Bloom Box Farms
Bloom Box Farms uses recycled shipping containers to create a fully scalable, high yield crop production solution for New Orleans and beyond. A “Bloom Box” is a farming platform that will all but eliminate food miles, help to fill in food deserts, and tread ever so lightly on the environment.
Food Miles: The distance that food must be transported to reach the consumer from where it is produced. This distance – along with outputs from farming machinery, chemical use, and resource inefficiencies – is a large factor in the total environmental impact of our food system.
Food Deserts: Areas that are characterized by the lack of grocery stores, and access to fresh food. These areas are often plagued with polluted soils, little to no local agriculture, and the only available food options are those that are usually highly processed and of low nutritional value. There is usually a correlation between food deserts and food related health problems like diabetes and obesity. Tragically, 60% of New Orleanians live in a food deserts.
Bloom Boxes unlock a resource efficient way to grow large amounts of food in ANY location. With your support, we will match one full acre of conventional leafy green production in just 160 square feet!
Inside the Bloom Box:
Earlier this year we, dipped into our savings accounts and purchased a used 8’x20’ cargo container. With a vision and a design plan we went to work lining the inside of the unit with a high R-value insulation to limit heat transfer, painting the outside for the highest thermal reflection, and sealing the floors to limit unwanted airflow and improve structural longevity. After implementing these energy efficient upgrades, we installed a climate control system with the electrical framework to power the box.
Next, We designed each “grow-wall” to be the most flexible grow system that it can be so that we can respond quickly to changes in demand.
Each grow wall has 3 main components:
1) NFT Channels
The grow-wall is where all the magic happens! Each grow-wall has row after row of fully adjustable, NFT channels stacked one on top of another, from top to bottom. - Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a hydroponic technique wherein a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels. – These channels contain the plant roots, and provide support for the plants to grow. We chose this technique because it requires very little maintenance, is very easy to use, and reduces labor and material costs.
2) LED Lights
On the same shelves that support the NFT grow channels we installed cutting edge, highly efficient LED grow lights. These grow lights are finely tuned to give our plants everything they need, and nothing they don’t. In addition, they use very little electricity and emit very little heat – again adding to the energy efficiency of our Bloom Boxes.
3) Isolated Nutrient Reservoir
Each grow wall also features a self contained nutrient reservoir. Isolating one grow wall from the next gives us the highest level of crop customization. The redundancy of our design also greatly reduces the risk of an entire crop failure due to component failure such as a faulty water pump. Designing the wall in this way also conserves space because the reservoir sits in the same footprint as the rest of the grow-wall.
Now we are looking for support in expanding our operations. We need to build propagation walls that will let us shorten crop turn cycles, and grow more produce. We will also completely outfit the Bloom Box with our sliding grow-walls. Next, we will build a “water-wall” that filters our water, and mixes new nutrient batches for higher resource and workflow efficiency. If we can break through our goal, we will upgrade this Bloom Box with a custom sensor system to help regulate the Bloom Box’s environment so that it never strays too far from optimum climate conditions.
You can contribute using the buttons above and spread the word by liking us on our Bloom Box Farms Facebook page, and following us on twitter @bloomboxfarms! You can also visit www.BloomBoxFarms.com for more information!
- $5,801Raised of $15,000 goalEnded December 6, 2013 @ 11:59 pm