Farming is a profession that has historically been labor intensive and unpredictable. Here at Freight Farms we pride ourselves in making it more accessible to people of all ages and lifestyles. To do that we've relied on technology, design and automation to cut down the amount of time needed to run a farm. We’ve created a system that requires only the core essentials: seeding, transplanting and harvesting. What some might consider a part-time job, 15-20 labor hours a week, is now the amount of time it takes to run a revenue generating farm.
The labor required to operate a Leafy Green Machine breaks down into four simple steps:
1. Plant seeds
2. Transplant seedlings
3. Harvest the crop
Of course there is general maintenance to keep all the parts running smoothly but the bulk of your time will be spent handling the plants.
At full capacity our farmers are filling 6 trays with seeds each week. This step involves preparing the tray with grow plugs, placing seeds in each one, soaking the tray in water and setting it on the germination shelf with a humidity dome covering. By yourself, this should take no longer than 2 hours.
Transplant day is an on-your- feet, get to work kind of day. Retrieve a tower, remove the grow medium, insert the seedlings and slide the grow medium back in place. You’ll repeat this process until all the desired seedlings have been transplanted into the towers. At full capacity, this can add up to 1,200 seedling and 64 towers. With a fluid work rhythm, this should take about 6-8 hours.
Harvesting will undoubtedly vary among farms, depending on the variety of crops. The process either requires trimming of a plant that will continue to grow in the towers or removing the entire crop. You will likely harvest the produce into a bulk container first and then pack into its final packaging second. Again, because of variance among packaging styles, some harvest methods will take longer than others. In general, harvesting should not take more than 6-8 hours per week.
Along the way, you’ll want to keep up with some general maintenance. This includes:
- Refilling nutrient and pH balancing solutions
- Refilling water tanks
- Calibrating sensors
- Cleaning towers, air conditioner, seedling station, floors, tanks, etc.
Weekly maintenance should average out to 2 hours/week.
That’s it folks. In total, operating a freight farm should not exceed 15-20 hours per week. Still plenty of time to run the other parts of your business.