The pilot program is expected to save up to 95% of water while yielding 50% more produce than traditional farming.
SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- What's the best way to get fresh produce to communities that are nowhere near a farm? One possible solution is aiming to do just that while helping fight climate change.
Farm-to-table, healthy food for all communities can now be found in a repurposed shipping container
"It's a practical and innovative solution that can address the global and local problem of food insecurity," said Maria Sison-Roces, manager of corporate sustainability at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
The San Fernando Valley now has Los Angeles' first-ever indoor pod farm. From the time you plant until the time you harvest, every day is the perfect microclimate. The pilot program is expected to save up to 95% of water while yielding 50% more produce than traditional farming.
Soilless growing techniques, energy-efficient LED lights and the lack of pesticides reduce costs while eventually providing any neighborhood with farm-fresh vegetables.
"It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. An average head of lettuce travels over 1,000 miles from farm to table, probably less than California, but this will make sure it's right in your own backyard," Sison-Roces said.
Kale will be grown in the first year of a two-year study because of its high nutrient value and short harvest cycle, and it will then be given directly to the community.
As one of 12 sites around the country participating, the hope is to better understand indoor food production.
Through automated monitoring, researchers will evaluate energy and water usage, which is of special interest in California, a drought-riddled state.
The idea that we can grow really fresh, valuable produce with a fraction of the water normally used is a benefit, said Mark Duvall with the Electric Power Research Institute.