Kimbal Musk’s Farm of the Future (Yes, Elon’s brother)

Kimbal Musk’s Farm of the Future (Yes, Elon’s brother)

Almost always, the fresh fruits and vegetables that we find at the grocery store have been trucked or shipped in from somewhere else, especially if you live in a city like New York like I do, and all this traveling affects the nutrients in them meaning they’re not as good for you as they should be. Not to mention the impact it has on the environment. But there might be a solution right behind me in these shipping containers. The way we get our food is completely messed up. In fact, on average, our produce travels 1,500 miles before getting to us. This kale is certainly much healthier than having a bag of potato chips But not all kale is created equal so to speak. As soon as a vegetable or a fruit is picked it starts deteriorating. There is a nutrient loss that is happening every day. So you’re buying a bag of spinach that was grown in California and was picked and sitting in cold storage and then washed and dried and and sitting in cold storage some more and then sent to a packer to put into those cellophane bags and sealed and then in cold storage again and then gone on a truck or a train come across the United States and goes into a distribution center and sits some more and each day there’s this nutrient loss. Is it bad for you? It’s not bad for you, but it doesn’t have that, like, spinach benefit that you think you’re getting that you’ve conditioned yourself into believing that you’re getting. But there’s one guy who thinks he has a solution and he’s Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal. Eric are you excited to meet him? Oh I’m stoked. Nice to meet you. What do you think is wrong with the way Americans currently, or in the past, have gotten their food? The two different paradigms in food today is industrial food, which is frankly, food that doesn’t taste very good. It’s high-calorie low-nutrient and real food is a way to think about food that is better for you and tastes better. [The] opportunity we have – the challenge we have in front of us is real food for everyone and technology now enables it to be delicious. There’s certainly better tasting than food is shipped across the country and in a city like New York almost everything is shipped across the country for most of the year. And so we came up with this idea to do indoor farming in the city. And we’re doing it in Brooklyn. Tanner farms. The same containers you see on the back of ships. We turn them into an indoor farm the equivalent of a two acre outdoor farm in the heart of Brooklyn. Alright, now back to Brooklyn. So, it is the dead of winter and I am in a parking lot in the middle of Brooklyn, where there are currently ten shipping containers that are growing a variety of produce. These guys aren’t using any soil and They’re using as much water as we typically use in our daily showers, which is crazy to me. Let’s take a look inside. Hello! Hi! How are you? Good. Well, so this is your farm.
This is my farm. How many things are you growing in here?
We have arugula, radicchio, minutina, bok choy, kale, lettuces. When you think about farming in the middle of the city you’ve really got to think about resources in a very different way, right. The first resource you think about is space, so this farm is built inside a 320 square foot shipping container but on an annual yield basis you’re able to get as much food as you would do from a one or a two acre outdoor farm it’s kind of crazy how much food you can grow in a very tiny footprint. They also control the climate so they can grow anything all year around. Yeah, this is some of the new stuff that I’ve seeded, which is pretty cool. In the middle I have a lettuce mix. Six different varieties. This climate allows me to grow multiple things, and I personally am just really excited to try a bunch of stuff. I have some strawberries and poppies at the front of the farm that are really cool. They’re pretty adorable. They’re just the leaves right now. I get really excited about it but you know. The next resource that you really think about is water usage. So in these systems, water drips down through the irrigation system. It’s mixed with the right level of nutrients. Gravity does its thing and feeds the plant and then the water is all captured in a tray at the bottom and is then recirculated. In fact, this whole farm runs on about eight gallons of water a day, which is like less than your shower. And that’s 95% less water than an outdoor farmer would use. It’s like you have an entire forest in here.
These look good. This is like the first time in a while that I’ve been craving a salad. It’s got a little bit of like a zing at the end. Okay, cheers. The other resource that we think about is electricity, right. And energy. So you’ll notice these pink lights all over the farm. The reason for that is that actually the spectrum of light that the plant uses is the red and the blue spectrum. It doesn’t need all of the other colors, right. And so what we do is we only push in the frequency of light that the plant needs to grow. Despite this energy use overall is still a problem. In fact, 50% of Square Root’s costs go to electricity. This is an issue many indoor farms have run into and some have had to close because of it. All of these projects are important but in order to do it they need to heat, they need to have lights, and so there’s so much energy costs to grow locally so a small-scale one is never going to be able to be sustainable economically. And so is this the most energy efficient that it could be or is there kind of room for improvement? There so much room for improvement. We are at the very very early beginning stages of this whole industry, right. I would love to figure out how we put solar on the roof of the farms, right, so we can take these farms completely off the grid. So literally every day we’re thinking about ways to make this more sustainable and more cost-effective quite frankly. So what is the solution in a city like New York where so much of our produce is coming from quite far away? I think that any project that engages with our food and the human connection with people understanding where their food comes from is great, but it’s still not a solution to be able to feed a city of eight plus million people. Even if it’s heavily funded, even if the price drops it’s still one solution, but not the only solution. To be honest, what this is made me realize is that I think I really do want to go into farming. Given the growing population and densification of cities, like, we don’t really have a choice. We can’t just not grow enough food for the people that are living here, but yeah I mean, there’s no doubt that this is definitely part of the future of food.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. I'm just going to say it: I absolutely despise the blonde lady's voice. Just hearing it makes me uncomfortable. Like, there is a clown in the waiting room with his dick out uncomfortable. Sorry blonde lady.

  2. Also, are the nutrients being used sourced sustainably? Some predict a phosphorus crisis in the future for example.

  3. 6:36 you can be as smart as you wish but once you start speaking with a Californian accent you sound like a dummy

  4. Or try making a small building for farming with the same technique as the shipping containers and use Tesla's Solar Panels for electricity. It may be expensive but over time it will be a great investment. These buildings, either small or tall can possibly be the future to farming within cities. A 320 sq/ft container grows over 2 acres worth of food, it will reduce the amount of money spent to deliver foods across the country (including the reduced amount of emissions from delivery trucks as well) and if teslas solar panel is involved, it will prevent any interruption to the farming, other than the solar panels maybe going out, but most would have bought a preventative battery that holds a long charge. I dont know much about solar panels, but it is an idea. That can possibly help emissions, increase food supply and nutrition values and over time, save money.

  5. One brother is trying to get away from this planet and the other is trying to build sustainability on this planet.


  6. stop thinjk dumb you know the future will not be full of oil think ahead yes but think about what we will have to work with

  7. So, what's the nutrient density vs traditionally grown vegetables in soil? How's it affected by the artificial nutrient mix they use to grow the plants in just water? What's the effect on the human body?

  8. Oh shit, this is what my brother has been doing in Norway for the past 4 years, enabling urban agriculture in societies, though he used bomb shelters instead of shipping containers,

  9. It really is the future and more people should grow at home, Check this out –
    I would be really interested to know how much energy they actually consume vs output, also a lot of people don't understand by using LED's you have to adjust for extra RF/EM frequencies (why lights buzz if an LED is on same circuit without correct equipment)…keep up the great work and think the whole state is ahead of the game when its coming to green inovation in densely populated areas…how many other cities want green skylines??

  10. I bet he has funding from Elon with the thoughts in mind that the optimized version of this technology will be going to Mars.

  11. So many problems can be had with criminals using this. Hopefully the more they make this easier to obtain it'll also get regulated

  12. Love Elon musk. But his brother.. is stealing the business idea and technologies of 2 canadian students and presenting it as his own. The container, the interior set up and their "plans for future solar" are 100% ripped off from the canadian company. Elon is probably embarrassed to call this clown a family member.

  13. Why not put a water turbine at the bottom of the water source to create a constant source of energy while the plants are being watered.

  14. Israel if more advanced than this, with gigantic greenhouses growing everything on small water supply, all organic, healthier with actual sun, not this overcostly system that can break easily, and costs way too much to run.

  15. There is a lot less energy used this way then traditional agricylture practices using semis orrigation tractors etc

  16. build your own batteries, build your own Tesla power wall (copy), and build your own solar panels. Save 75% of the cost and get as good or better than the overpriced Tesla name……..its all right there on Youtube

  17. hmmm this is completely stupid, regarding how much electricity each one of these will consume, at least 4-5000 watts of lighting, about another 4000 watts on heating, cooling, humidity, and water, that has to be run for at least 12 hours per day, or 16 if you want proper harvests, and your plants do need full light spectrum, green light is beneficial to plants, and say its more efficient than trucking it in? like 80% of the power is probably from coal power stations, its just retarded to say this is cleaner. Putting solar just on the roof would never be enough to supply all the power needed not including lithium battery packs, as an alternative to farming especially in urban areas is a good idea, but to claim its more efficient is just retarded.

  18. no one realised theres a free energy neodymium magnet motor that can power these for free forever? only problem the republicans and gop wont allow you to market them. they made the motor illegal to keep their pockets full from oil money.


    this motor is real. its a fact. soon it will spread like a plague ending the oil party. if you study. the government has been murdering people creating devices just like this. this motor alone could power many of these greenhouses for free forever, if one breaks theres a backup. neverending free energy from magnetism. YOU'RE WELCOME 🙂

  20. Ones making electric cars and space ships the other one is making ways to grow vegetables and weed in compact places. Nice

  21. nothing new at all…..i saw these systems in the UK over 20 years ago ……for growing cannabis secretly :]

  22. You need to get your PPFD up! Those lights are probably around 1.2 um/j. They have lights twice as efficient now, around 2.2 um/j. Check out the Migro Youtube channel for more info!

  23. Plants use varying degrees of yellow and green in the spectrum. Different plant species use different amounts.
    False info about plants only using red and blue. They also use IR and UV light, which those light strips don't provide.

    New Samsung and Epistar daylight spectrum diodes decimate that blurple crap.

    But besides that crap lighting, even factoring in the efficiency of LEDs vs old school HID lighting, growing vegetables is practically, literally, a waste of money, even with vertical farming effectively doubling or tripling the growing area.

    Unless you're growing Carolina Reaper peppers or something you can sell for a decent price, I think it's useless growing veggies under any sort of lights unless the lights are just there to extend light hours in a greenhouse.

    A head of lettuce ends up costing you $5+, for every head, for the next ten years while you try to pay your investment off lol!

    "Sweet, that barrel of potatoes only took 2 months to grow, occupied a shit ton of space, I felt a pop in my back when I tipped the barrel over to harvest it, and saved me $8 at the end of it all….just enough for a cab ride halfway to the hospital"

    Lol! Happy harvesting. I will be over here growing the only thing that should be grown indoors under lights.

  24. The whole opener is bs. Sure, food deteriorates and it loses nutrients. But sometimes it never was very nutritious in the first place. And most importantly: You're only eating garbage junk-food. Crops grown in nothern year-round greenhouses can have a worse ecological footprint than shipped produce.

  25. Okay, I find that first lady's claim that produce losing nutrients in transport highly suspect. But that said, this looks like an interesting concept.

  26. For as smart as a lot of this seems. You don't have to be an engineer to realize how stupid it is to want to put solar panels on the tops of these containers to provide light for the plants. I got interested in another company "freight Farms" tm. I'm not sure who ripped off who. But here's where I wound up. The problem to begin with is the shipping container. Here's a revolutionary idea on how to get solar in your container. Cut the roof off the damn things and let some light in. I am a millenial, but you've got to admit that they just want it to look like a club and to be controlled with apps. Plants evolved for nearly one billion years to rely on sunlight don't be a goddamn idiot, they aren't impressed with your sexy connex and you're massively inflating the cost by not using natural sunlight (it could even lower the energy bill to convert it into a hot house). There are so many benefits of this closed system that I can't believe how they're shooting themselves in the foot on the energy bill just to look cool.

  27. Ok in the first moment i was wondering why there was no sun roof kind of deal. If you work with a system like this there is no need to have the containers all closed up.

  28. look I farm with fossil fuels and inside a building; I use fertilizers and pesticides but call it sustainable. Forget about using free sunlight or natural soil. Grow inside plastics and metals using chemicals; just as brilliant as his brother. Local food does not mean growing using unnatural and inefficient means. People don't understand food or farming and guys like this exploit this ignorance. Keep eating this stuff up sheeple; his productivity numbers are pure fantasy and garbage. No way you can out produce a 2 acre farm; you're just comparing to a one planting annual monoculture; its easy when you fudge your numbers. Pure garbage psuedofarming.

  29. "one guy has an idea" so you're giving credit to an already rich guy and not the vertical farmers who have been around for years? Way to keep it mainstream idiots

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