Sante Fe based startup company FarmPod is looking to flip the agricultural game on its head.
Their product is a vertical aquaponic food production system housed inside portable pods. The system is both off-grid and automated.
Powered by just solar energy and rainwater, their “basic unit” can produce over 100 pounds of fresh produce a week! All in a self-contained pod system with the footprint of a single parking space.
“This is how you’re going to get people fed when we have no water,” Mike Straight, CEO of FarmPod LLC told Sante Fe magazine. “This is how you get fed when you have no land.”
“Anybody who is just mildly handy can assemble this thing” in three days he added.
As an expert in information technology, Straight is working to ensure the FarmPod can run itself; from temperature control and water flow, to pH levels and feeding the fish.
That’s right, we said fish.
Inside the shipping container that makes up the FarmPod’s bottom level, fish grow in three large tanks; koi, barramundi, and Asian sea bass.
Water containing the fish’s waste is pumped up to the greenhouse on the second floor. The fish waste is then naturally broken down using healthy bacteria. Finally, the nutrient-rich water is delivered to the plant roots, thus returning clean water to the fish.
FarmPod has moved out of the design phase and is currently securing a manufacturing facility near a marine port.
“We need to be near a port in order to build these,” Straight said. “It’s a lot more environmentally friendly to ship these by boat than by truck.”
Currently, the team has there eyes set on St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands. The local economy in St. Croix was devastated in 2014 by the closing of an oil refinery.
“They need economic development down there,” he said, adding that the company wanted to set up a plant “somewhere where we can make a difference in the local economy and also keep that carbon footprint low.”
Companies like FarmPod are part of a growing agricultural movement that is looking ahead towards sustainability and better land management for future generations.