For Docky #5, we were joined by Louis Ferro, founder of Empire State Greenhouses (ESG).

ESG are pioneering the future of sustainable farming, and are geared up to build a 385,000 square-foot carbon negative crop factory. The grow facility will meet 100% of its power needs through renewable sources produced on site.

Louis joined BuxtonThreeTwo and Proudly Norfolk Food & Drink to discuss why a circular model is the future of farming, and how the farming community can work together to build a more sustainable and profitable future.

Louis discussed the differences between farms operating as carbon neutral, versus carbon negative. Louis emphasised that carbon neutral is not going to be enough if we want to make meaningful changes that benefit the environment, adding that “a carbon negative circular economy is the future of agriculture. It has to be.”. Louis then went on to explain how a circular model will operate as the farming industry progresses.

“Covid-19 has exposed critical weaknesses in our food distribution system. Grocery stores were empty, millions of pieces of food were rotting in fields, and there was a huge delay in distribution.” Louis explained that while these problems have always existed in the agricultural industry, the past 18 months have brought them centre stage - and establishing agricultural facilities that operate as circular models is the key to solving these issues. Louis believes that creating businesses that are synergistic and feed off one another will “increase profitability” in agriculture.

Furthermore, we heard that “on the East Coast [in the US], 90% of our fresh produce comes from two counties in California and Arizona, and the rest is imported from Mexico or elsewhere. That means our produce, on average, travels 3000 miles before it reaches our plate. That’s not efficient.”, further demonstrating how essential ESG-style crop factories are if we want to reduce our global carbon emissions and provide enough food for our growing population.

To improve the health of our planet, to provide food security for the earth’s population and to increase profitability within agriculture, the farming industry must adopt circular models.

To hear more from Louis on ESG’s plans, what your business can do to adopt a circular model and why it’s the key to the future of farming, you catch up on Docky #5 here.