Many questions related to CFS are covered in the CFS Business Plan, which is openly available on the Investor Page. The following FAQ’s represent some finer details, and over time this list may grow:
What is the main goal of CFS?
Our main goal is to provide a sustainable, long term agricultural solution that is more in tune with our 21st Century capabilities. CFS is mainly focused on humanitarian relief, providing impoverished regions of the world with local production and local distribution so that starvation is a thing of the past. However we are not limited to that, and CFS facilities can also be placed in neighborhoods, apartment complexes, used by restaurants to locally grow their own produce and more.
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines conventional aquaculture, (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are broken down by nitrogen fixing bacteria, then filtered out by the plants as nutrients, after which the cleaned water is recirculated back to the animals.
As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques form the basis for all aquaponics systems, the size, complexity, and types of foods grown in an aquaponics system can vary as much as any system found in either distinct farming discipline.
So What can Aquaponics grow? Aquaponics can grow a lot. Here's a short list: Amaranth (vegetable type); Arugula;
Bayam; Beans: Lima, bush, pole, shell, fava, green; Broccoli; Broccoli Raab; Brussels
Sprouts; Cabbage and Chinese cabbage; Cauliflower; Chard, all types; Chicory; Collards;
Cucumbers; Cress; Dandelion, Italian; Eggplant, European and Asian; Endive; Escarole;
Garbanzo beans; Gourds, edible and ornamental; Kale; Kinh gioi; Kohlrabi; Komatsuna;
Leeks; Lettuce, all types; Mesclun Varieties; Melons, all types; Misome; Mizuna;
Mustard Greens; Ngo Gai; Okra; Pak Choy; Perilla; Peas, all types; Peppers, all
types; Radicchio; Sorrel; Spinach; Squash, all types; Strawberries; Tomatoes,
all types. And this isn't covering things like herbs, spices, chocolate, coffee and more.
So What can Aquaponics grow?
Aquaponics can grow a lot. Here's a short list:
Amaranth (vegetable type); Arugula; Bayam; Beans: Lima, bush, pole, shell, fava, green; Broccoli; Broccoli Raab; Brussels Sprouts; Cabbage and Chinese cabbage; Cauliflower; Chard, all types; Chicory; Collards; Cucumbers; Cress; Dandelion, Italian; Eggplant, European and Asian; Endive; Escarole; Garbanzo beans; Gourds, edible and ornamental; Kale; Kinh gioi; Kohlrabi; Komatsuna; Leeks; Lettuce, all types; Mesclun Varieties; Melons, all types; Misome; Mizuna; Mustard Greens; Ngo Gai; Okra; Pak Choy; Perilla; Peas, all types; Peppers, all types; Radicchio; Sorrel; Spinach; Squash, all types; Strawberries; Tomatoes, all types.
And this isn't covering things like herbs, spices, chocolate, coffee and more.
In arid countries, where does the water supply for the tanks come from, as often famine goes hand in hand with drought? Does it need to be replaced often?
A CFS facility will have the main tank (where the fish are), a reserve tank and an overflow tank. Basically three levels of water storage and collection built into the system. Initially water will be provided. A CFS facility will then go about collecting water through various means, such as rain collection, ambient moisture extraction from the air (all air has humidity, even in the desert) and condensation collection from the HVAC systems. Also, aquaponics uses 1% of the water that traditional farming uses, plus it's constantly recycled through the system. Part of the prototype development phase is to figure out the precise volume of water loss of the system during full operations so that reserve tanks and collections systems balance the system.
What might be the yield potential for a CFS facility, understanding that the Prototype Development Phase will help define your numbers more specifically?
An acre is 43,560 square feet, or
6,272,640 square inches. The population of spinach per acre can be calculated
by taking the number of square inches in an acre and dividing by the number of
inches between the rows (36), then dividing again by the number of inches
within the row (9): 6,272,640 ÷ 36 =
174,240 and 174,240 ÷ 9 = 19,360 plants per acre.
Spinach takes an average of 40 days to grow, and assuming this one acre is constantly reseeded and harvested throughout the year (9 times) with no weather or other interruptions, you'd get 174,240 plants out of this acre of land. The SG40 is 35'x60' (2100 sq ft.). It can produce 200 plants a day, or 73,000 plants a year. However, a CFS facility is about 20 times smaller than an acre: 43,560 sq ft (acre) / 2100 sq ft (SG40) = 20.7.
Therefore 20 SG40 buildings would
be nearly equal to one acre of land, and would produce 1,460,000 plants in a
year. Therefore, with respect to spinach
only, one acre of SG40's is just over 8 times more productive than an acre of
land. In terms of weight, given that the
average plant is about 0.1 lb:
Annual Production (acre of land) = 17,424 lb
Annual Production (acre of SG40’s)
= 146,000 lb
This analysis does not account for the SUS+ characteristics of our design. The SG40 will also produce an average of 250lb of fish a week, provide surplus clean energy, clean polluted water bodies if connected, etc. This analysis also gives the best case scenario for an acre of land, with no crop loss due to bad weather, pests, or off-season concerns. The SG40 is an enclosed, climate controlled environment. It does not require the use of chemicals to protect against nature (pesticides), and we can grow year round regardless of external weather conditions.
By automating the process, does this mean that in areas where arable farming is the main source of income for people, that it could make their economic situation worse?
CFS is dedicated to providing food for people who are in desperate need and for groups and entities that wish to increase their food abundance characteristics. Sadly, when it comes to the developing world, it's obvious that whatever is going on now isn't working or the problem would not be there.
When it comes to the issue of farming jobs, it's important to note that aquaponics can't grow everything, so it's not as though CFS systems would completely replace all farming. With that said, mankind is always progressing to new things, such as when we moved from horse and buggy to automobile. No one gives a passing thought to those who lost their jobs making wagon wheels, and with the aid of solid educational foundations, it is not beyond our capabilities to help people gain relevant 21st century educations to advance themselves in different ways.
What kind of insurance would be in place to protect purchasers from instances of theft and war with respect to CFS facilities?
It is not CFS's responsibility to be the security force for its product. It's up to the buyer to make sure their purchase is protected. An analogy to this is that Ford isn’t responsible to protect your car, nor is a home builder responsible to protect your home. The governments, NGO’s, etc. that buy CFS facilities assume the responsibility to ensure they are protected adequately. CFS’s job is to ensure the facilities operate to peak performance and adequately provide for the people they serve.
What is the carbon footprint of producing the farms? How does it compare with other types of alternative agriculture, for example:
Every one of those farming options requires constant resetting year after year, a decent swath of land for high productivity, or some modicum of infrastructure to operate. To add up the carbon footprint associated with every line item down the chain (from energy requirements to water piping to land use to shipping) is a large undertaking that we've never seen anyone do before, not even Universities or Think Tanks. And we’ve looked for such robust data.
But if articles like this are any indication...
...something needs to be done.
Working with the operational characteristic of 30 years, the intended minimum lifespan of a CFS facility, one can consider the following comparisons:
a. Tractors and equipment necessary to manage all of those farming options, most of which burn fuel to run. CFS has none of that. In fact, all of the operations of a CFS facility are run by clean energy sources.
b. Soil depletion over time, especially on larger scale farming, requiring soil replenishment that goes beyond just composting. Aquaponics does not use soil.
c. Intensive water requirements. Aquaponics uses a single digit fraction in comparison, and applies constant recycling and reuse.
d. Bad weather or pests destroying crops. When it comes to weather and pests, that is a non issue in a climate controlled building that can operate no matter what's going on outside (save for severe weather of course). When considering carbon footprints, also consider crop loss year after year where nothing was gained at the end. Under nominal conditions, CFS systems will never have a zero harvest regardless of what the weather is like outside (Sahara Desert or Scandinavian Winter).
e. Local production, local distribution. This means you don't have to drive to stores to get your produce if it's available in a CFS building just down the street within walking distance. This also means you're not shipping such foods all over the planet to satisfy the need. Growing in one country and shipping halfway around the world via truck, plane or boat to another country is a major contributor to pollution.
f. Interesting article just for comparison sake:
CFS systems don't do or use half of what's described on the list in that article.
Then there's this report to ponder (the Food part at the beginning):
Can these farms be built on different scales?
CFS serves a particular niche, the larger scale of need. Therefore CFS facilities have a lower limit when it comes to scaling. There are many home scale DIY aquaponic and hydroponic systems out there for people to use, and for those who have the time and interest to directly manage and operate them, it's a viable option. CFS is designed to help entire neighborhoods, villages and communities on a larger, more automated scale, helping remove the human labor need so that those being served can pursue other things of interest. Not everyone wants to be a farmer, nor should they have to be, so CFS offers an option within a reasonable scale.
CFS also has an upper limit with respect to building size. The bigger the building, the more volume you have to climate control, which increases your energy need to power the HVAC systems. That’s no small issue, so in an effort to make sure that CFS facilities stay grid independent, a 5,000 square foot building is about as big as we want to get. In time, as technology improves, we may scale up, but for now we’re focused on easy to erect, simple structures that are not too big to manage.
How does it taste?
Aquaponic food tastes great. What do we have to support that? Well, Disney World has an aquaponics system at Epcot (there's even a boat ride you can take to tour it) and they use the food produced there in two of their restaurants. If it didn't taste good, do you think a company like Disney would do it, and have a theme ride revolving around it?
"You can even taste the fruits of this labor for yourself by dining at Sunshine Seasons or the Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land Pavilion, both of which serve produce and seafood fresh from the farm."