May 7, 2021
How LED Lighting from Current Is Feeding Thousands in Texas

Big Tex Urban Farms uses Arize™ Lynk and Arize™ Element Top Lighting LED growing systems to serve up more fresh greens for Dallas communities.

{Sponsored} Located at the State Fair of Texas®, Big Tex Urban Farms is part innovation lab, part production facility and fully on a mission to grow fresh produce for food-desert communities. A food-desert area is one that lacks easy access to grocery stores, farmers’ markets and other healthy eating options—a problem that has long impacted large parts of South Dallas.

“It’s incredible that we’re able to have a farm in a parking lot,” says Jason Hays, creative director of Big Tex Urban Farms, which launched in 2016 as a revolutionary mobile agriculture system in the heart of the State Fair of Texas.

Big Tex counts on Hort Americas, a commercial greenhouse and hydroponics supplier, to deliver innovative and economically viable solutions that will result in even greater food yields. Along with the brand-new grow bed, Hort Americas brought the urban farm another bright idea—an LED system from GE Current, a Daintree company that provides the most suitable spectrum of light for indoor farming.

Chris Higgins (general manager for Hort Americas) and Matt White (customer support specialist) met with Hays and Drew Demler, director of horticulture for Big Tex Urban Farms, to demonstrate how the Arize™ Lynk LED lighting system provides optimal light spectrums for plant growth.

Past experiences had taught the Big Tex team that LED lamps offer longer life, energy savings, lower maintenance and less heat as compared to traditional horticulture lighting options like fluorescent tubes and high-pressure sodium fixtures, making the decision to add the Arize system to its newest deep-water bed an easy one. As Higgins explains, it only took a few weeks to see a dramatic difference.

“I checked on Jason and Drew shortly after the project wrapped, and they showed me some red leaf lettuce from the tank with Current’s LEDs, and the comparison from the other tank was really unbelievable,” he says. “The consistency of the color, the size of the heads—it’s obvious the light is having a big impact.”

Big Tex’s state-of-the-art grow bed also features a nano-bubbler system that suspends small bubbles of oxygen in the water. Together with the Arize Element Top Lighting LED system, these technologies are allowing greens to grow more consistently through the heat of the Texas summer, which is also leading to a larger crop and increased excitement for how the hydroponic garden can benefit South Dallas for years to come.

“It’s been humbling to see what we’ve achieved in a short time in a financially conscious way. I think it’s a model for other organizations wanting to give back to their communities. We’re here for the long haul, and now we can feed more people because of the new lights, which only has us thinking about what comes next and how soon we can get there.”

© 2021 Current Lighting Solutions, LLC

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GPN recognizes 40 industry professionals under the age of 40 who are helping to determine the future of the horticulture industry. These individuals are today’s movers and shakers who are already setting the pace for tomorrow.