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Deane Falcone with Crop One

How indoor farming reduces food waste

In 2018, Crop One had just announced that they were building the largest indoor hydroponic farm in the world. The farm, based in Dubai, is set to be 300,000 square feet, three stories high, and capable of producing up to 6,000 pounds of food a day. 

In this article, Deane Falcone, the CSO of Crop One, explains how Crop One's protocol and technology produce extremely clean plants that result in very little waste.

"There are numerous metrics for just indoor production, but I'll focus on things that are, I think, unique to us at Crop One. So the first thing is that it's going back to that plant's first concept. What we're really trying to do at the end of the day is grow a very, very high-quality plant. When you grow high-quality plants, I mean all the leaves that I get on the plants are on a, you know, spinach or kale or lettuce. You want all those leaves to be high quality. And so that's what we really aim for. So that's the beginning of the process. 

In other words, there's not a leaf, or there are far, far fewer leaves that might be discarded because they're not at the right development stage. They might have some yellowing or something like that. And so all the systems contribute to that high quality. So at the very beginning, that of the process, what you're wasting, so to speak, is reduced. So that's an important concept to keep in mind. 

The other really important concept is the cleanliness factor. So we talk about this a lot, you know, we grow in sealed rooms, it's filtered air, grown on purified water, we have pretty elaborate water purification systems. And so what that gives us is a plant that's very, very clean. And you may or may not know from previous discussions with us, but no one touches the plants. If they are touched by hand when they're transplanted, or they're harvested, it's people being wound up wearing gloves, so only a gloved hand touches the plant. Not even water touches the surface of the plant that you eat. So I'm going into that because that results in again a clean environment, filtered air, etc., etc. 

That gives us what we refer to as a very low microbial load on the surface of plants that have very little fungi and bacteria on the surface and plants, the surface of leaves. But we've had this tested, we set up the labs and stuff like that. And so the reason why that's important is that these are not disease-causing pathogenic microbes, but it turns out that when you as soon as you harvest the plant, as soon as you harvest that leaf, the fungi and bacteria, which again is a natural part of the environment, that's what causes the breakdown of food, so we start seeing food decay is because of these."

Read the complete article at

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