Cityblooms: An alternative farming system

The Lempert Report
October 16, 2014

Develops and implements urban farming technology to provide communities with affordable access to nutritious fresh produce.

Finding alternative farming systems to keep up with growing foods demands in ways that reduce our environmental impact,  is a task that calls for some innovative thinking.  Do you know what the biggest challenge is for an agripreneur? Well, CityBlooms does - they are a company that develops and implements urban farming technology to provide communities with easy and affordable access to nutritious fresh produce.

NICK HALMOS, CEO Cityblooms The inspiration for CityBloom came out of the desire to provide sustainably grown & fresh produce to a extended population. Over the next 40 years global population is going to surpass 9 billion people which means that we effectively have to start growing and improving our food distribution and production by over 70%. And in order to meet that expanding demand we really think new food technology has to be bought to bear to make our food system more efficient.

PHIL Cityblooms' micro farms allows "agripreneurs" to grow fresh produce with improved efficiency.  These micro farms use water as the primary means to grow and deliver nutrients to plants, not soil. A system that's called hydroponics. Not only space efficient but also, by using recirculating irrigation systems they significantly increase water efficiency. Another innovative aspect? Their use of mobile technology:

NICK CityBlooms is internet of things brought to the farming arena. Every one of our micro farms has a sensor network, embedded in the micro farm, that is constantly evaluating environmental conditions at the farm inside the cultivation space and sending that info to the cloud. That enables us to develop what we call our farming control center. Intuitive use interface that allows the farmer to see what’s  going on in farm and make controls over the environment condition at the farm in real time from any internet enabled device. 

PHIL And for this innovative company, a new partnership is an example of how their micro farms can be used for the benefit of companies and consumers.

NICK We have established a micro farm at the Plantronics headquarters, that farm has bi-weekly deliveries of ultra fresh produce, the food doesn't travel more than a couple of hundred yards from seed to consumption. Delivered directly to a food service establishment that's operated by Bon Appetite Management.  Right of the bat we're improving water efficiency...reducing food miles and food waste. We can bring a "just in time" manufacturing concept to agriculture. We are harvesting to meet demand, we reduce waste and the food miles  That encapsulates an awful lot of ideas.  By bringing the food production into the cities, we’ve been developing the motto “We’re Measuring farm to fork in yards rather than miles".