Agtech solutions with The Agrarian Group in Maine


Posted on Wednesday 6th July 2022
Agtech Solutions for Maine

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An increasingly viable solution for climate change is Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), implemented across the U.S., in states likes Maine.

The water, energy, and food security nexus is a real and present problem. 

Here are some highlights from the website of The Agrarian Group:

As a species, we face the most complex and deadly problems we have ever encountered. Erratic weather events caused by climate change destroy crop yields each year. Pesticides have ruined our soil and water scarcity has become a national security issue. 70% of food cost is linked to fossil fuels, and prices are only expected to rise. The average food item travels 1500 miles to reach it's destination. However, despite everything we do, 40% of all food in the United States is thrown away post-harvest. 


The Agrarian Group was started as an answer to a question - How will we feed the projected 9.1 Billion people that will reside on earth in 2050? To achieve this, we need to increase our already stressed agricultural production by 70%. How do we grow better?

To learn more about Vertical Farming for states like Maine, visit The Agrarian Group

Agtech solutions can help solve the challenges we face.

Here is an example of Agtech Solutions in Maine:

Maine’s first large urban indoor farm project breaks ground in Westbrook

WESTBROOK, Maine —The company Vertical Harvest has broken ground on a six-floor, 75-foot-tall indoor farm located in the heart of Westbrook, a city of 19,000 residents adjacent to Portland.

The farm’s growing season will be year-round and not affected by severe storms or droughts getting worse due to climate change.

Food supply resiliency is part of the mission.

"We can produce 365 days a year, because we don't have to worry about the weather," Vertical Harvest Chief Operating Officer Todd Hanna said in an interview at the construction site on Thursday.

Hanna says the farm will primarily grow different types of lettuce and other greens using hydroponic technology – no soil, no fertilizer, no pesticides — as it does in its first indoor farm at its Jackson Hole, Wyoming, headquarters.

Hanna said, "We can control the environment inside the farm to have a higher level of food safety related to contamination."

Vertical Harvest plans to produce two million pounds of produce every year on a half-acre footprint, and Hanna said it would take nearly 100 acres of traditional outdoor farmland to replicate that output.

Hanna said the farm will consume 90% less water than traditional agriculture and recycle it.

He said, “If it doesn’t rain, we still have water, and it’s recirculated water, so we don’t run out of it.”

Though the indoor farm will depend on heavy electricity usage, Hanna said it will draw from renewable energy sources as much as possible and use efficient LED lighting.

It is partnering with local food distributors such as Native Maine and supermarket chains like Hannaford.

Hanna said, “We have a commitment to distribute locally, whereas roughly 90% of the produce in the U.S. is trucked from California and Arizona, so the climate impact of trucking food 2,000 miles is significant.”

The Westbrook farm represents a $50 million investment by the company and is projected to sustain 50 permanent jobs.

It will anchor a new multi-use development, including a 60-unit apartment building—with affordable workforce housing--and a 400-space parking garage that will be free.

"This project is huge. It's really going to be a catalyst for the future of our downtown in the city of Westbrook," Mayor Michael Foley said in an interview.

The farm may also be a model for as many as 10 or 20 urban indoor farms Vertical Harvest intends to build in the next five years, in cities as large as Detroit and Chicago and Detroit. 

If construction in Westbrook goes according to plan, the farm will open in two years. 

“Farming will be taking place year-round here in downtown Westbrook,” Foley said. “A project like this definitely helps to combat climate change.”

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