By the team at Bluelab
We asked Carter Winn, Operations Manager at Plantible Foods who cultivate Lemna duckweed; one of the most sustainable, nutrient-dense plants in the world. The tiny aquatic plant contains up to 45% protein, can be grown year-round, and doubles in biomass every 48 hours.
The team at Plantible Foods grows Lemna duckweed in controlled aquafarms, that allow for the continuous recycling and retention of fresh water, removing the need for arable land mass.
Carter Winn, Operations Manager at Plantible Foods, is responsible for agriculture technology and automation management. We asked...
What’s the future of controlled environment agriculture (CEA)? And what are you doing at Plantible Foods to help lead the future of food?
We have to figure it out. As our population grows, our resources are shrinking. We have to figure out how to be more efficient with our resources. Automation makes everything more efficient. You can potentially dose less.
When I was in college, I took a class called Food Forever, with a focus on fresh water. When I learned that we are running out of fresh available water, and agriculture is using 75% of that, I felt a responsibility. If my career is in agriculture, how can I learn how to grow food but with less water? And that’s how I found aquaponics and hydroponics.
At Plantible the ponds are covered with a mat of duckweed, so they don’t evaporate much, and when you compare it to say, lettuce grown in soil, it’s way more efficient. We reuse a lot of water.
“With Bluelab IntelliDose automation, we are more efficient with our nutrients. Instead of dosing once, we can dose throughout the day, making everything more efficient.”
Carter Winn, Operations Manager, Plantible Foods
Before automation, at Plantible, we were dumping in a ton of nutrients once a week. Now, we feed our plants once or drip throughout the day so we can be more efficient with our nutrients.
We also have full automation in our greenhouse, we can control the environment, so we can grow in very arid areas, like Texas, where it is a desert. There is not a lot of crop diversity in this area in Texas, and now we are growing a ton of food for the world in a place where you couldn’t normally.