"Disrupting big agriculture means taking your crops indoors"

West Michigan farmers are bringing their crops indoors, taking advantage of new technologies to harvest a variety of produce year-round. With new techniques like hydroponics and aquaponics — as well as carefully curated hoop houses — these futuristic farmers are closing the gap for fresh, home-grown, diverse produce, and redefining farm-to-fork for a new generation.

In Caledonia, produce and fish live in harmony. At Revolution Farms, Ben Kant and his staff utilize aquaponics, or “Creating a living, healthy, harmonious ecosystem that produces amazing quality food,” he says. In a 50,000 square foot greenhouse, Revolution staff grow tilapia naturally—without hormones or antibiotics—and allow them to do what fish do: swim, eat, and excrete. “Ultimately the fish are creating nutrients,” says Kant, who then utilizes a mechanical filtration system to break down the fertilizer into a nutrient-rich solution for the farm’s four different types of greens.

While Kant has scaled aquaponics to a large operation off a country road, produce is also growing in the heart of Grand Rapids’ Westside, in a humble shipping container labeled “Green Collar Farms.”

“For me the most fascinating aspect [of hydroponics] … is to disrupt the food distribution system,” says Harris. He notes that the U.S.’s current agriculture system relies on shipped produce from only a handful of popular locations, forcing the market to rely on just a few, hardy plants that can survive the journey. “[Most people] can’t name more than two types of lettuce,” says Harris. “What bothers me most about our distribution system is it’s built for food, not for people,” he adds.

Read more at Rapid Growth (Lauren Fay Carlson)

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