Spring Born, Colorado’s largest hydroponic organic farm, makes farming more sustainable by blending new technology with proven, sustainable growing methods.
The Silt-area company grows four types of greens, including arugula and red lettuce, in a pesticide-free 2.5-acre greenhouse using a temperature-controlled, hands-free method.
Spring Born’s process uses 90 percent less land, 95 percent less water, and 100 percent recyclable packaging than a traditional farm. This results in a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Offering same-day delivery, the company can provide more than 10,000 packs of greens to retailers across the Front Range every day.
Spring Born’s USDA organic-certified growing process is an excellent example of a new tech farm that allows far more produce to grow per acre than traditional farming. The idea came from company President Charles Barr, who was inspired to create a farm that blended the latest robotic technology with traditional farming methods. The produce is not touched by human hands until the consumer opens it, meaning far fewer chemicals are needed. The result is a farm that can supply organic produce locally, with far fewer emissions and much longer shelf life – up to 23 days.
Barr tapped into his background in wireless technology to develop a robotic system where the lettuces are watered directly at the root in specialized irrigated gutters. The indoor greenhouse environment temperature and humidity can be controlled, preventing excess evaporation and yields far more lettuce per square mile than on outdoor farms.
“Most of the lettuce in the United States comes from two areas, California and Arizona,” Barr explained. “We wanted to move our operations away from those highly industrial areas closer to people who are actually eating [the produce].”
All of the plantings, trimming, and harvesting is done by robotics.
Spring Born has 13 employees but can pay them much higher wages (starting at $25 an hour) than the rest of the farming industry.
The company is building a second greenhouse and an outdoor orchard with hopes of doubling production. Spring Born hopes to supply as many grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels in the region.
Now just three years old, Spring Born is at the forefront of tech-focused, sustainable farming that will take a bite out of carbon emissions worldwide. By controlling water, temperature, and light, the company can grow locally, supply locally, and cut waste and emissions while providing cleaner, long-lasting produce for consumers and more high-paying jobs for the surrounding community.“Spring Born combines innovative technologies and hardworking individuals that, when put together, provide fresh, healthy, quality greens better than anyone on the market,” Barr added. “We care about the state of our environment and building sustainable practices that leave a lasting impact on our local community. Our company looks forward to supporting the community with nourishment, but also economically with jobs and added business.”