Blog Archives

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

Photo report
China: Greenhouse tour, Lang Fang City in Hebei Province

On a recent trip to China, FreshPlaza was invited to go along and see a greenhouse complex near Lang Fang City in Hebei Province. I was joined by officials from the Chinese Government and Chris Han, Chairman of Xin He Shou Business Development Co and his business partner Alyssa Assen.

Click here to see photo report

The Chinese greenhouse structures are so-called solar houses. They are unheated, but thanks to their design, the warm energy is stored in the clay soil wall of the greenhouse during the day. The warmth that is stored during the day is released at night to keep a good temperature in the greenhouses. On top of this, the farmers will roll down a straw mat over the plastic film at night in order to insulate the structure. This makes the greenhouses very efficient.

The crops inside are grown without any additional chemical crop protection, or chemical fertilizers. The crops are watered with a small irrigation system.

Each of these structures are 80m2 and at this site there are 560 structures just for tomatoes. Each greenhouse produces 150 tonnes of tomatoes. The tomatoes in this greenhouse will be ready just in time for Chinese New Year celebrations. Delicious.

One village will grow tomatoes, while the next one will grow cucumbers or cauliflower or lettuce etc. The structures may look simple but they are very efficient and the vegetables are grown without using chemicals.


The yellow squares attract the pests and are coated with a sticky solution to trap them.

Click here to see photo report

Water and nutrients are fed into the greenhouse through pipes at the end of each row. Woven straw mats are used as doors. and across the roof there are huge straw mats to keep the inside warm when the temperatures drop.

No chemicals are used on plants, so they are as good as organic. Most of these tomatoes go to the high end supermarkets in Beijing.

The Chinese Government is keen to have chemical free vegetables, this makes the growing process slightly longer with a cycle of 7 months until harvest.

In the nearby town of Youg Qing we visited a cucumber farm. Some of the vegetables grown in these greenhouses are exported. The vegetables are taken straight to cold storage after harvest. In China trucks do not pay road tax, they can be driven to Kazakhstan in 5 days and to Russia in 10.

According to my guide the farmers here are well off. Producing the vegetables is cheap and simple, making it easy for unskilled local villagers to work there.


 
The cost of building one of these greenhouse is 10,000 Dollars and that initial expenditure will be recovered within a year. On this site there were 1000 greenhouses growing cucumbers. Each planting takes 9 months to come into maturity and will produce 20 tonnes of cucumber.

Click here to see photo report

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

Solution for open land in big cities
Rooftop greenhouse delivers fresh and low transport costs

The scarcity of open land in large cities would seem to be an insurmountable obstacle to building a profitable agricultural business in New York City, but Gotham Greens has managed to do just that. With a couple of hydroponic growing operations in the city, they provide high-quality, local greens to the residents of New York and the surrounding area.

“There is not a lot of space available in large cities, and any land that is available is probably more valuable to a real estate developer than to a grower,” explained Viraj Puri of Gotham Greens. Aside from the difficulty of securing land on which to grow fresh produce, the quality of soil in most cities is usually unfit for agricultural purposes. Gotham Greens’ founders looked into growing on rooftops, which are plentiful in New York, but replenishing soil or soil substrate on top of buildings is cost-prohibitive and could structurally compromise some buildings. So Gotham Greens went with a rooftop hydroponic growing system that delivers nutrients to plants via recycled water.

“We employ a nutrient film technique that runs a stream of water just beneath the plant roots,” said Viraj Puri. “The water is recycled, so we use about a tenth of the water that conventional growers use and we can reach yields that are 20 times more than those from conventional crops.” Gotham Greens’ total climate system measures temperature, humidity, light levels and an array of other factors in order to create the perfect growing climate for their greens. The automated greenhouse then adjusts shades, vents and heaters to facilitate optimal plant growth 365 days out of the year. While heating a greenhouse during the cold New York winter uses more energy than a greenhouse in Mexico would ever need, Viraj Puri argues that their energy efficient system and the benefits of local produce outweigh the higher heating costs.

“We don’t have to transport our produce over long distances, so we save on transportation and we use fewer fossil fuels,” said Viraj Puri. “A lot of the design features of our facility and the renewable energy resources we have means we need about half the heating that other greenhouses in New York need.” Because they can pick their greens in the morning and have them in a supermarket later that afternoon also means their products is fresh, relative to greens shipped from Mexico. In fact, their second facility is located on the roof of Whole Foods Market’s flagship Brooklyn location, meaning that the product is only an elevator ride away from farm to shelf. Gotham Greens currently sells all of their produce within a 20 miles radius of their greenhouses where the entire growing process is sterile and insects are used as pest control, so there are no pesticide residues or contaminants to worry about. A longer shelf life and just a higher class of product attracts consumers and ensures repeat sales and premium prices.

“Our focus is on packaged salads and leafy greens that we can sell as a high-quality product and be competitive in retail stores,” said Viraj Puri. “It seems like there are more and more start-ups that are interested in vertical farms and completely indoor growing, so we want to focus on the product. You can only get attention so long for growing in the city, but the product has to stand on its own two feet. We don’t want to focus on trying to re-invent something or come up with a new business model; our goal is to focus on putting out a high-quality product.” Gotham Greens currently has two greenhouses in the New York area that provide their branded greens to retailers like Whole Foods Market, D’Agostino, Fresh Direct and Pea Pod as well as smaller neighborhood grocers. They plan on opening two more greenhouses in 2015, a 60,000 sq ft rooftop farm in Queens and a 75,000 sq ft  facility in Chicago, which is slated to be the world’s largest rooftop farm.

For more information:
Viraj Puri
Gotham Greens
Tel: +1 (646) 458-1747
[email protected]
www.gothamgreens.com

Publication date: 12/16/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

LED lighting can significantly reduce energy consumption in greenhouse horticulture

With the exception of energy consumption, where there is still much to be done, the Dutch are global leaders in greenhouse horticulture. The quality is high, and nowhere else is the use of water and pesticides so low. Even so, demand for innovation, sustainable production and healthy fruit and vegetables and high-quality flowers remains high. One innovation that would really help in this is the introduction of LED lighting in the greenhouse horticulture sector, said Prof. Leo Marcelis, Professor in Horticulture and Product Physiology at Wageningen University.

The horticulture sector is important to the Dutch economy, as the export value of horticultural products currently totals about 16 billion Euros. The Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector in particular is a global leader; it is highly innovative and constantly searching for new, applicable knowledge.. Although production has remained more or less constant in the Netherlands, globally the demand for highly-controlled production will result in an increase in greenhouse cultivation, said Prof. Marcelis in his inaugural speech entitled Horticultural Science in the Spotlight. Exploring and exploiting the physiology of plants.

Prof. Marcelis believes that the sector needs to become more sustainable and aim to contribute to feeding the world population with high-quality, healthy products. Scientifically, the sector needs to focus primarily on the high-precision control of the growing process. This will require system innovations — to further reduce the use of resources such as water and minerals, to increase production per unit area, and to obtain the high-quality, healthy products that consumers want. The scientific focus of Marcelis and his group is on how physiological processes in crops, plants and plant organs respond to environmental conditions during plant cultivation and post-harvest, and how these affect crop production and product quality.

Marcelis believes it is important that the horticultural sector focuses not just on growing plants, but also on the handling of products following their harvest. Currently, about one third of all products are lost in this phase, a figure which he believes can be reduced by 50%.

Energy

With the exception of energy consumption, the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector is highly efficient, said Leo Marcelis. Production levels are extremely high, most pests and diseases are controlled biologically and water and nutrients are largely recycled. For example, it takes 15 litres of water to produce a kilo of tomatoes in a Dutch greenhouse, compared with 60 litres in the open air in the Mediterranean region.

Unfortunately, energy consumption in the Dutch horticulture sector is still very high, and is in fact responsible for 10% of the national gas consumption. Energy costs account for 15-30% of the total costs for a horticultural farm, which is why the sector is trying so hard to achieve energy savings.

As Marcelis explained, it is not heat production that is the problem, ‘the problem is the energy needed for lighting, and light is the driving force behind plant growth.’ He and his group are strong advocates of LED lighting in greenhouse horticulture, and he estimates that the smart use of LEDs can achieve energy savings of up to 50%. LEDs also have other benefits compared with the lights currently used (high pressure sodium lights), such as the ability to change the colour of the light, the position of the light source in relation to the plant and the intensity of the light. This would enable lighting to be used much more efficiently, resulting in better plant growth and a higher quality product.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Restoring wetlands can lessen soil sinkage, greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

Restoring wetlands can help reduce or reverse soil subsidence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to research in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by Dartmouth College researchers and their colleagues.

The study, which is one of the first to continually measure the fluctuations of both carbon and methane as they cycle through wetlands, appears in the journal by Global Change Biology.

Worldwide, agricultural drainage of organic soils has resulted in vast soil subsidence and contributed to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. The California Delta was drained more than a century ago for agriculture and human settlement and has since experienced subsidence rates that are among the highest in the world. It is recognized that drained agriculture in the Delta is unsustainable in the long-term. To help reverse subsidence and capture carbon, there is interest in restoring drained agricultural land-use types to flooded conditions, but flooding may increase methane emissions. Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, but pound for pound, methane’s impact on climate change is more than 20 times greater than carbon dioxide.

Researchers at Dartmouth, UC-Berkeley and UC-Davis installed monitoring equipment on three moveable four-meter towers, measuring carbon dioxide and methane concentrations above a pasture and a cornfield that had been drained and a flooded rice paddy, a newly restored wetland and a wetland that underwent restoration in 1997. They found that the drained sites were net carbon and greenhouse gas sources. Conversely, the restored wetlands were net sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide, but they were large sources of methane emissions, says co-author Jaclyn Hatala Matthes, an assistant professor an assistant professor in Dartmouth’s Department of Geography. “However, we do expect that the methane emissions will stabilize over time,” she says. “We’ve seen that emissions tend to increase for the first few years, and that this increase is correlated with the increase in wetland plant growth and spread during this time.”

In another recent paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, Matthes and her co-authors analyzed the correlation between wetland methane emissions and vegetation around the towers, where more plants resulted in an increase in the methane emissions. Where the vegetation patches had more “edges” — convoluted borders — the methane emissions were lower. “We are looking at the structure of vegetation patterns that might help to inform management goals for a restored wetland, how big do you want the vegetation patches to be, how much edge they should have,” Matthes says. “It’s a little bit tricky in ecosystem engineering, but we are hoping to learn some things about how people might plan wetland vegetation in order to maximize carbon dioxide uptake but to minimize methane release.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

New SunSelect greenhouse grows California peppers year-round

Exterior-landscape-2

SunSelect, a leading Canadian greenhouse grower, will ship its first-ever California-grown tomatoes this week. This historic shipment marks the beginning of a new era for the British Columbia-based grower, as the doors to its brand new 32-acre greenhouse officially open to fresh opportunities.

Along with cocktail and traditional tomatoes-on-the-vine, SunSelect’s high tech, state-of-the-art facility, located in Tehachapi, CA, will produce sweet Bell peppers year-round. Notably, this makes SunSelect one of the only large-scale greenhouse growers in the Golden State to produce peppers in the winter, enabling attractive programs for retailers seeking California sweet Bells during the colder months of the year and beyond.

SunSelect’s expansion into California has also deepened its long-term partnership with The Oppenheimer Group, an investor in the new facility. And even as SunSelect prepares to ship its first product from the new greenhouse, construction of a second facility is already under way in Tehachapi.

“We have started building an additional 32 acres, which will double our current size and significantly increase our year-round pepper volume,” Len Krahn, SunSelect co-owner, said in a press release. Peppers grown in this second phase will be available in late 2015.

“We chose Tehachapi for a few reasons, including the high light levels to promote uniform plant growth, the plentiful water and low humidity,” said Len’s brother and SunSelect co-owner Victor Krahn. “And because the temperature in this valley is lower than surrounding areas, it is naturally free of many pests.”

Inside the fully sealed greenhouse, SunSelect has employed the latest technology to assure an optimal growing environment where sustainable practices are undertaken. From water recycling to re-introduction of waste CO2 as fertilizer to natural air heating, cooling and re-circulation systems, SunSelect extends the commitment to sustainable growing it pioneered in British Columbia to its new California greenhouse.

“We are serious about growing the best tomatoes and peppers in the most sustainable manner we can,” Victor Krahn said.

SunSelect tomatoes-on-the vine will be available at the end of October, and peppers will follow about a week later. While product will ship throughout the U.S., part of the sustainability strategy includes a focus on the local California market.

“We are launching a new series of packaging that emphasizes the California origin of our new items,” he said, noting that the iconic California bear is featured on the packs. “We anticipate that a considerable amount of our early product will be sold here, and we are eager to build a local following.”

Aaron Quon, greenhouse and vegetable category director for The Oppenheimer Group ― SunSelect’s marketing partner ― points to the significant impact the new facility could have: “This is an important step in the evolution of the North American greenhouse category,” he said. “With SunSelect, we will be the first to offer U.S.-grown greenhouse sweet Bell peppers year round. And with the addition of TOVs and cocktail tomatoes―combined with SunSelect’s BC production of peppers and cucumbers―we can deliver a full basket of high-demand items to our customers from SunSelect any day of the year.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Lettuce grower in Australia now producing young plants in a retractable roof greenhouse

Lettuce grower in Australia now producing young plants in a retractable roof greenhouse

Koala Produce in Gatton, QLD is now producing all of their young plants inside their new retractable roof greenhouse. This is the first time that Koala has produced their own seedlings so they had no experience growing in any type of greenhouse. According to Anthony Staatz of Koala, the retractable roof greenhouse design reinforced their vision of growing their plants outside to grow them strong and hardy but with the ability to protect the plants from the extreme rain, hail, wind and heat. Even though the greenhouse management team had no previous greenhouse experience, “the results have exceeded expectations”. They found that water management was easier than they expected since they installed irrigation booms.  If plants were too dry, they could easily water them and if plants were too wet, it was easy to dry out the plants simply by retracting the roof.

To incorporate the materials handling requirements into the overall greenhouse layout and ensure that all growing areas were the same size, the greenhouse was designed with a series of 10m wide houses with 12.8m wide houses being used where internal roadways are located. Koala constructed the greenhouses themselves with the assistance of a local construction builder who had never built a greenhouse before.

For more information:
Cravo Equipment Ltd
Benjamin Martin
Canada
Toll Free: (CDA/ US) 888 738 7228
Office:  +(1) 519 759 8226 x260
Mobile:  +(1) 905 317 3546
Skype: benjamin_cravo
[email protected]
www.cravo.com

Publication date: 9/26/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Baja greenhouse production takes big hit from hurricane

Greenhouses on Mexico’s Baja peninsula endured enormous damage from the winds of Hurricane Odile, which delivered its strongest punch Sept. 16 on the southern part of the peninsula.

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, located in Nogales, AZ, indicated Sept. 19 that the hurricane “hit southern Baja pretty hard. Reports are still coming in, but the first reports are of 100 percent loss” of the region’s produce greenhouses and their crops.

Lance-JungmeyerLance Jungmeyer“We may find that not all the crops were lost,” Jungmeyer said, adding that the question remained as to what part of these crops might make it to market. “A lot of the roads were washed out” in Baja.

In the key Mexican production states of Sonora and Sinaloa, there was “minor” crop damage and the rainfall was beneficial in replenishing reservoirs.

“It’s a positive because when you grow in the desert, you need all the water you can get,” said Jungmeyer. “Overall, even if Baja loses tomatoes and peppers, Sinaloa and Sonora will pick up the slack” to serve demand. “There will not be supplies like you would normal have but it’s not dire unless you were growing in Baja.”

Jungmeyer said it was wind damage more than rain that devastated Baja. “The wind tore down structures and the plants were ripped to shreds. But maybe some can be salvaged. It was the winds that were really concerning.”

Initial news reports indicated Baja’s winds were 100 miles per hour. A Sept. 20 CNN report said the winds hit 125 mph.

Jungmeyer indicated that the Baja greenhouses had scarcely begun harvesting. He noted that Mexico’s primary vegetable shipping season runs from November until June.

On Sept. 19, Jose Luis Obregon, president of IPR Fresh in Rio Rico, AZ, confirmed that Mexican production areas aside from Baja endured little impact from Odile, nor from Hurricane Norbert, which struck Mexico two weeks before Odile.

Obregon indicated that some Nogales-area distributors started receiving Mexican colored Bell peppers and tomatoes Sept. 19. “There is some squash in Nogales from Hermosillo,” he said. “And cukes have been arriving in Nogales with honeydew and watermelons for a while.” Mostly, “the season for Nogales starts next week [Sept. 22]. Slowly but surely, we’re starting in Nogales. Sonora will begin in the next two weeks. Sinaloa will start in the last week of November.”

These growing areas have enjoyed rain, “but nothing major” that would damage crops,” said Obregon. “There has been no destruction from wind.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Dietary recommendations may be tied to increased greenhouse gas emissions

If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary recommendations, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases tied to agricultural production could increase significantly, according to a new study by University of Michigan researchers.

Martin Heller and Gregory Keoleian of U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of about 100 foods, as well as the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They found that if Americans adopted the recommendations in USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,” while keeping caloric intake constant, diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase 12 percent.

If Americans reduced their daily caloric intake to the recommended level of about 2,000 calories while shifting to a healthier diet, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by only 1 percent, according to Heller and Keoleian.

A paper by Heller and Keoleian titled “Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss” is scheduled for online publication Sept. 5 in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

“The take-home message is that health and environmental agendas are not aligned in the current dietary recommendations,” Heller said.

The paper’s findings are especially relevant now because the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is for the first time considering food sustainability within the context of dietary recommendations, he said.

In its 2010 dietary guidelines, USDA recommends that Americans eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. They should consume less salt, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugar and refined grains.

The guidelines don’t explicitly state that Americans should eat less meat. However, an appendix to the report lists the recommended average daily intake amounts of various foods, including meat. The recommended amount of meat is significantly less than current consumption levels, which Heller and Keoleian estimated using the USDA’s Loss Adjusted Food Availability dataset as a proxy for per capita food consumption in the United States.

While a drop in meat consumption would help cut diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, increased use of dairy products — and to a lesser extent seafood, fruits and vegetables — would have the opposite effect, increasing diet-related emissions, according to the U-M researchers.

In the United States in 2010, food production was responsible for about 8 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. In general, animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods.

The production of both beef cattle and dairy cows is tied to especially high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

For starters, cows don’t efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk, so they must eat lots of feed. Growing that feed often involves the use of fertilizers and other substances manufactured through energy-intensive processes. And then there’s the fuel used by farm equipment.

In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing the U.S. diet are dominated by the meats category, according to Heller and Keoleian. While beef accounts for only 4 percent by weight of the food available, it contributes 36 percent of the associated greenhouse gases, they conclude.

The U-M researchers found that a switch to diets that don’t contain animal products would lead to the biggest reductions in this country’s diet-related greenhouse emissions.

But Heller said he’s not arguing that all Americans should go vegan, and he believes that animals need to be part of a sustainable agricultural system. However, reduced consumption would have both health and environmental benefits.

In their Journal of Industrial Ecology paper, Heller and Keoleian also looked at wasted food and how it contributes to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. They concluded that annual emissions tied to uneaten food are equivalent to adding 33 million passenger vehicles to the nation’s roads.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily