ROBBINSVILLE, NEW JERSEY – At first glance, it’s a typical early-spring landscape in the northern state of New Jersey: the trees are bare, the grass looks dull and brown. But in the heart of Robbinsville Township, inside what used to be a shipping container, a high-tech farm is flourishing. Pat McKeon, a volunteer at the farm, explains the plants inside to the Voice of America. “You can see that the ones at the top may be a bit smaller, as the drainage goes through and the nutrients… So the largest lettuce will be at the bottom. And then we will extract them … And you can see that the final product has a very small root system. “There are 256 stalls or small shops with green products on this high-tech farm. Every week there is a new harvest. The secret is the hydroponics: a special drainage system that circulates a solution of calcium nitrate, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Hope Neis is the farm’s hydroponic farm coordinator. Neis talks to the VOA about the nutrients in the soil Hope Neis, hydroponic farm coordinator. “It is not liquid soil, but it contains many nutrients that plants will need. Believe it or not, soil contains a lot of beneficial organisms, bacteria and microorganisms in general. And those are the nutrients that plants need “, points out this specialist. The excess water and nutrients return to special reservoirs and then begin to circulate again. The plants are watered every three hours for about ten minutes. The sunlight is artificial and comes from 196 LED light strips. The temperature and chemical composition of the air are strictly controlled. It is always plus 22 degrees Celsius, the humidity level is 56%, and the amount of carbon dioxide is 1,800 parts per million. Hope Nace, the coordinator of the farm work tells us that one of the important steps is to emit carbon dioxide or CO2 into the atmosphere. “In fact, we have to emit CO2 into the atmosphere, we have to pump it if we are not here. So, if I’m on vacation or it’s the weekend, we have to inject CO2 “, Nace points out. Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can download this video to view it offline. And like everything else For the rest these days, this farm can be run through a smartphone app. Robbinsville Township has been involved in this type of farming since 2017, says Kevin Holt, Recreation Manager, Township. the first in the US to have a freight farm, and we might still be the only ones. But I hope there will be more, because one of our main goals in achieving this was to create a model that is sustainable that we can share with other municipalities and say, ‘hey, you can bring this to your community, you can help your people with fresh nutrition 24/7 and up to 365 days a year. ” A very special relationship system has also emerged on the farm. Seniors, volunteers, and school children help maintain this unique ecosystem created around an old shipping container.
READ MORE WAB NEWS