Texas Monthly: This Lockhart Greenhouse Wants to Grow Your Salad Using Robots
The 535,000-square-foot greenhouse is a venture-capitalist vision of the future of Texas agriculture. Built by Iron Ox, a Silicon Valley start-up, the facility resembles the offspring of a farmer’s vegetable patch and an Amazon fulfillment center. Robots glide across the poured-cement floors, moving plants in hydroponic tubs. The plants are digitally photographed and flooded with nutrient-rich water. The photos generate a data trail that is analyzed by both farmers and data scientists to create fresh produce that is available year-round and grown in a sustainable manner, with less water and fewer greenhouse gases.
The company opened its first full-scale automated greenhouse in Gilroy, California, in 2020 as a trial run. Lockhart’s facility, when completed in early 2022, will be fifty times larger. Not long after receiving $53 million in venture capital, Iron Ox announced plans for a second Lockhart facility, telling the Lockhart City Council this one would be nearly twice as large as the one under construction.”
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