Apr 18, 2018
Antarctica Grows First Vegetables By Jasmina Dolce

Earlier this month, German scientists working in Antarctica announced they were able to grow vegetables without soil, sunlight or pesticides. From their very first harvest, Team Neumayer Station III was able to gather 8 pounds of different vegetables.

Working out of a greenhouse named the EDEN-ISS, which is about the size of a shipping container, the scientists used a specially designed hydroponic system to grow salad greens, cucumbers and radishes. The system employs a reusable water cycle and advanced nutrient delivery, and also utilizes LED lighting.

While the ISS has previously grown space vegetables a few years back, Germany’s attempt focused on a wider range of vegetables.

The goal of the research is to find possible ways to cultivate food for human missions in space, and this mission provided scientists with the perfect environment to simulate hostile and isolated conditions.

EDEN-ISS is a four-year project and is set to conclude in February 2019. I anticipate additional reports in the coming months. Stay tuned!

— Jasmina

CEA Leaders Form Food Safety Group

A new food safety group has been formed by leaders in controlled environment agriculture. Organizing members include BrightFarms, AeroFarms and Little Leaf Farms, with more companies expected to participate as well. The first meeting of the group is set for June 25-27 in Chicago. “We thought it made sense to voluntarily all get together, and on a non-competitive basis, share best practices about how to safely grow in controlled environments, so the whole industry is safer and proactively attempt to head off any future problems that would be bad for consumers or the industry,” said Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms.

Indoor Ag Startup to Open Facility in Kentucky

Hydroponic Farms USA plans to invest more than $44.5 million in Eastern Kentucky’s Breathitt County and create 121 jobs with the construction of the new facility. The nearly 42-acre facility will have 35.5 acres of production space and use hydroponic and aeroponic technology to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers and other produce. “Appalachia has much to offer the world in terms of natural beauty and abundant resources,” said Tim Davis, managing member of Hydroponic Farms USA. “With the agronomic and technological expertise provided by our partners at Green Ag Technologies, we are proud to bring the future of farming to the area and make a significant impact on the produce industry.”

Aquaculture Funding Opportunity Available

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture has announced a special research grant program. The purpose of the Aquaculture Research program is to support the development of an environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the U.S. by generating new science-based information and technology to address industry constraints. The program will fund projects that directly address major constraints to the U.S. aquaculture industry and focus on one or more of the following priorities: 1) genetics of commercial aquaculture species, 2) critical disease issues impacting aquaculture species, 3) design of environmentally and economically sustainable aquaculture production systems, and 4) economic research for increasing aquaculture profitability. To learn more about the grant and to apply, click here.

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Jasmina Dolce

Jasmina Dolce is managing editor of GPN magazine. She can be reached at jdolce@greatamericanpublish.com.