Local Roots was one of the innovative companies at the Electric Power Research Institute’s Electrification 2018 International Conference & Exposition held in Long Beach, California August 20-23.
PUF’s editor-in-chief Steve Mitnick caught up with Jack Piper, agricultural engineer, Local Roots.
Jack Piper: Local Roots is an LA-based startup. We're about four years old. We're a team of engineers, plant scientists, and horticulturists. Over that time, we've essentially developed what is the world's most productive and efficient indoor agriculture technology. We take shipping containers from the port here in LA, and we convert them into what is the equivalent of up to five acres worth of farmland.
Just a bit of background. In America, the average head of lettuce travels about eighteen hundred miles, with forty to sixty percent of that going to waste. On top of that, we use, depending on the crop, forty to seventy percent of our freshwater usage, which goes into agriculture.
Now, in one of these terra farms, as we call them, we can grow four to five acres worth of farmland on up to one percent of the water, without any pesticides or herbicides. So, by being able to control the environment, there are some major advantages to that.
We're able to grow close to the point of consumption, but also in any geography, any climate, at any time of year. That means that you're getting fresher product with greater nutrient density, and greater flavor, but also a much longer shelf life, which reduces waste dramatically within the supply chain.