The biggest problem we have in food production is efficiency. Traditional farming still requires significant inputs from water, to chemicals, to labor and much of the efforts of equipment and chemical companies have produced merely an incremental improvement in yields. In order to create a sustainable food system and meet demand, we need to increase food production by as much as 70% while minimizing the impact agriculture has on the environment.
Our autonomous crop production system, Mars, can grow any crop without the use of fertilizers or pesticides and requires over 90% less water than traditional farming. It grows crops using aquaponics, a method that combines the cultivation of aquatic animals and hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. It eliminates the need for fertilizers through a process called nitrification and, because it operates in a controlled environment, doesn’t need any other chemicals to prevent things like pests or weeds. Aquaponics is also capable of producing significantly greater yields and, in a controlled environment, far more scalable than traditional field farming.
Farming this way is not without its challenges. Currently, 71% of commercial aquaponics farmers build their own systems from scratch. This requires significant upfront time and financial cost in addition to the learning curve needed to launch a successful business. Existing solutions are also poorly integrated and not scalable. Mars solves these problems with a unique incubator design and fully integrated automation and control systems. This enables our system to be easily scalable and flattens the learning curve needed by a commercial farmer. Ultimately, Mars enables a commercial aquaponic farmer to get up and running quickly and grow their business.