A farming complex under development in the West Valley operates in a warehouse-like structure in Avondale. Neither soil nor sunlight is used in the growing process, and water consumption is minimal — less than in the facility's restrooms. The farmworkers are robots about the size of residential air conditioners that scurry about on magnetic rails, tending to the plants by reading QR codes.

The place looks and feels more like a semiconductor-manufacturing cleanroom than an agricultural field. It relies heavily on artificial intelligence, software, and robotics — and little on Mother Nature.

The aeroponics or air-growing business is the brainchild of two tennis-enthusiast Australians, Sam Bertram, 29, and his brother John, 31. They share the lofty goal of improving global nutrition — not just in terms of supplying enough to eat for people with few means but also in providing higher quality foods for affluent individuals.

Their parent company, One Point One, is striving to sell its technology to entrepreneurs and others who want to pursue cultivation in this manner. In other words, One Point One is in the business of selling farms and farming apparatus, and it has received an undisclosed number of patents for its vertical aeroponics systems and methods.

"We want to provide the hardware for the agricultural industry to grow their plants," Sam said. The company name alludes to the roughly 1.1 billion people who don't know from where their next meal is coming.

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