Using high-tech shipping containers to increase campus feed production for Auburn College

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Recycled shipping containers have become popular in recent years by turning everything from home to small stores — but Auburn University Agricultural College is using them as “permanent” farms to produce produce in conjunction with campus food. For students.

In April, the college acquired two container farms that transformed technologically advanced hydroponic growing stations to grow plants vertically indoors, feeding their food from water and electricity from a powerful LD.

The farms are now producing their first salad.

“This is a state of wisdom,” said Desmond Line, head of the Department of Horticulture. “We are talking about growing from seed to fork in four to six weeks, like lettuce, arugula or any other vegetable that can grow there. And we can produce 15 times a year in the same exact location.

This summer, associate professor of horticulture, Daniel Wells, will teach a straightforward farming course and lead a straightforward field.

Wells containers are equipped with a complete climate control system, which includes air conditioning and humidity control. They are heavily covered, and the system ensures the same weather 365 days a year.

Modified containers also have a sophisticated lighting system that provides the plants with the light they need from both color LEDs.

“We can do any number of light colors,” he said. But for photosynthesis, plants usually use red and blue light. The good news is that you can cut a lot of other tissue by creating much less heat. That is very efficient. That is, the energy used more than heat is converted into light. ”

The containers also allow controlled carbon dioxide levels, which accelerate plant growth.

“Atmospheric CO2, which you and I are exposed to daily, is around 400 ppm [parts per million], “Yes, and that’s good, plants can grow there. But if we raise CO2 to 1,000 ppm, they will grow faster. And because we have CO2, the plants can really use it. And it’s not dangerous to humans at all.”

Wells and Director of Nutrition and Deals Glen Lowurge first partnered five years ago with the Auburn Aquapanics Project, a joint venture between the College of Agriculture and on-campus Nutrition, to provide water-supply and wastewater treatment systems for nutrient-rich wastewater. It serves as a food source for plant growth. Today, fish from this effort are used in dining facilities on the Auburn campus.

In this effort the new straight fields will be built.

“We are in the process of completing a $ 26 million dining hall in the center of the compound,” said Lawridge. “I always thought that we would have the opportunity to show off our products in the cafeteria. We want to bring our big game, our biggest asset, our e-game.

“This is on-premises, on-campus production,” he added. “Can you imagine being a student who can visit to see where these products grow and then eat there? It is unbelievable. We truly believe that this will enhance our eating habits.

The modified shipping containers were built on frozen farms in Boston, operating in 45 states and 28 countries.

“There are a few different companies that are doing this,” says Line. But trucks are very sophisticated. They are the best producers on the market and the largest producers of these containers. It’s really good. ”

Adam Lenhardt, who is growing rapidly in the management of biological agricultural technology, said that Wales education was one of the most influential courses in Auburn.

“Not only was the truck coming but it was also very important to learn about new hydroponic technologies and growth techniques,” said Lenhard. I plan to continue working with postgraduate, home-based, LED hydroponic systems. My first goal after college was to modernize the city’s hydroponic farms, produce large, consistent fresh vegetables, and provide food for the needy who could not afford fresh produce.

Transformation Garden

Vertical farms are located at the southern end of the university campus near the intersection of Lee Morrison Drive and Duncan Drive at the 16-hectare Transformation Garden planned by the College of Agriculture. The purpose of the garden is to include all aspects of plant-based agriculture, from fruits and vegetables to ornaments to row crops and more.

Transformation Paradise depicts the 1896 Auburn Old Rotation, the 1896 Auburn Old Rotation new technology and agricultural history. Since that year, the historic site has been a constant source of ideas for change. Now a common place – ideas such as crop rotation, crop cover and low- and no-crop.

(Written by Christine Bowman)

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