To provide the world with the technology and method to create a perpetual food abundance
...that everyone should have easy access to fresh and healthy food
...in the power of community
...in the power of educated choice
...that the predominant model of food production and distribution is wrought with problems
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foodclouds LLC develops & manufactures a hardware & software solutions for sustainable food security. Collectively, these solutions are known as “foodclouds”.
A foodcloud makes your garden smart. You’ll hardly have to worry about your garden ever again because it largely takes care of itself and it will tell you if it needs anything. Plants are grown faster and more reliably thanks to a multitude of sensors monitoring the grow environment, and attached components optimizing conditions. Using foodclouds ensures the absolute highest quality produce with maximum convenience. It’s like having a master gardener babysit your plants 24/7.
foodclouds turn every thumb into a green thumb!
foodclouds is a movement, an organization, and a product. It is a global network of scalable automated (or remotely-controlled) agriculture systems that enable absolutely anyone to grow a perpetual supply of fresh & healthy food at a much lower cost than going to the grocery store. Our organization provides innovative products and services to enable the populace to become self-sufficient, healthy, and to lower their environmental impact.
The existing model of food production is dependent on large scale transportation and distribution, and has a massive carbon footprint. Because of the prevalence of various pesticides and other harmful chemicals in commercial farming, not to mention the risks of genetic engineering, you really don't even know what you're ingesting! foodclouds enables an alternative, distributed food production model based on cooperative/collaborative gardening in neighborhoods to create local abundance.
foodclouds is also a social, cultural, and educational movement concerned with re-localizing food production, reducing use of harmful chemicals (not just our dependence on hydrocarbons), and delivering pertinent, quality, experiential education.
Through use of a foodcloud, the layman (particularly people too busy to garden, or those with a “black thumb”) can keep a productive garden going all the time, and in more places than ever before, because it can now tend itself!
With minimal setup and virtually no maintenance required during each growth cycle, your foodcloud has the potential to adjust a wide variety of conditions to keep your garden growing and your homestead secure. Certified foodcloud technicians (to be deployed in your area) can facilitate installation and maintenance.
Be it indoor, outdoor, soil or hydroponics, a foodcloud ensures that your garden will flourish thanks to automatic... well, nearly everything working harmoniously together for the first time in a single & truly affordable system! Existing products provide only partial solutions for either indoor OR outdoor gardens and cost thousands of dollars! The new technologies we are currently developing will allow us to produce foodclouds at a much lower cost than any existing automated system, at the same time adding infinitely more effectiveness and practicality; this renders any question of affordability moot. How can you afford not to grow with us?
Utilizing new generations of environmental sensors, the latest in web-connected computer hardware, and a patent-pending sensor device for monitoring (and optionally, controlling) soil & water chemistry, foodclouds are going to revolutionize the relationship we have with nature and the food we eat!!
foodclouds also guarantee a bountiful harvest. Through new technologies it actively nurtures your plants (removing human error from the process) ultimately producing the best crops at the highest yields possible. Crops can be rotated faster and more reliably because of [nearly-completely] optimized growth. Your foodcloud will physically feed & water your garden to levels optimized for your soil/media and the type of plants being grown. If it rains on your outdoor garden, the foodcloud will delay irrigation until the soil has dried enough. If you have a complex fertilizer schedule, your foodcloud can dose the garden however you like. Webcams can easily connect to a foodcloud and will allow you to visually monitor your grow(s), and/or home, from anywhere with an internet connection.
Through its internal WiFi module, your foodcloud will upload, archive, analyze, and report back sensor data integrated with automated measurements of growth in order to track progress and collectively develop a massive database of ideal conditions by running large-scale multivariate experiments to determine precisely how to optimally grow any and every plant species!
An indoor foodcloud can automate lighting, heating/cooling/aeration, regulate supplemental CO2, refill water reservoirs AND add just the right amount of nutrients calculated for your crops in their current stage of growth; it can even keep an eye on your compost pile, not to mention your facility’s doors and windows when you’re not around! If you have poor germination rates, depleted soil, or pesky rodent/insect pests, we have some solutions in development for those problems too!
Gone are the days of clunky & manual laboratory-spec soil & water quality meters - we invented our own! For the first time ever, an automated system can monitor and regulate individual macronutrients, pH, and dissolved oxygen (especially important in the burgeoning aquaponics industry) automatically to species-optimized levels, or you can program in your own regime, both of which can adapt fluidly as plants mature and their needs change.
The foodclouds website and app provide a dashboard for viewing current sensor readings and control status, browseable charts for analyzing trends, and highly-configurable control settings. Create an inventory of your plants and their containers: A customizable virtual model of your growing space(s) visually connects your sensors and controls to your garden. All of this data, combined with an inventory of your plants allows our planning services algorithm to automatically recommend the best growing strategies to provide you with as much regular fresh produce as possible.
Any number of sensor thresholds can trigger custom actions, though some are built in. If a power outage is detected, we’ll make sure HID bulbs stay off until they cool down enough (significantly saving bulb life). With fire or flood sensors connected, growers will finally have true peace of mind because their system will send notifications via SMS, phone, or email if problems arise. Reminders to refill fertilizer tanks work in a similar fashion. Worried about your tomatoes while you’re off on vacation? You won’t be anymore - your neighbors can be notified to help harvest when things turn ripe, and you can remote-unlock the gate to let them inside (while you leisurely monitor the camera feed).
We are also beginning development of local produce & seedling-exchange markets (like mini social networks) so neighbors can specialize their gardens for specific crops and still get everything they want, while simultaneously establishing “community currencies”.
After some fundraising and development for manufacture, we will be interested in partnering with hydroponics equipment manufacturers to bundle our collective products into an all-inclusive, modular, easy-to-assemble “greenhouse in a box” -series of products; you could grow all the food you need on less land than you think, in practically any locale! The future also holds nearly-endless possibilities for extensive low-cost facility automation, monitoring, and security solutions.
The foodclouds Hub is a low-power device which does the heavy lifting. Through frequent polling of the sensors, the Hub decides how to best regulate your garden even if it is not connected to the Internet. An attached webcam records timelapses of your plants growing, which you can later view from the foodclouds web interface (in addition to the live video feed).
foodclouds Sensors and Action Modules are what quantify and regulate the growing environment. These modules are designed to be deployed together for better coverage and redundancy; the exact configuration depends on the scale and types of things being monitored and controlled.
Things that can be monitored and controlled with modules in development:
Main Unit - a low-power gateway to relay sensor data to the server and commands from the server over WiFi. Internal feedback routines can monitor and regulate your garden even if/when not connected to the Internet. Sensors connect to the main unit via regular 4-conductor telephone cables
Root Zone sensor module - all the tools needed to anticipate irrigation needs and help to maintain a healthy root system. Soil and hydroponic media-specific probes will be made available
Canopy Zone sensor module - for calculating transpiration rates and maximizing growth potential
Water Tank Level sensor modules - for monitoring and/or automatically filling most sizes of reservoirs
Self-Power module - a solar panel and battery pack to power the main unit and sensors from the light your plants are already receiving!
2-, 4-, 8-Outlet Power-Switch modules - for control of individual lights, pumps, fans, vents, etc. Over 1000W of power handling per outlet
Power Monitoring module - adds power-consumption monitoring capabilities to four separate appliances
Low-Power Valve module - for irrigation and refilling of tanks; paired with water flow sensor to ensure proper operation
Solenoid Valve module - for automatic refilling of hydroponic reservoirs when using AC power for the main unit; paired with water flow sensor to ensure proper operation
Water Flow sensor module - to ensure proper operation of pumps & valves
Water Quality sensor module - on-the-fly measurements of dissolved solids and water temperature
Advanced Analyzer module - reports all the information you need about your water (or soil) chemistry via detailed measurements of macronutrients (and gases)
Fertilizer Dosing module - maintains ideal pH and N/P/K as levels are determined by the Advanced Analyzer
Fish Tank Tender module (for aquaponics) - monitor water temperature, ensure conditions don’t favor algal growth while giving fish an automatic feeder AND an LED light to assist with feeding while reducing stress levels
Camera module - observe your garden from anywhere; easily/automatically create time-lapse animations so you can watch your garden grow!
Supplemental CO2 module - measures CO2 levels and controls dosing from your gas cylinder as well as coordinating other components to optimize the effect (e.g. closing exhaust vents)
Security sensor module - triggers alerts in the event of unauthorized entry (motion, door/window opening)
Smoke Detector module - triggers fire alerts when smoke & heat are detected
Flood Detector module - triggers flood alerts when liquid is detected
Please see About page for more info
~$100 for the main unit, $25-$80(?) for individual combined sensors (all sensors are bundled in practical form-factors) A fully functioning basic system can be had for ~$200
Please see the Products page
Individual components are functional & stable and the concept has been validated through field testing! Current development is focused on:
Automatic pest control, auto-sow & transplanting & harvesting robots, automated PV tilting assembly, automated/optimized evaporative distillation farms, algae(biofuel) harvesting systems, remote floating gardens, robotic terraforming... The future of sustainability in conjunction with the Internet of Things is quite bright!
Don't have much free time? Haven't started a garden yet? Help out any way you can!
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