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Demand for organic food continues its dramatic climb with double-digit growth in the organic food market over the past 10 years.  While growth explodes, the supply in the United States grows far slower than the demand.  This is causing an ever-widening “gap” between growing demand and languishing supply.

Since the 1990s, the growth of organic has been in double digits, with its greatest increase between 1997 at $3.6 billion to 2015 at $43.5 billion. A majority of this has been in fresh fruits and vegetables. These numbers are astronomical, and growth only continues to climb.

A large part of the increased consumption has to do with the growing number of Millennials. Many are now starting families and they’re concerned about the transparency of their food. They want to know where their food comes from and that it’s high in nutritional value. This is putting pressure on the industry to think differently. 45% of Americans actively seek organic food. According to Euromonitor International, it’s possible that global sales of organic, allergen-free, and high-nutrition foods could grow to $1 trillion in 2017. Only 1% of the 335 million acres of farmland in the United States, however, is certified organic, and as a result, 60% of the organic produce we enjoy is IMPORTED from abroad! There is clearly a gap in the industry that needs to be filled. The potential return on investment here is extreme.

So why aren’t more organic farms utilized in the U.S.? The answer is simple – time and costs. To be qualified for organic certification, a farm must go through a process that takes 3-5 years. During this time, they’re required to put their farms into “organic mode” and the transition is costly. Once qualified, there are increased labor costs and supply costs to maintain an organic farm. Farmers are paying more for smaller fields and less volume. It simply does not add up. Even though organic produce is valued 30% higher than regular produce, the expenses involved out way the return.

That’s why SuperGrow is such a viable and necessary solution. Our containers are not subject to the 3-5 year certification process, and qualify for organic certification immediately. We also do not require an increased labor force. One entry-level grow operator is all that’s needed to manage a container, and the average supply cost of our standard 40′ container is $7 per day. Take into consideration that we can grow more produce per square feet, and our grow rates surpass that of conventional farms. The return is immense.

According to Forbes, the challenge in the agriculture industry boils down to the fact, too, that we’re dealing with an archaic system. They claim that new ways need to be thought of on how to farm, transport, and distribute produce. Their solution is direct-to-farm systems that bypass warehouse storage and middle-men. Even this, however, is subject to transportation costs and limited produce. What better direct-to-farm solution than one in which the farm is in your back yard? Learn more at Supply Chain Redefined.

The industry has challenges. We have a solution.

Recent Organic News

In November of 2016, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met to discuss whether hydroponic produce should be considered organic. This is a heightened subject as hydroponic farmers clearly want the qualification. As mentioned earlier, they would receive a 30% increase in profit if they did. Their argument is that nutrients provided in their water is natural and organic, and so their produce should be considered organic as well. Conventional farmers strongly disagree, stating that organic is in the soil. We couldn’t agree more. Nature’s way is soil-based, and anything outside of that is not natural.

To date, the decision still remains unresolved. At the end of the discussion, it was decided that more exploration and understanding was needed before a proper choice could be made. In 2010, the NOSB recommended the following ruling:

“Growing media shall contain sufficient organic matter capable of supporting natural diverse soil ecology. For this reason, hydroponic and aeroponic systems are prohibited.”

In effect, because delegates could not come to an agreement, this statement still stands. In the event that the ruling is ever changed, we believe that proper labeling of produce, specifying actual grow methods used (soil or not soil), is imperative toward educating consumers on exactly what it is they’re buying.

Here are two press releases we submitted in accordance with the discussion on organic farming:

» Former Cisco Executive non Agri-Technologist Advocates to Keep the Soil in Organic Standard
» Organic versus Hydroponic: Who wins the non-decision by the National Organics Standards Board?

Environmental & Food Safety Issues

Organic aside, there are still challenges in the industry with regard to environment and food safety. In the United States, alone, volatile weather results in at least 5% crop loss, on a good year. Natural disasters cause extensive disruption to local food supplies, often for extended periods. Pesticide use is also increasing and taking its toll, sometimes implemented up to every 3 days, as is the case in Florida.

Food safety wise, we encounter deadly pathogens and contaminated foods on a repeated basis. E-coli and salmonella are common in headlines. Raids on storage and theft from trucks increase our produce’s exposure to harmful bacteria.

With a SuperGrow Container™ it’s a perfect day everyday, even in the greatest storm. When natural disasters hit, our supply is unaffected and the supply chain undisrupted. We don’t use pesticides of any kind, and your direct involvement with your container ensures protection from harmful elements.

Transportation & Spoilage Costs

The largest contributor to produce cost is transportation. Expenses associated with energy, labor, and fuel drive up the price we pay at the grocer. Packaging for these distances is also a factor. And spoilage. Did you know that 54% of produce spoils before it gets to market, and another 14% spoils before reaching shelves? Not to mention, to combat spoilage, farmers have to harvest produce early in advance. As a result, fruits and vegetables don’t have the proper time to mature and develop nutrients. Along with this, a significant amount of produce is tossed due to imperfection.

A SuperGrow Container™ cuts out the need for transportation, and with its controlled environment spoilage is a thing of the past. Produce is picked at its prime and brought farm-to-table immediately for maximum shelf life. Because ours is a covered and controlled environment, 98% of our produce receives a top perfection rating, resulting in predictable yields with every harvest. Learn more at Supply Chain Redefined.

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