Today most produce is grown by large, mono-culture farms, far from urban areas. A large portion is even imported. As a result, produce travels an average of 1,500 over several weeks to months before reaching the grocery store in the United States. Significant nutrition is lost, produce spoils and emissions produced due to the transportation.
Small local, farms provide the perfect alternative to this globalized, factory farm system. Being close to demand, their produce arrives to consumers fresher, less spoils and fewer emission are produced. Unfortunately, small farms are not able to produce consistent annual yields due to a limited growing season and increasingly variable weather. Furthermore, small farmers struggle with financial viability due to rising costs of production. As a result, most small farmers must work 2nd or 3rd jobs due to poor wages. These factors limit the potential impact of small farms.
Growbox supports local farmers by providing Farming as a Service (FaaS), leasing automated container farms that grow year-round. Because of automation and machine learning, our farms grow 32x more per square foot with 10x less labor, providing small farmers with significant yields year-round, no matter the weather. For the farmer, this translates to significant base income. Because they require little labor, it allows small farmers to dedicate more time to other operations, such as field crops or orchards. We are helping small farmers be a profitable career path once again.
Unlike other container farm companies that use hydroponics, which is hard to learn, we are soil-based. This means our farms are both easy to use and natural. Using soil also means they can grow a diverse variety of crops. Coupled with automation and a high yield per square foot, this opens the door to small farmers growing diverse, healthy and sustainable produce directly in cities.
In the future, we will provide an additional service as part of our FaaS model: a coop framework to help them organize, supply larger customers, such as restaurants and grocery stores, who require a significant and reliable supply. In this way, the small farm collective will be able to out-perform the current agricultural system.