innovation Lab – Engine 4, all of whom are contributing to our evolving understanding of how to maximize our CEA outputs, while at the same time minimizing inputs for maximization of efficiency.
We take our role within the community to heart by providing jobs to Puerto Ricans and donating fresh produce to Rincon Community Crisis Center and the Puerto Rico Food Bank.
A holistic approach to food sovereignty
At the end of the day, the Fusion Farm model is about realizing a holistic approach to a global crisis of food sovereignty; it is about recycling abandoned buildings and not filling landfills with concrete and still remnants; it’s about producing massive agricultural yields in small “wasted” spaces; it’s about working sustainably to produce food and not at the expense of the environment; and it’s about employing humans, not automated machinery, stripping dignity from people who need and deserve those jobs. We believe Controlled Environment Agriculture is the best way to achieve these noble aims.
CEA is the way forward for a planet that is fast becoming over-populated and running out of fertile lands and natural food resources. It’s a way we can cater for the increasing food demand without further damaging the environment. In fact, it reduces our current exploitation of land and resources, while also drastically reducing food miles, our carbon footprint, and pollution.