“Using our proprietary NexGen™ farming model and methodology, we grow nutritious, insect-free and soil-enhanced food. We have pioneered and developed “terraponics” to enhance our success in organic farming,” says Ray Urrutia, president and CEO of Terra Firma Foods.
Terra Firm Foods has a developed a “back to the future” growing approach that combines advanced technologies in controlled environment technology with nutrient-rich soil. The company is looking to build 10,000-square foot vertical farms to produce leafy greens, herbs and flowering crops.
These vertical farms could easily accommodate 500 grow racks and produce 1.3 million lbs of spinach annually, for example. Production can be multiplied by simply adding levels to the growing system. Although currently based in the US, Terra Firma Foods envisions bringing terraponic farming around the world to enable year-round production of organic food, create local jobs and reduce the carbon footprint of food product.
“With 10,000-square foot facilities, we can meet the needs of large organics. We want to create jobs but need to balance that with robotics as large stores like Kroger have certain requirements for automation. That said, it won’t be a requirement for every farm so you can target different job creation goals,” explains Ray.
Construction is in the work on a new farm
Terra Firm Foods’ growing systems consist of 5-foot-tall racking systems with 8’x12’ trays. The final height of the system all depends on the grower’s ceiling height. The systems are currently designed with leafy and herbs in mind but can adapt their systems to produce taller crops and soft fruit.
Exponential growth expected
Having identified a mismatched supply and demand of organic food in the US, Terra Firma Foods has a mission of installing vertical farms within 30-60 minutes of the market and providing organic food to restaurants and smaller grocery stores to start. Beyond that, Terra Firm Foods expects to grow exponentially in the next 5-10 years, build farms outside of the US and bring the focus back to flavorful, nutritious products.
According to the company, terraponic technology is especially beneficial for: 1. Supermarkets who wish to grow/sell their own branded produce. 2. Military: feeding the troops with the healthiest foods available as well as donating to countries in need. 3. Restaurants and eateries that wish to grow their own produce. 4. Schools looking to teach healthy eating, entrepreneurship, sustainability, etc. 5. Farmers who wish to transition from hydroponics to terraponics. 6. International Markets.