Imagine a do-it-yourself, neighborhood farm that provides sustainably grown food using renewable resources and recycled production equipment. Such a farm actually exists. First Fruits Farms located in Germantown, Maryland, is a prototype farm developing a robotic farming system that it hopes to be able to replicate to grow healthy food in neighborhoods across the nation.
First Fruit Farms is featured on Kickstarter, where it is trying to harvest $25,000 in funding by Feb. 24 to help complete its initial pilot project. The farm recycles motors, engines and other materials to develop a series of greenhouse robots that “anyone can replicate with simple tools and access to their local dump.” The farm says that if enough funding is raised, it can built a greens transplanter, greens harvester and greens autoseeder.
But it’s not just greens the farm hopes to grow. The group has plans to use their robot gardening techniques to grow an assortment of vegetables and on the horizon maybe even robot-managed fish tanks, creating “an eco-friendly, closed loop system.” Using geothermal cooling and evaporation systems, the farm plans to develop machine-controlled tomato and vine crops. Rain catchment cisterns are planned for the farm along with storm-water injectors for excess runoff.