What is controlled environment agriculture (CEA)?

CEA is the method by which we use a combination of climate control, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and biosecurity to precisely control the inputs and outputs of plant growing conditions. This is most commonly done for research purposes but is slowly becoming a more commercialized method of food production.

What is hydroponics?

“Hydro-,” meaning “water,” Ancient Greek “πόνος” (“pónos), meaning “work, labor”, and “-ics,” meaning “characteristic actions or activities.”

Hydroponics simply means “growing in water.” There are many common ways to do this: Deep Water Culture (DWC), Ebb and Flow, and drip irrigation are the 3 most common. We use the latter in our farm.

What is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is the combination of both CEA and hydroponics. We can transform what efficient growing means by precisely controlling our environment, using efficient cultivation methods and making the most out of our growing space.

Are we “organic?”

The USDA defines Organic as, “fosters soil fertility”, but because we grow plants primarily in a water system, we have chosen not to attain an organic certification. But the good news is, Avert produce is as good as, and sometimes better than, organic because:

• Hydroponics are grown indoors and since we are able to control the growing environment the produce never comes in contact with pesticides. 
• Plants grow without any soil (saves the soil for the future)
• Your tomatoes and cucumbers grow in a closed-loop, sustainable environment (we recycle our water and nutrients for the plants)
• The nutrients your produce grows in are the same exact nutrients the Organic field farmer uses to grow their produce, with little to no risk of E. coli and other bacteria.

Why start in Lincoln, Nebraska?

Lincoln has a large passion for agriculture and also for food. With the amount of public interest, access to talent, and local community partnerships, it was an easy choice to begin work here.

Where to next?

The next stop on this vertical farming journey includes larger, more automated facilities and more varieties and types of foods. This will require significant research and development to improve flavor and nutrition, while working with the local communities to increase the city’s food security.