Arizona company using new technology to help solve water crisis and address world hunger

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Sam and John Bertram want to change the world and they’re off to a good start.

His technology company OnePointOne seeks to revolutionize global food production by creating a new way to grow fruits and vegetables. “I want to channel all the power I have to improve humanity,” said Sam Bertram. “The best way to do that is to identify the number one problem on planet earth, and the number one problem is poor nutrition. Our goal is to develop a system that produces the highest quality plants in the world and sell these systems worldwide for any crop, any market, any geography.”

The Arizona family was invited to their Avondale store to see what they do. The warehouse includes an elaborate plant production system that uses vertical farming and automation to grow high-quality plants without sun, soil, or pesticides, and uses a minimal amount of water. At a time when Arizona and other parts of the world are facing severe drought, the system allows food to grow using 99% less water than a traditional farm.

“We don’t waste the water that we water the plants with,” said Sam Bertram. “Outside, when you water the plants, all the water goes up into the atmosphere, goes down to a water table or runs off into rivers. For us, all the water not absorbed by the roots is recirculated over and over and over again. We just don’t lose that water.”

Some of the other advantages include the following:

  • Plants grow twice as fast as those on a farm.
  • The average shelf life of food is 3 times longer.
  • The plants can be grown anywhere in the world throughout the year.
  • The company can grow 250 times more plants per acre in the warehouse than in a field.
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Right now the company only grows leafy greens, herbs and microgreens, but plans are underway to start growing strawberries. According to Bertram, each crop they grow takes a long time to develop. The Bertrams believe that what they do is similar to the electric car industry, an industry that everyone knows is more efficient and better for the environment, but which takes years to expand, grow and become economically viable.

The idea of ​​putting vertical farm warehouses in countries around the world is what keeps the Bertrams going. “Whether it takes me, us, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years to affect the lives of a billion people, that’s the goal,” said Sam Bertram.

OnePointOne offers its vegetables for sale to the public through its other company, Willo.

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