Building Systems to Change the World

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA - https://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs) the U.S. is estimated to waste between 30-40% of the food supply. This is a mind-boggling statistic when we consider the abject shortage of food not only in America, but all over the world.

Much of the waste of food can be attributed to spoilage that occurs at every step within the supply chain. This waste is really magnified when the production is something such as a vegetable that is grown, but for some reason either cannot or is not safely eaten or transported to a place where it can be consumed.

At HYVE we are doing our part to try and eliminate food waste by building complex and effective total solutions for indoor farming that help to alleviate spoilage factors by eliminating contaminants, shortening time-to-market cycles or simply better controlling the grow environment.

For example, our large contained environment horticulture systems make it possible to grow vegetation in a controlled environment free from forces of nature such as flooding, hail, wildfires, or polluted run-off. This not only allows farmers to grow healthy pesticide and herbicide-free crops with significantly less risk from natural factors, but also provides a means for safer and more predictable crop yields.

Our total solution system lets farmers grow crops year-round and control many of the aspects of the grow cycle. We have automated fertigation and irrigation, grow lighting to mimic sunlight and “trick” vegetation into growing faster, as well as automation in our seeding and harvesting processes to shorten most components of the grow cycle. This means that more crops can be grown and those crops can be grown in a healthier environment, and then harvested and transported more quickly to areas where the vegetation can be used or consumed.

Our contained environment systems allow users to grow crops virtually anywhere so even food desserts can have ample access to freshly-grown products.

In addition, many crops can be grown in logistical hubs that are not practical with conventional farming. For example, if an area is too cold to grow a crop outside, that particular type of vegetation must be transported to that area for consumption. This might mean harvesting the crop ahead of time, loading it onto trucks, and then trucking the vegetation across country. This means there is greater chance for spoilage and the crop itself is not as fresh as it could be when it is delivered.

Of course the obvious question that people ask us a lot is whether such a system is financially feasible for growing. At HYVE we have developed a system with the technology to provide commercial growers with a very good return-on-investment for most crops. We truly view this as a win-win-win situation. First of all, less food is wasted so more people can be fed. Second, the food is healthier and more abundant, meaning the consumer can enjoy unmatched freshness and less of a chance of a short supply or some safety issue (think about the recalls of lettuce we have all seen - we can’t completely remove risk, but we certainly control select risk factors). Third, commercial growers have a model that will work, can easily be replicated within our system, and provides an excellent return-on-investment for the grower. So, we have more and better food that is produced at a price that makes the farmer a profit and also allows the consumer to purchase at a fair price.

At HYVE we understand that we can’t control every factor in growing and also we know the adoption curve for indoor farming is not automatic. While it is unlikely that conventional farming is apt to go away because of this new way of doing things, we do believe that ours is a positive disruption of the way people can and will eventually grow.

HYVE systems are hydroponic so there is less waste of natural resources. HYVE systems use far less space than conventional farming, and HYVE systems can be used to grow a variety of crops in virtually any geographic location. Really the possibilities for this evolving technology are almost endless.

We are constantly working to improve the way our systems perform. Our engineering team is looking for ways to improve what we do each day and that is reflected in the changes we see in our systems and how they perform in our grow lab.

As this blog is being typed we are working to expand our realm of knowledge and capability within our grow lab in Central Virginia. It’s our mission and hope that we can help to build systems that will change the world in a number of ways.

Would you like to see us in action? Visit www.growhyve.com to learn more about our systems and our people or to schedule a tour. Billions of pounds of food are wasted each year. Together we can help to feed a world that is being starved by wasteful habits and techniques.

Ken Bryant