20921203 per-ma-culture-greenhouse


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20921203 per-ma-culture-greenhouse

  1. 1. The Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System A Copious Approach to Conscious Sustainable LivingJust imagine . . . a highly energy-efficient and cost-effective year-round source ofthe finest quality, healthy, organic produce grown in an innovative manner that protects the environment and the wellbeing of consumers while fostering sustainability and community economic development.
  3. 3. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYChris Marron is the innovator behind the Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System. He has considerableconstruction expertise having worked in the industry for much of his life. That background gives wellgrounded credence to cost and time building estimates. He has 15 years experience growing a varietyof crops using many of the technologies and techniques this proposal is based upon. He also has fiveyears experience working at a community supported agriculture (CSA) organic farm. At one point hiswife asked him to build a greenhouse to grow food for their family. They lived at an elevation of6,000 feet in Oregon so that was a challenge. They worked together for seven years operating theirgreenhouse and living off of what it produced. Their success became the foundation for thespectacular potential outlined here. Chris has spent an additional 13 years refining this concept. Whatis needed now is to take it from theory to commercial viability by validating it with a workingprototype and then developing an optimized design for commercial sale based on the lessons learned.The uniqueness of the Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System (PHGS) lies in the integration of manyinnovative aspects of greenhouse design and operation. All the features in PHGS have been successfullyapplied separately in existing greenhouse systems. However, no single publicized greenhouse systemcurrently in operation combines the features employed in the Perpetual Harvest system. PHGS cansimulate seasons and operate economically year-round. It is more profitable than the standard three-season greenhouse. This is due primarily to the ability to operate efficiently even in unfavorable weatherthus raising high value produce which can be sold locally at substantial profit.To accomplish these goals PHGS creates 365 ideal growing days per year by optimizingtemperature, light, carbon dioxide enrichment, and soluble nutrient levels in conjunction withcontinuous planting and harvesting. It is a hybrid system using hydro-organics techniques to createthe most favorable growing conditions. Thus crops that would otherwise be shipped from temperateregions during harvest times can be grown profitably year-round near their intended market. Off-season production significantly increases return on investment in comparison to conventionalgreenhouse systems. This is feasible because heating and cooling costs are as much as 75% less thana standard three-season greenhouse operation. This energy efficiency allows a greenhouse operatorto create growing conditions unique to specific crops. Thus almost any greenhouse suited crop canbe harvested any time of year even in very unfavorable climates.PHGS accomplishes profitable year-round production by optimizing two primary features ofgreenhouse operation: Growing techniques and energy management. It achieves production levelsnot possible in an outdoor system or a three-season greenhouse. Biomass based energy production isused to increase the profitability of both food production and the associated energy productionsystems in comparison to either of these systems in a stand alone configuration. Integration ofPHGS with renewable energy production systems such as a bio-diesel plant, ethanol still, methanebio-digester connected to a co-generation unit, all combine to improve energy efficiency and furtherdrive down operating costs while producing marketable by-products.Four-season operation results in energy usage exceeding that of a three-season greenhouse. Iteliminates startup/shutdown time and costs. Food production increases, conservatively estimated atfive to eight times that of conventional indoor or outdoor approaches, further offset costs. Thatestimate is derived from Chris’s first hand experience. The high production number is achievedduring average conditions. That conservative estimate is given further credence by recently releasedfigures on hydroponics based lettuce production at Cornell University. When compared withCalifornia outdoor commercial growers their output was increased by “23 times while decreasingwater usage by well over 30 times”; www.verticalfarm.com/plans-2k6_eco.htm. PHGS is a similarsystem except it is organic based hence yielding a higher quality product. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 1
  4. 4. Year-round operation levels employment requirements and maximizes resource utilization. With thisapproach food production can be located close to demand thus eliminating both the current qualitycompromising practice of harvesting crops prior to maturation and the expense of long distanceshipping. PHGS dramatically raises produce quality while delivery costs plummet thus creating acompetitive sales price and substantial profit margins. As consumers the general public will beinterested in what PHGS has to offer. As producers the inexpensive generation of high quality foodyear-round will be of great interest to communities focused on sustainability. A resource that canannually yield a conservative estimate of 40 pounds per square foot of the highest quality produce willbe of great interest to the farming community as well.Our prisons, school systems, and Native American Reservations are other potential customers. Oneof the biggest industries in the United States today is the prison industry. Typically they deal withrestrictive budgets. Food is a major expense and its quality a source of dissent within the prisoncommunity. In a prison labor is not a problem. Cost effective greenhouse systems would reduce asignificant expense, raise inmate moral, and provide an excellent education program. Numerousstudies show that the best way to reduce the repeat offender population is education resulting in newemployment potential. Similar cost reductions and quality improvements would be feasible for oureducational institutions and on reservations. There would be commensurate gains in the quality ofthe education possible with students and Native Americans eating healthy food as well as a newindustry for economic gain.Cost information for building a PHGS prototype is based on an off-the-shelf greenhouse modified tomeet PHGS requirements. Even at prototype level it can be showcased as an educational vehicleillustrating efficient, sustainable food and energy production. A baseline Phase I effort is characterizedin the cost figures. It establishes the system’s financial viability while validating the foundationprinciples. Items beyond minimal scope have been noted for supplementary funding. They allowadditional growing technologies to be evaluated in order to achieve stellar results beyond those alreadyanticipated. Examples would be audible and electromagnetic based plant growth augmentation.A Phase II is included as a follow-on development. It incorporates the Phase I lessons in a custom madegreenhouse optimized to meet PHGS requirements. This showcase system will be marketable in allgeographic areas as it can adapt itself to climate extremes from deserts to the artic. It could potentially bebuilt totally underground. The Phase II PHGS is especially applicable to urban and suburban settingsthereby opening up a previously underutilized market collocated with product demand. Certainly morecost effective than the proposed $200 million 30 story Los Vegas greenhouse: www.verticalfarm.com.Midwest Permaculture is an educational enterprise founded by Bill and Rebecca Wilson, 28-year residentsof the sustainably-oriented community of Stelle, Illinois. They have placed an engineering analysis ofPHGS on their website: http://www.midwestpermaculture.com/GreenhouseOverview.php. In theiropinion this is the future direction for sustainable food production. The document was authored by MarkHoffman, a fellow Stelle resident. The content of that paper is included in this project proposal as it is anexcellent in-depth analysis of PHGS.A number of knowledgeable and well intentioned individuals have taken the time to documentPHGS in order to give it the exposure it needs to attract sufficient resources to complete this project.Their confidence in what Chris has pioneered is seen in the time they and others have investeddeveloping the information contained in this document. Mel Thomas has joined them as thearchitect of this collated material. The result builds on the efforts of those mentioned so far as wellas others whose contributions are embedded in this material and noted when appropriate.Mel Thomas (April-08) Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 2
  5. 5. Chris Marron’s…..Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse SystemEngineeering review by Mark Hoffman OVERVIEWPresented here, with Chris Marrons permission, is his Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System(PHGS); reviewed, generally researched, and edited by Mark Hoffman. Mark is a Stelle areaengineer and permaculturist who is the President of the Center for Sustainable Community in Stelle,Illinois, His conclusion is that this is a very plausible system for year-round food production.Offered to the PublicChris is allowing us to publish this body of information to insure public access to his work. Heprofesses that little of this design is his original work for all he has done is researched others workand as he says "put two & two together." But no one we know of has taken all the differentcomponents he has laid out in his system and put them together into one design. Chriss motivationin sharing all this is to do his part to support the emerging desire of people to find and live in trulymeaningful and sustainable communities.On The GroundThis is a recent body of work that Chris has put together and as of this time, neither he nor anyone elsewe know of has actually built and operated this greenhouse system or tested its production possibilities.The door is open for anyone to experiment with building a PHG System. Chris is interested andavailable to assist others who are serious about building and operating a Perpetual Harvest GreenhouseSystem. Chris can be reached by emailing mark@centerforsustainablecommunity.org..Financially ExcitingAlso included are some financial projections for an operating greenhouse under this design.Although they are just estimates, they are very encouraging numbers because they answer the needfor finding more sustainable ways of economically supporting our small scale farmers and growers.This system can also be used in suburban and city environments providing nutritious food, incomeand greater food security for local residents.Food SecurityAs this system is capable of producing year-round-healthy food, it brings the possibility of economicstability and true-food security to any region. The system is also sustainable in the long run since ituses only a fraction of the energy of conventional greenhouses. As fossil fuel prices continue to rise,traditional green housing operations will become unprofitable.Be a Part of Building This GreenhouseThe Center for Sustainable Community, Midwest Permaculture and Stellar Projects LLC are all100% behind seeing a test greenhouse built when the interested people and resources arrive. I wouldinvite all who read these words and feel the inner pull to see this greenhouse built to contact one ofthese agencies. That way the people, resources, locations and markets required will be networked toeach other in order to facilitate the building of a fully operational greenhouse. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 3
  6. 6. Chris and I also encourage other individuals and groups to pool their talent and resources andseriously consider building one of these fascinating greenhouses. Many different individuals andorganizations should be testing the Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System in an attempt to find theprocesses and methods that work best. In all likelihood, those of us who pursue this method of foodproduction will create something that will not only benefit ourselves, but will serve the greatercommunity and future generations as well.Chris Marron is available for consultation and even project support, as time and funds allow.Bill Wilson (May-07)To reach Center for Sustainable Community or Chris:csc@stelle.net(815) 256-2204cmarron14@yahoo.com(815) 383-1727 Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 4
  7. 7. DESCRIPTION OF THE PERPETUAL HARVEST GREENHOUSE SYSTEMDiagram courtesy of:Ross and Kat ElliottRR#1 MacDonalds CornersOntario Canada K0G 1M0The Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System provides an indoor ecosystem capable of growingequal yields of organic produce 52 weeks in a year. This system creates 365 ideal growing days peryear by optimizing light, carbon dioxide enrichment, and soluble nutrients in conjunction withcontinuous planting and harvesting. Because the hyrdo-organic based Perpetual Harvest system caneconomically simulate warm season growing conditions, crops that would otherwise be shippedfrom warmer climates can be grown profitably in colder climates during winter months.Such off-season production significantly increases return on investment of the Perpetual Harvestsystem in comparison to conventional greenhouse systems because heating and cooling costs couldbe up to 75% less than for the standard three-season greenhouse operation. This system also allows agreenhouse operator to create growing conditions unique to specific crops such that almost any cropcan be harvested at any time of year, even in colder climates.The Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System accomplishes profitable year-round production byoptimizing two primary features of greenhouse operation – Growing techniques and Energymanagement. This system integrates the latest innovations in greenhouse design and operation withemerging understanding of growing techniques to create production levels not possible in an outdoorsystem, or in a three-season greenhouse. Because this system can operate for four seasons, its yearlyenergy usage exceeds that of the three-season greenhouse, however its overall profitability is 6-10 Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 5
  8. 8. times that of the conventional three-season greenhouse or outdoor plantings because the system canprovide organic produce when other systems can not. The uniqueness of the Perpetual Harvestsystem lies not in any one feature, but instead in the integration of many innovative aspects ofgreenhouse design and operation. All the features utilized in the Perpetual Harvest system have beensuccessfully applied in existing growing systems; however, research indicates that no singlepublicized greenhouse system currently in operation utilizes the combination of features integratedinto the Perpetual Harvest system. Furthermore, the Perpetual Harvest system can be easilyintegrated with renewable energy systems such as a bio-diesel plant, ethanol still, methane bio-digester, and/or co-generation unit, thus improving energy efficiency, driving down operating costs,and producing marketable fuel by-products. Optimizing Growing ConditionsThe Perpetual Harvest system utilizes unique growing techniques to maximize plant growth.Enhanced growing techniques include: providing artificial light, carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment,and maximizing soluble nutrients absorbed through roots and leaves. The system enhances growthby proportionally increasing the five most important growing conditions at certain times of the day,thus producing a ‘supercharged’ growing environment causing plants to reach erectly for the lightwhile rapidly absorbing nutrients. The result is a significant and rapid growth surge. Plants canprocess approximately twice as many nutrients if light, CO2, and soluble nutrients are increased inbalance at the same time. Standard greenhouse growing temperature of diminishing returns is ~85°F,while experience indicates temperature can be successfully increased to 95°F with increased light,CO2, and soluble nutrient levels, along with additional water. Growing at increased temperature hasthe added advantage of allowing the greenhouse to remain sealed longer from the outdooratmosphere each day, leaving the higher CO2 concentration available for a longer period. Withnormal light, CO2, and soluble nutrient levels, plants become stressed at temperatures above 85°F -not so, with the Perpetual Harvest system. Operating at higher greenhouse temperatures effectivelyutilizes periods where it is difficult to maintain greenhouse temperatures less than 85°F.Light:In the Perpetual Harvest system, plants receive the same amount of light from the fall equinox untilspring equinox by adjusting day length with artificial sunlight. Experience indicates thatapproximately 11-12 hours is optimal daylight length for most common food plants in temperatezones. Additionally, applying supplemental light for three hours each morning, every day of theyear, at the same time that the CO2 concentration is enriched, has been seen to maximize plantgrowth. Increased light supports CO2 absorption by stimulating plants to open their stomata.Supplementing the red, blue, and green light frequencies during this enhanced growth periodoptimizes utilization of the added light. Red and blue frequencies enhance vegetative growth whilegreen frequencies are necessary for seed development.Carbon Dioxide Enrichment:Normal atmospheric CO2 concentration is approximately 370 ppm, however, experience indicatesthat some plants prefer up to 2000 ppm CO2 (approximately five times normal). In the PerpetualHarvest system this increased level is maintained for only 3 hours in the mid morning. During this 3hour period, the plants store CO2 that will be used to boost plant growth later in the day after CO2level has returned to about 1000 ppm. CO2 is primarily produced by a flame (propane or naturalgas) CO2 generator. The flame can serve as a ‘peaking CO2 generator’ and baseline CO2 levels couldbe provided by decomposing compost or other continuous natural low producing sources. A digital Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 6
  9. 9. CO2 monitor determines when CO2 generators will cycle, and also serves as an alarm for humans totake precaution when in the greenhouse during the high CO2 period.Soluble Nutrients:The Perpetual Harvest system utilizes the ebb and flow style of hydro-organics, passing organicnutrients through a soil-less growing medium placed in plastic lined beds. Perlite, pumice,vermiculite, and decomposing organic matter (potting soil) comprise the soil-less growing medium.Using a soil-less growing medium greatly reduces the likelihood of soil borne diseases and pests thatcan proliferate in the enclosed greenhouse space. Soluble nutrients are provided by addition oforganic compost tea created using the traditional Indore compost method developed by Sir AlbertHoward. This method, based on years of compost experimentation, produces compost fromdecomposing cellulose products such as peat moss, straw, and last season’s crop residue mixed withalready composted animal manure along with a small amount of real soil and recently finishedcompost as an inoculant.In the Perpetual Harvest system, Indore method compost is made using only organic ingredients mixedin a 25:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. Earthworms are added to the pile after the initial heating period(~8 days) to convert the existing nutrients into worm castings, a nutrient form more easily accessible toplants. After 14 days, compost is old enough to use as a nutrient base for making compost tea and/orgrowing medium. Foliar feeding of this compost tea, applied to the underside of leaves as a fine mist,is also performed in conjunction with the three-hour mid-morning light/CO2 enrichment period. Afterworm digestion, the compost can be mixed with last season’s used growing medium at a mixture ratedetermined by muscle testing. During this enhanced mode of operation, daily muscle testing(kinesiology) is utilized to provide the data needed to fine-tune light, nutrient, and temperature levels.Energy Management SystemEnergy costs are the most expensive aspect of greenhouse operation. The Perpetual Harvest systemcapitalizes on recent innovations in greenhouse design to significantly reduce energy inputs. Thisreduction is primarily achieved through two aspects – Insulation design and Energy storage andtransfer. Other aspects, such as greenhouse layout and temperature control also enhance efficiency,but to a lesser extent.Insulation Design:The south facing wall of the PerpetualHarvest Greenhouse is composed of doublelayers of polyethylene, between which areinjected biodegradable soap bubbles. Thesoap bubbles are fed into a distributionplenum at the top of the greenhouse wherethey emerge at intervals along the length ofthe greenhouse, and flow down to fill thespace between the polyethylene sheets.Recent developments in bubble makingequipment designed for commercial firesuppression systems have resulted inequipment that can fill the polyethylene gap within minutes. The Perpetual Harvest system employsa bubble indication system that senses bubble collapse and auto starts the bubble making machinewhen the bubble wall drops below a specified height.The soap bubbles resist convective heat transfer, and with an ‘R’ value of approximately R-1 per inch Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 7
  10. 10. of bubbles, significantly increases R-value over that of single sheet polyethylene walls, or even doublesheet polyethylene walls with an air gap in between. Soap bubbles also block infrared light but notvisible or ultraviolet light. This attribute creates an ideal greenhouse situation since the lightfrequencies required for photosynthesis (visible light) pass through the bubbles but the frequencies thatwould result in radiant heat loss (infrared) are moderated. This means that light needed for plantgrowth is available even though unwanted heat transfer is minimized. Bubbles can impede unwantedheat transfer in either direction using this system. For example, draining the bubbles during the day canincrease internal heat gain, while injecting bubbles during the day can reduce internal heat gain.Bubbles can be produced at night to prevent heat loss and maintain inside temperature. This processwas developed in the Stelle greenhouse nearly twenty years ago by residents who received theirfunding in 1989 through a State of Illinois grant, It has been successfully used in Canada. We haveused the Solaroof.com diagram depicted here because it illustrates how the insulation system works.The design pioneered in the Stelle greenhouse will be used when the prototype PHGS is built as itincorporates the same principle.Energy Storage and Transfer Systems:The Perpetual Harvest greenhouse design employs redundant energy storage and transfer systems.These systems listed by priority of use are: • Subterranean heating/cooling system (SHCS) • Hydronic radiant heat system with the following heat sources: o Solar/thermal heater o Co-gen unit waste heat o Babington burner • Natural gas/propane forced air heat as the final back-up heat sourceThe subterranean heating system is comprised of several hundred feet ofthin walled 4" perforated, polyethylene drainage tubing buried undergravel inside the greenhouse base. A fan connected to the tubing via acommon plenum provides forced flow of greenhouse air through thetubing. Because daytime greenhouse air is warm and humid and thegreenhouse base is cool, moisture will condense as the air passes throughthe buried drainage tubing, thus removing heat from the air. Uponreturning into the greenhouse air space, the air is cooler and less humid. Inthis condition, the returned air can absorb moisture, thus cooling the greenhouse air. The uniqueness of this cooling system lies in the phase change that has occurred in the buried tubing. Besides cooling the greenhouse air, this process also heats the greenhouse base. At night, the fan can be run to heat air as it again passes through the buried tubing, thus convectively transferring heat stored in the greenhouse base to the greenhouse atmosphere as the air reenters the greenhouse. In this manner, the subterranean heat storage system canprovide both heating and cooling. The SHCS is equipped with dual speed fans to allow for finertemperature control. Experience in Colorado indicates that this system can meet the greenhouseheating and cooling needs for all but approximately 50 days per year. Cogeneration-hybrid heatsystems economically cover what is left. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 8
  11. 11. The Perpetual Harvest heating and cooling system design integrates a multi-fuel fired hydronicradiant heating system with the SHCS (primarily for climates without the solar resources ofColorado). The hydronic radiant heating system consists of tubes placed beside the SHCS tubes.This system includes a large water storage tank and is needed only during colder months, storingheat during daytime that can be withdrawn at night or during cloudy days by airflow of the SHCSalong the tubes of the radiant heating system. To some extent, the radiant floor heating system alsotransfers heat into the greenhouse base/floor. Heat is desirable at floor level to keep the root zonewarm. As long as roots are warm, plants can withstand air temperatures up to 15°F less than the rootzone temperature.The hydronic radiant heating system is heated by three sources: a solar/thermal system, a co-generating unit, and a Babbington burner. The solar/thermal heating system is essentially a solarand/or wood boiler powered pool heater circulating hot water into the storage tank. The co-gen wasteheat systems and Babbington burner are also connected to the radiant heating system as backup heatsources. The Babbington burner burns oil (waste vegetable or motor oil) or biodiesel and can quicklyprovide a significant amount of heat (the U.S. military heats all the meals served in the field usingthis system). The co-gen unit provides both heat and electricity and can be powered from a varietyof renewable fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, or methane.Greenhouse Layout:The Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System can be retrofitted to just about any existing greenhousedesign. However, due to low angle of sun in northern winters the optimal PHGS would have a tallnorthern wall and the planting beds vertically stacked in terraces stepping upward toward thenorthern wall. Looking externally at the greenhouse from one end it would appear similar to an Aframe with the northern wall earth bermed. Ideally, the greenhouse would be built into a south facinghill and include a short southern wall at ground level. Besides terraced beds, it would be possible toapply the verti-grow method that utilizes pots stacked one above the other. It would also be possibleto build the terraces out of enclosed concrete fish tanks, thus allowing fish to be raised (aquaponics),providing another income stream.Temperature/Humidity Control:The Perpetual Harvest control systems are designed to regulate temperature using thermostats,timers, and/or programmable controllers, all with the option for manual override. The energymanagement systems are operated with the intent of maintaining the desired greenhouse temperatureand humidity with the minimum energy input. The greenhouse should be maintained below 60%humidity at all times, if possible.General temperature control in a northern climate is as follows. The SHCS (Subterranean Heatingand Cooling System) is operated at all times, unless its outlet air temperature drops below 55°F .Should the SHCS air outlet temperature drop below ~60°F, the radiant heating system automaticallyinitiates flow, thus transferring its heat to the air in the SHCS tubing, maintaining or increasing theSHCS outlet air temperature. During the mid-morning enhanced growth period of operation, heataddition from solar gain, the CO2 generators, and artificial lights could cause significant heatbuildup, especially on sunny days. If such heat buildup causes interior air temperature to reach 96°F,CO2 generation and artificial lighting are automatically terminated and the greenhouse atmosphere isexhausted to the outdoors. After the cool incoming outside air causes interior temperature to drop to75°F, exhaust fans are stopped and CO2 generation and artificial lighting are reinitiated, provided thethree hour enhanced growing period has not reached completion. Subterranean heating operates to Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 9
  12. 12. provide heat at night and in the morning until needed. Cooler temperatures may be needed toimprove fruit set and possibly enhance fruit sweetness. Most berries need cooler night timetemperatures to produce fruit, so the Perpetual Harvest system utilizes a solar air conditioningsystem to draw evening temps down to around 50°F for a short period during hot weather. A TYPICAL DAY IN THE GREENHOUSETemperature/humidity regulation and plant maintenance activities during a normal Spring or Fallday in a northern climate typically occur as follows:Sunrise - 7AM: Interior temperature - 60°F, Exterior temperature - 35°FRemove bubbles to allow solar heat gain and turn on fans to recharge SHCS (if not already running).Turn on all interior air circulating fans to promote plant strength .9AM: Interior temperature – 80°F, Exterior temperature - 50°FRefill bubble cavity to minimize heat inputWater plants with soluble nutrient solution9:30AM: no change in temperatureFoliar feed plants10AM: Interior temperature – 85°F, Exterior temperature – 60°F-80°FTurn on CO2 generator and gro-lightsLeave greenhouse for three hours to avoid high CO2 concentration11AM: Interior temperature – 95°FNo human activity in greenhouse12PM: no change in interior temperature1PM: Interior temperature - 95°FShut down CO2 generators and lightsGive greenhouse a long exhaust fan cycle to lower interior temperature to 85°F2PM: Interior temperature – 85°FRemove any dead foliagePrepare plants for taking cuttings3PM: Interior temperature maintained at 85°F4PM: Interior temperature maintained at 85°FBegin daily harvest, plants like lettuce should be harvested in early morning to avoid a bitter taste.Plant seedsIf afternoon is cool or cloudy, remove bubbles to allow for solar gain5PM: Interior temperature – 75°F Exterior temperature – 60°FTurn off half of interior fansStart gro-lights Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 10
  13. 13. 6PM: Interior temperature – 75°F Exterior temperature – 55°FRefill bubble cavity to hold in heatTransplant seedlings and cuttings6:30PM: no change in temperatureTurn off gro-lightsGive greenhouse a long exhaust cycle to remove humidity and lower temperature to below 60°Fto sweeten fruit8PM: Interior temperature - 60°FCooler night time temperatures may be needed for fruits and berries at certain times of their growingcycle to improve fruit set and possibly enhance fruit sweetness. Through use of the SHCS, thePerpetual Harvest system can produce these lower temperatures for a short period even during hotweather. Integration of Renewable Energy SystemsAlthough the Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System can operate profitably with the systems alreadydescribed, overall energy efficiency can be improved by addition of a variety of renewable energysystems. Higher energy efficiency can lead to more profitable long term operation despite the initialhigher capital expense of additional systems.Perhaps the most viable and efficient energy component to integrate into the Perpetual Harvestsystem is the co-generation unit. This is because the co-gen unit produces multiple useful outputs.The co-gen unit produces electricity, which is needed for lighting, fans, and electronics. Asdescribed earlier, it also produces heat which can be stored in the hydronic radiant heating system. Ifthe co-gen unit is powered by ethanol, methane, or bio-diesel it might even be possible to feed itsexhaust into the greenhouse as a CO2 source after filtering (depending on completeness ofcombustion) and/or heat source. Furthermore, the exhaust line and cooling system lines could beburied into the greenhouse base where their heat can be transferred into the greenhouse substructure,much like the heat in the radiant heating system.A system to produce the bio-fuel consumed by the co-gen unit could also be added. For example, ifthe co-gen unit is powered by a diesel engine, a bio-diesel plant could be built alongside to feed theengine. The same would be true for an ethanol still if the generator were powered by an enginedesigned to burn ethanol and/or gasoline. An ethanol plant has the added benefit of producing CO2as a distillation by-product. As described earlier, it is desirable to enhance CO2 enrichment in thegreenhouse, therefore CO2 produced by an ethanol still would displace the need for some of the CO2generated through igniting propane or natural gas torches during the mid-morning enhanced growthperiod and thus cut operating expenses. The still would also produce waste heat that, if it could becaptured, could heat water in the radiant heating system.Addition of a methane digester to the mix of energy systems could produce at least two usefulbyproducts. The first would be the methane gas itself, which could be used at least three ways: 1) topower a gas engine for the co-gen unit, 2) burned during the enhanced growing period as a CO2generator, 3) used to heat an ethanol still. A less obvious byproduct of a methane digester is thenutrient rich sludge left over from anaerobic digestion. The liquid from this sludge can function asan important nutrient source for the hydroponics solution being fed to the plants, and any Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 11
  14. 14. undigestible sludge can be applied as landscape or flower garden fertilizer or be sold therebycreating yet another income stream.Regardless of which renewable energy systems (if any) are integrated with the Perpetual Harvestsystem, a building separate from the greenhouse will be needed to ensure the mechanicalcomponents are isolated from the humid greenhouse environment. This building would likely alsohouse the composting, aquaponics, and vermiculture operations.Choice of renewable energy systems integrated into the Perpetual Harvest system will likely dependon availability of local biomass resources. It should be noted that for cases where a bio-fuel wasteproduct (for example, methane digester sludge) is to be used in growing greenhouse produce, thebiomass inputs may need to be of certified organic origin in order to retain the ability to certify thegreenhouse produce as organic. This could be problematic unless the operation has access to organicbiomass inputs. Competitive Features and Profit CentersThe Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System has numerous unique features that enhance itscompetitiveness in comparison to a standard three-season greenhouse. These features are: • Simple, yet highly efficient heating and cooling design • Continuous year-round growing and harvesting of organic fruits and vegetables, providing ‘just in time’ availability for buyers • Ability to grow ‘designer’ fruits and vegetables by artificially creating ‘seasons’, thus capitalizing on increased prices for out of season crops • Reduced need for pest control due to compost based nutrient application bringing balance to plants and keeping soil borne insects and diseases out of the greenhouse biome • Higher plant brix (sugar) levels, resulting in better taste and longer produce shelf life • Maximized sunlight harvesting through use of tiered beds • Integrating renewable energy systems to: o reduce energy costs, o provide several additional profit centers – such as sales of bio-fuels, o establish local energy self-sufficiency • Significantly reduce shipping costs by raising food crops locallyBesides the advantages just listed, it should be noted that the Perpetual Harvest food production systemcan become a uniquely closed resource loop if it is integrated with nearby restaurant(s). A resourcesharing relationship with a local restaurant would allow waste cooking oil to be utilized as a bio-dieselsource. It would also allow food scraps to be recycled, either directly into a bio-digester, or indirectlyvia feeding animals such as hogs and chickens. In turn, these animals could provide another incomestream in the form of meat, dairy and eggs. It can be seen that as the Perpetual Harvest systemintegrates greater numbers of resource utilizing components, additional income streams arise due to theefficient utilization of energy and biomass. Ultimately, reduced waste increases profit, while greatlyminimizing the challenge of waste elimination and removal (pollution) so prevalent in modern, largescale, industrial agriculture systems. See Perpetual Harvest Energy and Resource Flowpaths for adiagramatic representation of possible resource flows within the Perpetual Harvest system. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 12
  15. 15. SUMMARYThe Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System derives its effectiveness and economic competitivenessfrom the integration of its many innovative features. Those features include high R-value bubblewall insulation, integrated methods of heat storage and temperature management, and an enhancedmid-day growing period stimulated by increased carbon dioxide concentration, enhanced lighting,and increased soluble nutrient levels. Although the construction costs of the Perpetual Harvestsystem exceed that of the standard three season greenhouse, the extended harvest season andsignificantly reduced long term energy costs should result in a higher return on investment for thissystem than for other greenhouse systems currently in operation. (See the article titled, “Packinsnacks for trip to Mars ” to learn of a successful greenhouse in New Jersey that implements many,but not all of the features of the Perpetual Harvest system.) Inclusion of renewable energy systemsinto the overall design produces multiple income streams not typical of a greenhouse system. Ideally,the Perpetual Harvest system would be completely energy self sustaining – deriving all its energyneeds directly from the sun or from locally harvested sunlight via biomass. Some general benefits ofthis system are: • High quality, fresh-picked, organic produce with superior flavor. • Local Grown. Minimal trucking costs. • Can produce seasonal crops all year long if desired. • Holds potential to integrate agribusiness into metropolitan areas. • Diversifies income streams, providing a vehicle for reviving rural farm communities. • Sustainable, renewable, environmentally sound. • Profitable. Weekly crops/weekly income. Income can be steady instead of seasonal. • Promotes self-sufficiency and independence. • Could be used to reduce food and energy costs for prisons, schools, hospitals etc.Lastly, it deserves to be stated that not only does the Perpetual Harvest system provide localemployment and a possible means of regenerating local farm economies, it also can serve as thephysical life blood of a sustainable community or co-housing unit. Considering that human societiesare typically organized around and through sharing of both food and energy, the fully developedPerpetual Harvest system provides for these two most basic human needs.At this time, a prototype of this fully integrated energy/food system is needed so that performance ofthe Perpetual Harvest system may be optimized. Once proven effective and profitable, this systemcan serve as an example of how a community can function in a self sustaining manner by efficientlyusing the resources at its immediate disposal.Notes:Chris Marron, creator of the Perpetual Harvest system, has operated greenhouses for 15 years. Hisexperience with different lengths of light exposure, frequencies of exposure, and exposures atdifferent times during the day provide much of the basis for optimizing light to maximize plantgrowth. Chris built his own single family greenhouse that he used continuously for 7 years atelevation 6000 ft. in central Oregon near the city of Bend. Chris has experimented extensively withBio-dynamic and Perelandra (http://www.perelandra-ltd.com) principles in his growing systems. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 13
  16. 16. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and displaces oxygen at floor level. Furthermore, operation of theCO2 generators reduces oxygen concentration in the greenhouse atmosphere. The alarm functioncould also be provided by an oxygen monitor.For information on Sir Albert Howard and the Indore compost method, visit the Journey to Foreverwebsite (http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/howard.html).Muscle testing (aka: kinesiology) utilizes the inherent wisdom of the human body to determine truth.Muscle testing utilizes the predisposition of the body’s muscles to strengthen in the presence oftruth. This process allows answering ‘yes-no’ questions by observing strong muscle response to‘yes’ answers and weak muscle response to ‘no’ answers. This technique can be used to determineoptimal nutrient levels needed by plants. See ‘Power vs. Force’ by Dr. David R. Hawkins for a fulldescription of how truth can be determined via muscle testing.A plenum is a common area in a distribution system, from which a substance will flow throughopenings in many directions.The U.S. insulation value index. Most stick-framed houses have R-19 in walls and R-38 in the attic.Read about the LivelyUp Greenhouse that retains remarkably warm indoor temperatures in the coldCanadian winter using this system. See the description at:www.solaroof.org/wiki/SolaRoof/LivelyUpGreenhouse .Refer to the Sunny John website (http://www.sunnyjohn.com/indexpages/shcs.htm) for a completedescription of the subterranean cooling and heating system, as well as how this system relies onphase change of water for its effectiveness.The Babbington Burner is what the U.S. Military uses to heat meals in the field. It is a very simplesystem that quickly creates a substantial amount of heat by burning bio-diesel, vegetable oil, or evenwaste motor oil.A co-gen unit is an internal combustion motor attached to an electric generator/alternator thatcaptures waste engine and exhaust heat to create heating/cooling resources for living/growing space.A diesel generator that captures and uses waste heat, becomes more than twice as efficient as onethat only makes electricity.Verti-Grow is a growing method that stacks growing pots from floor to ceiling. When addingnutrients one simply fills the top pot and the rest are fed by gravity.For optimal vegetative growing conditions, it is desirable to keep greenhouse temperature at 55°F orhigher.Solar air conditioning uses solar thermal techniques to supply the energy needed to drive a coolingsystem. They typically utilize a phase change or other molecular process to move heat from a coollocation to a warmer location. Phase change systems of this sort often consist of a propanerefrigeration unit and have been in use for more than 150 years to create ice for icehouses. Thesesystems can also be as simple as passing air through piping buried at least 4 feet below ground wherethe soil temperature is maintained year-round at a temperature approximately equivalent to theaverage yearly air temperature for a location. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 14
  17. 17. Without airflow to move plants, plants will not develop the necessary structural strength and will beprone to falling over.See http://www.hydor.eng.br/Pag22-1.html for the uses of bio-digester sludge. This is a wonderfulteaching site created using Dr. Raul Martins’sustainable farm as a model. That farm was inoperation for more than 40 years.The ‘Packin’ Snacks for Trip to Mars’ article can be found athttp://www.pacpubserver.com/new/news/4-30-00/greenhouse.html .Postscript…At this time, I am satisfied with the completeness of this paper and that it can be sent out for review.Although many of the features and methods in this concept paper may sound untried, research Chrisand I have performed on the Internet indicated that nearly all the features described here have beentested and proven. However, no evidence can be found of anyone having applied all these conceptsinto one system - not that they couldnt. We both suspect that greenhouses in Holland operate similarto this system - Holland is a world leader in greenhouse operation and its greenhouses feed much ofEurope. Unfortunately, we cant find Internet information on Dutch greenhouses. Perhaps all theirgreenhouse articles are in Dutch.I went to considerable effort to reference this document to existing information. Recognize that thedescription is generic and written for any climate. Certain aspects and features, particularly thoserelated to energy production and management, may not be applicable to our local climate. Also,realize that this document describes all the possible options that can be included. It is unlikely thatall the energy systems described would be included in a single design since that would drive up thecost significantly. I realize the document is a bit long, but that seemed to be necessary to adequatelydescribe the system.I think that at this time, this document needs to be reviewed by people with greenhouse experience.Im not really sure what they might say - no doubt some will pick holes in it due to its cost ofconstruction - but others might see features that they wished they had in their own greenhouse. In myopinion, simply utilizing the bubble wall insulation system and the subterranean heating and coolingsystem would be very cost effective, simple to install, and energy efficient. Based on what I haveread on these two systems, they alone might meet over 75% of the energy needs of this greenhousesystem in our climate - and they require virtually no energy input to operate.Mark Hoffman 1-31-06 (Stelle, IL)Mark@centerforsustainablecommunity.org 815-256-2204 Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 15
  18. 18. PROFIT POTENTIAL Simple Greenhouse Projections for Perpetual Harvest System Bill Wilson – Midwest PermaculturePlease note: In a permaculture greenhouse operation, it is more likely that there would be 2-3 dozenvarieties of plants growing together for a complementary and sustainable system to be developed.For purposes of exploring production capabilities however, we were only able to find numbers forsingle crop production. Imagine having 18 of the most common vegetablesgrowing in your greenhouse and you are supplying food not only for yourfamily but for a local health food store and several restaurants that wanttomatoes, cucumber, dill, lettuce, asparagus, zucchini, peas, beans, etc. allyear-round.What if it were possible to net $500 a week from a single greenhouse...!Industry standards: …claim a commercial greenhouse in the temperateclimate zone (Feb. - Nov.) can conservatively produce an average of 4 lbs. oftomatoes per square foot (/sf), per year. They estimate that the cost tooperate runs between $.70 and 1.00 per pound which includes the current cost of energy. Theyestimate product to sell for $1.25 to 2.50/lb. depending on the time of year and market competition.So…A 25’ x 90’ greenhouse = 2,250 sf. @4 lbs./sf x 2,250 sf = 9000 lbs. of tomatoes annuallyConventional Expenses, Income and ProfitEstimate Operational costs at .90 lb. (x 9.000 lbs.) = $8,100 to operate (Heating and electrical, labor, debt repayment and interest, operating supplies, and taxes.)Gross sales @ $1.30 (x 9,000 lbs.) = $11,700 gross revenueGross Profit (before management & sales costs) = $3,600There are typical annual profit projections for a single, relatively-small greenhouse.What is Possible with a Perpetual Harvest System?A year-round New Jersey greenhouse operation using CO2 and supplemental lighting (in the wintermonths) demonstrated that tomatoes can be produced year-round. Yields were comfortably in the 12-16 lbs./sq./ft range. Chris Marron is confident his system will do much better. This needs to betested, so for now we will use a conservative, 12 lbs./sq./ft yield.12 lbs./sf x 2,250sf = 27,000 lbs. of tomatoes annuallyOperational costs (go ahead and triple the above $8,100) = $24,300 (Heating and electrical, labor, debt repayment and interest, operating supplies, and taxes.)Gross Sales @ 1.30 (x 27,000 lbs.) = $35,000 in gross revenuesGross Profit (before Mgmt. & sales) = $10,700Note:If tomatoes were grown organically and sold for a higher premium ($1.80 instead of $1.30) thiswould boost income by $13,500 without increasing expenses.Gross Profit with organics = $24,200So... Build three of these greenhouses and you have a nice annual income. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 16
  19. 19. Dear Reader: Remember, these are just my best estimates of what is possible. A prototypegreenhouse still needs to be built to test these assumptions. However, just imagine the possibility ofgrowing three times more food than anything previously achieved with the bonus of using renewableenergies.Bill Wilson (5-17-05) Note: This page was written by Bill Wilson for his Midwest Permaculturewebsite, without edit by Chris. Chris’ response is on pages 26-27 and is aided by recent hydro-organics industry data.APPENDIX:http://www.hydro-gardens.com/planning_your_house.htm TOMATOES require from 4.0 to 5.0 square feet of greenhouse area per plant. Therefore, theplant population in a 30 x 132 greenhouse will range from 990 plants to 792 plants. Plantpopulation is affected by greenhouse style, time of year youre in production, and your location.Production is normally calculated in pounds per square feet of greenhouse area. It can range from6.0# psf to well over 12# psf per year with currently available varieties. (See production estimatesat www.hydro-gardens.com/tomato_seeds.htm) The cost of producing vegetable crops varies substantially from season to season and year to year.It is generally accepted in the industry that this cost can range from $.70 per pound to $1.00 perpound. A few of the many factors that affect this cost are heating and electrical, labor, debtrepayment and interest, operating supplies, and taxes. The average selling price for vegetables in your area times the total yearly production gives yougross income. This will also vary substantially from season to season and year to year. Traditionallythis yearly average has ranged from $1.25 per lb. to $2.50 per lb. for tomatoes.High Production Green House (40lbs. sq. ft. annually)From (Source: http://www.pacpubserver.com/new/news/4-30-00/greenhouse.html) It takes only about 90 days to go from seed to harvest. An automated irrigation system watersand delivers nutrients to the plants, and is almost completely re-circulated. Special lamps augment the natural light and carbon dioxide is introduced to further boostproduction. The entire tomato-growing technique is very high-tech, except for one aspect: a hive ofbees pollinate tomato flowers in the old- fashioned way. The end result is a red, delicious tomato. Only a food snob could tell the difference between oneof these greenhouse babies and one grown in Jerseys summertime fields. "We produce about tentimes the amount of tomatoes that would be grown outdoors in a similar space," said Mr. Specca.The hydroponic growing process utilizes technology from the Netherlands and requires only abouthalf the manual labor normally required. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 17
  20. 20. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 18
  21. 21. PHASE IPERPETUAL HARVET GREENHOUSE SYSTEM REFINEMENT AND VALIDATIONOVERVIEWThis proposal is based on building a new greenhouse located where land is made available orretrofitting an existing greenhouse if funding restrictions and opportunity dictate that approach.Either way purchasing land is not included. The assumption is that an agreement can be made with aland owner based on their acquisition of a functional greenhouse and the physical plant to run itindependent of the local power grid. If the Phase I greenhouse is to be used for continuingexperimentation it would be highly desirable to have it located at Lily Hill Farm, Stelle or some othercommunity moving in a similar direction towards sustainability and research that supports that goal.Because both Lily Hill Farm and Stelle have expressed interest this proposal has been written basedon the assumption that the PHGS will be located in one or both of those communities.The proposed duration of Phase I is one year with the clock starting when construction begins. Itwill take three months to finish construction with building or retrofitting the greenhouse thehighest priority. Initially the power grid will be the source of supply. PHGS will transition toself-generation when that system comes on line. Building a new or retrofitting an oldgreenhouse and equipping it can be done in less than a month. In that same time frame the growbeds can be built and populated thus compressing the time it takes to produce fruit. Samples oftechnologies being considered, such as grow lights and water treatment systems, will beevaluated right away and the best candidate(s) chosen and installed in the finished greenhouse.The next five months are for experimentation while production ramps up and stabilizes. This timeperiod ends with operations at full capacity. The remaining six months of phase I is for finishingany remaining experimentation required for Phase II while documenting productivity levels.During this time the operation should be self-sustained based on sales. Chris would continuementoring the personnel involved via phone and email if Phase II design and initial constructionrequire his presence elsewhere. In order to properly document operations cooperative agreementswould be forged with Universities in the states involved. Professors at least two major universitieshave already expressed interest in PHGS and one has offered graduate student participation todocument viability as a business. Due to the focus on agriculture that many higher educationinstitutions have and the ground breaking nature of PHGS, canvassing other Universities for theirinterest will generate an abundance of offers for participation.BASELINE PARAMETERS TO INVESTIGATE AND OPTIMIZEOne simple technique that increases production over conventional approaches is vertical growingalong the North wall thus eliminating the problem of shading while increasing yield. Withvertical growing greenhouse production is based on cubic footage as opposed to a twodimensional operation based on square footage. Because some plants are shade loving verticalgrowing can also be practiced in some internal locations.A common greenhouse problem that needs to be addressed during Phase I is keeping the Polyfilmcover properly tensioned as it expands and contracts with temperature changes. It is vulnerable towind damage if it becomes slack in the summer heat or can be contracted beyond its capacity in the Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 19
  22. 22. winter cold. Development of a spring loaded tensioner is the answer. Arcosanti in Arizona hasalready worked this issue and has demonstrated a satisfactory solution to the problem.A critical aspect to the operation of PHGS is working cooperatively with Mother Nature. Thatstatement means far more than most realize. Its wisdom was long ago demonstrated bothculturally and more recently scientifically. An excellent overview of the early studies validatingthis can be found in the book, The Secret Life of Plants. It was published in 1972, roughly thesame time frame that Findhorn in Scotland began operations, www.findhorn.org. Findhorndefinitively demonstrated that working consciously with the flora and associated intelligencesresults in unheard of yields even when dealing with low quality soils. They also pioneered theuse of Bio-dynamic techniques which have eight decades of documented application yieldingincredibly successful results. This can be investigated at, www.biodynamics.com. Appendix Agives a good overview of Bio-dynamics.That success established Findhorn as a focal point sustainable community which prospers to thisday. It also inspired similar efforts in the United States. One that is well documented is thePerelandra Institute, www.perelandra-ltd.com. It is located in Virginia. Chris’s wife took a classat Perelandra. What she learned led to significant refinements in how she and Chris operatedtheir greenhouse as they had a new partner, Mother Nature. This partner was eager to explorecooperative ventures with them. For example, a critical technique for quick turn aroundpropagation is cuttings. Success rates rose dramatically from around 40% to over 95% byfollowing the advice the plant kingdom provided. They also employed the Bio-dynamics basedtechniques used at Findhorn resulting in large increases in productivity.A question sometimes raised is whether or not PHGS’s artificial environment is too removedfrom nature and hence unnatural. One of the principals behind Perelanda is Machaelle SmallWright. She is an acknowledged expert in this field. She has written: “Anything that has order,organization, and life vitality, is nature.” PHGS certainly fits that definition. It is really a formof garden. On that subject Machaelle writes: “A garden is any environment that is initiated byhumans, given its purpose, definition and direction by humans, and maintained with the help ofhumans.” Machaelle lists examples of soil-less gardens: A home, a business, classrooms,computers, computer programs, books, a car and a human body. Given those examples it isdifficult if not impossible to come up with anything that has form that would not be consideredpart of nature nor anything that man builds that would not be considered a garden. However,what mankind creates is seldom accomplished working cooperatively with Mother Nature; hencethe lack of balance and thus both vitality and sustainability. Machaelle further states that:“When humans consider solutions for restoring balance to an out-of-balance world, they needonly access the intelligence of nature involved for answers. That intelligence contains inherentbalance and is fully capable of defining all that is required for reflecting that inherent balancethrough specific form.” The baseline for PHGS was developed by Chris and his wife workingcocreatively with Nature’s Intelligence. That is why we have high confidence it its success.Much closer to Stelle is a second well documented effort at working cooperatively with MotherNature, www.lilyhillfarm.org. Penny Kelly’s Lily Hill Farm is located in Lawton, Michigan andshe is another expert in the field. The quality and size of their organic grape harvests eclipsed all Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 20
  23. 23. competition in Michigan’s fruitbelt. That is why consultations with Penny are part of thedevelopment cost for PHGS and Lily Hill Farm is a proposed location.The baseline approach for PHGS is composed of what is essential to high productivity and henceeconomic viability. It has been carefully crafted to address five critical parameters: Light, heat,water, nutrients and atmosphere. For maximum production these five critical elements have to bemaintained at optimal levels. PHGS cannot have a “Down day” as they reduce productivity tosmall percentages above industry standards. Sustained stimulation yields productivity dramaticallyabove the norm, the five to eight times PHGS is capable of. Lights are required, even in thesummer, as a few cloudy days in a row can dramatically stunt optimum growth. Sustained heatincreases metabolic rate if every other parameter is being met. Water supplies are likewisecontrolled so that plants dry out two or three times per day. This vaporizes the nutrients in the rootzone thus approximating aeroponics growing which is scientifically accepted as the most efficientsystem. However, it suffers from technical problems because organic solutions cause misters toclog; otherwise PHGS would take that approach. Controlling the atmosphere includes increasedCO2 levels because the plants take in CO2 and expel oxygen. This is similar to Olympic classathletes who train at high altitudes to increase their cardiovascular capability thus enabling them tooutperform others in lower altitudes with higher oxygen contents. When all five parameters areoptimized nutrient uptake is dramatically increased along with growth. Thus stems growsignificantly more fruit production nodes in less space.These elements are optimized to exponentially increase growth rates in order to achieve largeincreases in yields. Without their counterparts in place each parameter is at levels which wouldburn, stunt, or outright kill the plants. It is only when all operate simultaneously in a balancedfashion that the plants produce at dramatically increased levels based on their needs beingabundantly met. It is to their advantage to do so as fruit is their means of propagation. Optimize tomeet their needs and they will meet ours. That is the philosophy of PHGS in an organic nutshell.PHASE I SUPPLIMENTS FOR STELLAR RESULTSAdditional technologies which would further leverage plant growth use audible and electromagneticstimulation and in one case biofeedback. A technology Penny Kelly found particularly successfulwas Sonic Bloom© which combines audio stimulation with organic nutrient application todramatically augment plant growth. Based on the documentation on their web site:www.relfe.com/sonic_bloom.html, the result is plants as much as five times their normal sizewith comparable gains in yield. Sonic Bloom© pioneered practices will work well with theorganic nutrient solutions used in PHGS.The QXCI/EPFX/SCIO device is an important tool to monitor the project and an opportunity toproduce results beyond current expectations. Although known internationally as the QXCI,within the US it is licensed by the FDA as the Electro Physiological Feedback Xrroid (EPFX)Scientific Consciousness Interface Operating system (SCIO). The main international website is:www.theqxci.com/old_events.html and within the US: www.epfxscio.com. It is a biofeedbackdevice capable of destructive and constructive stimulation while monitoring thousands ofecosystem parameters. It can thus reduce undesirable organisms while enhancing energeticconditions leading to proper balance and enhanced growth. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 21
  24. 24. The QXCI is a portable computer running proprietary software interfaced with a patentedbroadcast/receiver which is the SCIO. The result is an easily transported biofeedback devicelicensed for Class II medical research in the United States and worldwide. Over 16,000 of themhave been sold globally with 10,000 of them in the United States. Its software is the world’slargest medical program. It deals quite effectively with humans, animals, plants and growthmediums such as the soil or organic solutions used in the PHGS.What the QXCI does is more closely akin to something you would expect from the Star ShipEnterprise. It incorporates 400 other machines such as EEG, EKG, blood chemistry, and manymore fundamental medical functions while improving their effectiveness with biofeedback. TheQXCI works as a quantum potential device sensing and adjusting energy fields in the entire systembeing analyzed. It contends with the micro environment down to atomic levels. It can sense andmodify the macro environment with a 1000 meter energy field generating organic levels of healthin that sphere. It has been demonstrated to double plant growth rate. Because it takes a long timeto learn how to effectively operate such a complex system, and the cost of acquiring the equipmentexceeds $20,000, hiring an experienced operator as a consultant has been included in Phase Idevelopment. It is anticipated that the results will justify the purchase of a QXCI for Phase II. Ifthe machine turns out to be as useful as anticipated it could be worth purchasing and learning howto work with during Phase I. That becomes doubly true if it can also handle energizing the volumeof water a greenhouse requires. Having this level of technology combined with Perelandratechniques will yield new understandings and a synergized result far beyond current expectations.Penta Hydrate is a form of water discovered relativelyrecently by engineer Bill Holloway. Only 3-5% of naturallyoccurring water is a molecule forming the high energycircular penta shape. The remainder is predominatelyunstructured and thus low energy. Unstructured water is PENTAinvariably found associated with disease tissue. Penta HYDRATEHyrdrate is the smallest regular geometric shape watermolecules organize into. It is therefore highly viscous. Thatmeans that it moves freely through the membranes in livingorganisms thus functioning very effectively in its primaryfunction, as a transport medium. Consequently both nutrientdelivery and waste product elimination are accelerated tohigh efficiency with comparable gains in health.Bill used his water experimentally on his plants. The results were so dramatic that he tried it onhimself. He had suffered from debilitating fibromyalgia for 10 years and lived with the diseasefor 25. In one month his symptoms all but disappeared. Within three years he developed amultimillion dollar business selling Penta Hydrate through more than 3000 health food storesnationwide. Bill creates his product using reverse osmosis water as a base and proprietaryprocesses involving ultraviolet treatments. The result is water that is stable and more than 80percent penta molecules. Bill’s company can be investigated at www.hydrateforlife.com. Hehas developed an extensive research lab and continues to improve on his understanding of whatthis water can do and how it can be used. Bill’s company is not the only one marketing high-energy waters. I drew heavily upon his information as it explains the chemistry involved. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 22
  25. 25. Japan’s Dr Emoto has also extensively researched water and processes that affect how itperforms. Appendix B near the end of this document lists other possible sources as well.Appendix C is a white paper by an expert in the field, Yosef Bender.Plants that are super energized are impervious to pathogens just as humans are with a similarlyempowered immune system. Energized water is a critical foundation upon which high qualityfood can be produced and thus a keystone technology to investigate during Phase I development.Working with a vermaculture and microbe expert is also highly desirable. In the humandigestive tract a microbial balance is essential to health. In an analogous fashion a diverse foodproduction biosphere requires microbes as pathogen removers. Healthy microbes in the waterform another layer of defense thus ensuring ecosystem resilience and sustained food production.Lee Patterson is a retired farmer with expertise at energizing water. He lives in the Chicago areaand is well known douser, vermaculture and microbe expert. He is very interested in working onthe PHGS project. He has this to say about the subject of vermaculture and microbes:“Microbial life is a very big team player. The digestive tract of the earthworm is a mobilelaboratory. It acts as the research and development center for what the soil needs based on theraw materials that are available. Their blending supports life. Earthworms have quite a familyhistory promoting vitality! The ancient Chinese recognized and honored their lowly wormfriends. Today, with high tech, we lose awareness that vermaculture and microbes aresynonymous with life. These dedicated employees only promote life, never complain, work longhours, give excrement containing the required microbes, and always act as true team players.They are one of nature’s marvelous systems.”POTENTIAL RESULTSWhat is proposed here is far beyond industry standards. A normal three season greenhouse takesthree months to begin production as plants are grown from seeds. It also ends productionramping down as plants pass maturity and are not replaced. Thus a three season greenhouse onlyproduces fruit at top end production for half a year at best. Economics like this generally restrictgreenhouses to high end crops and often just flowers. Three to four pounds per square foot arethe industry norm for the low end of greenhouse operations. With full utilization of theirproducts the petrochemical industry touts results of eight to twelve pounds per square foot. Wecontacted a certified organic hydroponics solution company and they reported customers withproduction levels double that at 25 pounds per square foot. With year-round production PHGSeasily takes the best that hydro-organics achieves and doubles it while reducing energy costs.This is conservative based on the previously mentioned Cornell University results of productivity23 times that reported by California outdoor commercial growers while decreasing water usageby well over 30 times: www.verticalfarm.com/plans-2k6_eco.htm.During Phase I baseline development PHGS incorporates sustained year long operations, verticalgrowing techniques, Bio-dynamics, Perelandra based cooperative growing, higher temperaturesand CO2 augmentation. Stellar augmentation during Phase I adds Sonic Bloom© andenergization technologies aimed at the total environment plus the QXCI transmittingharmonizing frequencies while monitoring and optimizing the operation from the macro to themicro levels. The consequence is organic production well beyond industry standards and thePHGS baseline. Thus PHGS production estimates five to eight times what the petrochemical Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 23
  26. 26. based industry claims are more than reasonable and in fact, conservative. Such expectations arein keeping with the Findhorn experience where extraordinary results were documented.Findhorn only explored outdoor growing using Bio-dynamics and what we have characterized asPerelandra based techniques. PHGS at stellar levels brings far more to the table withcommensurate gains.What will the resultant produce be like? It has been established by a number of pioneers, forinstance, Dr. Norman Walker, Dr. Ann Wigmore, Dr. Gary Null and Colonel Bradford, thatdebilitating illness can be reversed. In every instance they were faced with a personal healthcrisis which they turned around by changing their diet to nutrient dense organic foods. Even hairloss was reversed and gray hair returned to its normal color. There were similar gains in energylevels, productivity and longevity. Dr. Deepak Chopra has documented in his books and Dr.Richard Schultz has experienced first hand how the body regenerates when it is fed healthyfoods. Dr. Chopra has studied cultures where people live well beyond 100 years because ofhealthy lifestyles and diets. Based on his studies, premature aging could be characterized asbeing less than fully vital before the age of 100.Americans live in the best fed nation in the world. The majority of us are chronicallyoverweight. There is considerable medical data indicating that aging is really a consequence ofmalnutrition. Aging is thus a sign of malnutrition. Being overweight could also be a sign ofmalnutrition. It doesn’t matter how much food you eat if it does not contain what your bodyneeds. Americans are literally stuffing themselves while starving to death. Those listed in thepreceding paragraph reversed the debilitating effects of aging by eating nutrient dense healthyfoods. Healthy food that was readily available decades ago no longer exits in quantity on thisplanet because of the degradation of the soils from farming practices and widespread pollution.The phase I PHGS will produce Super Energized Nutrient Dense (SEND) foods that are organic.The taste and quality of healthy food is palatably different from the cardboard competition. Thatalone sells it. Once its healthy benefits are also realized people will crave what PHGS produces.You want to help someone, just SEND food!Another indicator of how healthy foods produced this way was Penny Kelly’s results. The brixlevels in produce are indications of how well the plant was nourished. What Penny discovered wasthat high brix level organic produce tastes better and has a shelf life measured in months and evenyears rather than days or at most weeks. PHGS will be filled with the best quality food immersedin an energized environment never before experienced within any of our lifetimes. Waterenergizers also energize the air while producing water with an energy field that can be measured 15feet away. The QXCI gives off frequencies that induce harmony within the designated area ofinfluence thus encapsulating the entire greenhouse in a feeling of harmony. The synergistic resultof being in PHGS biospace will be a feeling of energized peace similar to that experienced onmountain tops or in old growth forests. It will be a super energized healthy environmentharmonized at all levels. Just entering such a space will feel wonderful and be therapeutic, letalone eating the highly sought after product. The tour industry could easily become a significantsource of revenue. There are also education grants available for tours of unique industries. Thatrevenue could be used to turn the facility into a world class teaching environment. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 24
  27. 27. One final possibility needs to be noted, mankind’s experience regarding plant growth hasnaturally been based on observation. The industrial revolution and the more recent proliferationof the chemical industry have resulted in a degrading of our global ecosphere. Our wheat doesnot have the vitality of the wheat grown in Ancient Egypt which sprouted after it lay dormant forthousands of years. Humans began increasing in size as our diet provided the nutrition forgreater growth. In cultures where nutrition is lacking the population is smaller in stature. Ifnutrition is really deficient then many functions become stunted including brain capacity. Fullexpression of our genetic code is contingent upon properly sustained growth. It is very possiblethat what we see expressed today in the plant kingdom is not fully reflective of each plant’spotential. It is also possible that not just size may increase, but new energetic structures mayemerge when a plant is grown in a fully supportive high energy environment. The results give usbenefits beyond calculations of yield capacity. The plants can exhibit new forms of expressionand in consuming them, we may be similarly empowered.INVESTIGATIVE APPROACHAll of the advanced technologies and techniques discussed here have been included for researchpurposes in the Phase I proposal. Normal approaches to research would dictate extensiveprotocols, controls, complex greenhouse design creating many separated zones, and many timeconsuming experiments given the number of parameters being evaluated. It would take years ifnot decades to do justice to such rigor. Our purpose is to advance the art of food production, notthe production of scientific research. Although short duration comparison studies will beconducted if they are found necessary, the vast majority of the scientific method is not requiredbecause immediate feedback is obtained using Perelandra techniques. When two approaches yieldcomparable responses the one chosen will be based on economic factors. Thus an optimal mix israpidly arrived at within the short duration of the Phase I effort. Consequently the Phase II effortwill be in a timely position to incorporate the lessons learned during Phase I.The Phase II greenhouse will also be capable of supporting continuing research as new questionsare raised. That is because it will be built to accommodate the production of a variety of foodsand thus have many independent zones. That flexibility accommodates future researchrequirements thus continually evolving understanding and resulting growing techniques.Greenhouses could be optimized to grow exclusively avocadoes, lemons, oranges, bananas and soon every day of the year.There are many medicinal plants that currently are in short supply. Any biosphere from theAmazon to Tibet can be simulated. Both the Phase I and Phase II greenhouses can supportresearch and development that optimizes growing techniques and expands the variety ofgreenhouse compatible crops that can be grown profitably. Thus PHGS makes it feasible togrow health industry champions such as Goji Berries or Noni fruit which yield high value drinks,or Wild Oregano which yields high value oil.Investigating the plants used by many indigenous cultures will undoubtedly yield a substantiallist of rare specimens worth pursuing because of their nutritional and health benefits. Patentingneeds to be avoided and is not necessary. Native Americans have withheld much of theirknowledge as the legal system has been used as a weapon to take it away from them. Intellectualproperties such as these need to be documented in order to make them part of the public domain Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 25
  28. 28. thus precluding patenting. Then the real value will be found in cost effective production ofplants with desirable properties which the public has formerly been denied access to because ofscarcity and mistrust. Native Americans and other cultures with rich medicinal heritages willthen have a safe outlet for treasured knowledge. Chris, Penny and I, plus others we know, havenumerous connections into Western and Eastern Indigenous cultures making it feasible toexplore richly rewarding possibilities. This becomes another potential industry for NativeAmericans and the reservations they occupy as well as other cultures globally that struggle for asubsistence living.PROFIT POTENTIALThe analysis on pages 15 and 16 of this document was done by Bill Wilson. It focused on a singlewell known crop, tomatoes, and is based on a very conservative estimate of PHGS potential derivedfrom the lowest end of industry performance. Although an excellent first attempt, bear in mind thatanybody can achieve results of three to four pounds per square foot. The petrochemical industryreports that using their products consistently yields eight to twelve pounds per square foot. Aspreviously noted, year-round production based on the hydro-organics industry figure of 25 poundsper square foot for half year production yields 50 pounds per square foot annual production.A more reflective analysis of PHGS would be to look at three levels of performance based onindustry data. The low end would be a conservative baseline derived from the petrochemicalindustries low end of eight pounds per square foot multiplied by our conservative estimate of fivetimes their productivity. The result is 40 pounds per square foot, well in keeping with the 50pounds per square foot figure generated by doubling the hydro-organic industry half yearproduction figure. Our high end productivity figure is determined by multiplying thepetrochemical industries high end twelve pounds per square foot times our high end eight timesproductivity figure yielding 96 pounds per square foot. Initial productivity is likely to be in themiddle thus yielding a compromise figure that is the mathematical median. The high end estimatewould be attained after a few years of operation. The cost of production and sales price estimatesare based on the ranges Bill Wilson found in his investigation of published industry figures. Thesecalculations are for the 4,000 square foot Phase I PHGS greenhouse producing a single wellcharacterized crop, tomatoes. Industry Standard Median Success Stellar SuccessPounds per sq. foot 40 68 961 Years production 160,000 pounds 272,000 pounds 392,000 poundsCost/pound to produce $1.00 $0.85 $0.70Sales price/pound $1.25 $1.88 $2.501 Years profit $40,000 $280,160 $705,6003 Years profit $120,000 $840,000 $2,116,800The resulting profits are based on a couple of assumptions. The first one is that increases inproduction quantity should result in decreases in the cost per pound thus moving it from the highend of published industry figures to the low end. The technologies being employed in PHGS arenot inherently more expensive than conventional practices once the equipment has been purchasedand personal become familiar with the new operation. In fact, operational efficiency is enhancedas problems are avoided by monitoring the operation in ways not previously available. Thus allefforts are aimed at enhancing productivity rather than rectifying mistakes. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 26
  29. 29. The second assumption is that the quality of the produce should rapidly give it a value addedreputation resulting in sales price moving from the low end of published industry standards to thehigh end. As there is no product out there with quality even close to what will be produced eventhe currently documented high end price could be considered conservative. Full production beginssix months into the Phase I effort after which PHGS should be a money making enterprise.There should also be a good handle on labor costs. Local farmers use labor that is seldommotivated to perform well as they are paid based on how long they work. No permanentrelationship is established as they are transient. PHGS requires only a few workers who areprimarily permanent employees. Thus relationships are built with commensurate gains in prideand productivity. Allowing workers to share in the harvest will give them an additional incentiveto maximize both the quality and the quantity of production. Hispanics have traditionally beenthe source of workers for harvesting. There is a sufficient Hispanic population more than willingto relocate to wherever permanent employment of this nature is offered. Chris speaks functionalSpanish and has often worked quite successfully with Hispanics finding them both cooperativeand adaptive to his non-traditional methods.MARKETING PLAN FOR LILY HILL FARMLily Hill Farm already has an established marketing precedent. They previously acted as a CSAoutlet for the region and only shut down when they were unable to meet demand. There is alreadysufficient infrastructure at LHF to stage a marketing operation selling directly to the public and anexcellent reputation with their former customers. In addition, the only two local restaurants thathave been approached so far have expressed interest in their produce. Nearby Kalamazoo has apopulation of 60,000 and five universities. It has an advanced cultural perspective required andrepresents a large, untapped market ripe for PHGS produce. Word of mouth may be sufficient toreestablish Lily Hill Farm as a going commercial enterprise. If not, then a modest foray intonearby markets should easily consume whatever PHGS can produce.MARKETING PLAN FOR STELLEBuyers big enough to absorb the entire PHGS output are ones like the Feed Milwaukee Project orGoodness Greeness, www.goodnessgreeness.com, the largest organic distributor in the Midwest.Both would be very interested in a steady year-round supply of the highest quality produce theyhave ever seen. The downside is that sales price would be wholesale thus reducing our profit whilebeing vulnerably dependant upon a single customer.Farmers in the Stelle region indicate that labor and trucking are their primary expenses. Theunaddressed cost in this analysis is the distribution system which for a small operation could beprohibitively expensive. There is an interim solution that is free. There are many CommunityDevelopment Corporation’s (CDC) in the Chicago region. Some drop off customers as far Southas the area around Stelle. An agreement with them will provide free transport for taking produceback to Chicago. They also provide direct marketing experience as they would be in contact withpotential buyers. This is a marketing system with end buyer distribution. Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 27
  30. 30. An excellent form of advertising would be to enter prize winning produce in local, regional andstate fairs. PHGS could win easily by maximizing size and nutritional value along with flavor. Agreenhouse with a showroom wall covered with first place ribbons should be an attention grabberfor tours and incentive for customers; American’s love to purchase from a winner.The best way of maximizing profit is to sell directly to the public. The ideal location for sellingproduce is a high quality farm stand within easy walking distance of PHGS and integrated intothe operation. Why package produce and put it on a truck for shipment when the same laborcould stock a marketplace? The marketplace building could be a second pole barn or the powerplant pole barn lengthened so that tours of that facility can be integrated with sales of produceunder a single roof. It only costs a thousand dollars more to expand graveled parking toaccommodate customers along with employees. Based on its importance, the cost of building anintegrated marketplace and advertising to initiate sales has been added to this proposal.The precedent has been set by quality operations like Fair Oak Farms off of I-65 at the IndianaState Highway 14 exit. They are in the middle of nowhere with the closest town 30 miles away.They have a large parking lot filled with customer’s cars. Based on the school bus traffic theyprobably got started with $175,000 SARE Grants which develop tours for school children.SARE grants are available every two years. There are also comparable grants for senior citizensto buy their vegetables at reduced rates. All of this builds exposure. Fair Oak Farms is a goodexample for Stelle to emulate.For Stelle, priming the pump begins with a modest advertising campaign in nearby communitiesincluding parts of Chicago. High quality signs at key intersections need to be erected to guidepeople to Stelle. While it is still under development some of the first three months of PHGSproduction can be given away as samples to those willing to drive to Stelle. This educates people’spalate about high quality food, gets them used to idea of driving to Stelle, exposes them to thegreenhouse operation thus encouraging tours, and ultimately generates excitement about the GrandOpening.Some of the produce can also be sold at reduced cost to local CSA’s to introduce them to it andcreate the incentive for picking up combined orders at Stelle. The proceeds for those sales wouldpay for additional employment hours for the Marketing Manager. That could make it a full timeposition for the two or three months prior to the launch of commercial sales onsite.POTENTIALS IN COMMON TO LILY HILL FARM AND STELLEThe University connection is a further means for generating interest as the documented resultsvalidate PHGS’s productivity. Another way of generating interest and ultimately customers is tovideotape everything from erecting the greenhouse to harvesting mature fruit. The ability to do thisis included in the computer budget for PHGS. Getting the word out becomes a full circle effortinvolving all of the groups interested in its success from S3 documenting it to Nancy Bentley’s FoodCircles including her “Seeds of Health” mini PodCasts. More about Nancy’s work can be found at:www.TrulyCultured.com, www.theFoodCircles.com, and www.FullCirclesCommunity.com. Shewill produce ecourses which can also be made into flyers for educational advertising given out tomany groups and at PHGS to customers. This information becomes the basis for a newsletter Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 28
  31. 31. revolving around nutrition and sustainability. All of this information can be made available on aPHGS web site the development of which can also be funded by the sales of produce duringdevelopment. It is the job of the Market Manager to ensure the best use of produce sales formarketing purposes prior to going commercial.As a communities aimed at sustainability, both Lily Hill Farm and Stelle are in the health andeducation business. PHGS is a demonstration system intended as an education vehicle. Customersare opportunities not just for sales but for a clearer understanding of what sustainability is about.Sales come from educating them about what high brix level nutrient dense, energized, awardwinning organic produce is and why buying it is desirable. Seeing a greenhouse filled with foodthat can be purchased year-round will be impressive, particularly when what is offered is a fullspectrum of freshly picked produce in the middle of the winter. Another eye opener will be seeingIndore composting being accomplished with community participation and an odorless high qualityproduct that anyone can make in their own back yard. The entire operation is an eye opener filledwith gems of understanding. It is a new consciousness based on the foundation need for food!Explaining what high quality food does for you mentally and physically will be more thaneducational, it will be a healing life saver for many.The best source of employees to work the PHGS greenhouse and its market is local residents.They have the knowledge the public needs exposure to. Thus the entire operation becomes aneconomic spark plug for the community. It also becomes the focal point for other businessopportunities such as sales of ethanol and diesel derived from plant based sources. The customerstream created is a strong basis for sales by every business based out of Stelle and certain anincentive for new business development at Lily Hill Farm.Produce that is not saleable, either because of damage or because it didn’t sell in a timelyfashion, can be processed by microbial culturing into nutrient dense high value stable productsthat the community becomes culturally identified with. This is the same sort of regionaldifferentiation found all over Europe where each town has artisinal specialty foods that it isknown for such as sauerkrauts, sausages, wines, cheeses and breads. Highly marketable productslike this empower communities to develop specialty shops, café’s, bed and breakfast’s and otherfood and ambiance based enterprises. This increases the local economic multiplier as the moneycirculates in the community thus stimulating its’ economy.Thus PHGS becomes the basis upon which an entire community becomes both nutritionally andeconomically self sustaining. It is therefore highly desirable to accomplish PHGS in a mannerconsistent with local sustainability thus making it a model that other communities can emulate.On that basis selling the produce locally may be the only method philosophically consistent withbuilding long term sustainability. Every project in the Stellar Projects Limited LiabilityCorporation, (SPLLC, covered more thoroughly in Appendix D) needs to promote PHGS as it isthe keystone for community success and the basis of many different industries to develop.If you assume that the average occupant of a vehicle purchases 20 pounds of produce then thatbecomes the basis for estimating PHGS sales traffic volume. To determine daily traffic youdivide the estimated average purchase of 20 pounds into the Industry Standard yearly productionlevel of 40 times 4,000 pounds and then divide by twelve, the number of months in a year. The Perpetual Harvest Greenhouse System 29