Advanced Container Technologies Inc. has announced that GrowPods, transportable modular hydroponic farms, can help reduce the global lettuce shortage.
The crisis began back in 2020. According to Growing Produce, California lettuce growers faced hotter-than-average temperatures and crop diseases that led to a shortage of iceberg and romaine lettuce. These tight conditions bled into 2021. Mintec reported that lettuce increased in price 67 percent from the previous year due to low supplies of the crop.
And the lettuce problem is not limited to the U.S.
In Australia, floods and extreme weather conditions in large portions of the country decimated lettuce crops, according to The Herald. Prices for lettuce skyrocketed, with some stores now selling lettuce for as much as $12. Moreover, prices are not expected to come down anytime soon, ABC News reported.
However, AgTech Tomorrow says leafy greens including lettuce are some of the best plants to grow hydroponically in units like GrowPods.
“Almost all plants grow faster hydroponically than they do in soil-based farming methods,” the publication reported. “This is because the plant’s light, nutrition, and water are all under your complete control.” Butterhead and romaine lettuce can be harvested as quickly as three to four weeks, and iceberg in just six to eight weeks. “In general, most hydroponic leafy greens offer 11-13 harvests per year.”
In addition to rapid harvest, the University of Kentucky reports that hydroponically grown lettuce provides a longer post-harvest storage life (plants can stay fresh for two to four weeks under the proper storage conditions), and because there is no soil involved the plants are so clean, they do not require washing.
GrowPods can grow the equivalent of three acres of traditional farmland in a single unit. GrowPods allow local communities obtain fresh, healthy food with minimum labor and expense. Additionally, a GrowPod can be set up in a matter of days, so that food shortages can be reduced in just weeks.
Doug Heldoorn, CEO of Advanced Container Technologies, said GrowPods can be a part of the solution to the ongoing food crisis.
“GrowPods provide healthy food where it is needed,” Heldoorn said. “Plus, these advanced systems are better for the environment as they can cut freight emissions and shipping costs associated with transporting lettuce long distances. Growpods also reduce water consumption compared to traditional farming, and may even reduce the need for clear-cutting of forest lands for farmland.”
For more information, visit advancedcontainertechnologies.com.