Farming is moving inside, and farmers aren’t exactly what they used to be. New forms of farming, new technology and new companies are greening the greenery.
Take for example Grover and Phil. They are autonomous robots — or farmers of the future, working at Iron Ox, a 6-year-old, Silicon Valley-based farm tech start-up. It grows produce in natural light greenhouses, with the goal of decentralizing farming in order to grow crops closer to consumers in a more sustainable way.
“We have different robots that are tending to the plants, they’re checking on it, they’re scanning for issues, and they’re adjusting the amount of nutrients it gets, the amount of water it gets,” explained Brandon Alexander, CEO of Iron Ox. “A lot of the water in field farming gets just washed out and never actually reaches the plant. And when 70% of your fresh water is going into that farming, and only 10% of that actually reaches the plants. It’s just generating a lot of waste,” he said.
Iron Ox does not consider itself “vertical farming,” which is another type of technology designed to limit greenhouse gases by growing in smaller spaces. While there is definitely competition in the clean agriculture space, Alexander says he welcomes it.
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