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From a business press release:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Will Join Valcent's Advisory Board

CORNWALL, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - 12/03/09) - Valcent Products Inc. (OTC.BB:VCTZF - News) announces that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., has agreed to join the Company's advisory board. Over the past two months Valcent has launched a major sales and marketing campaign aimed at developing interest for the concept of urban farming in a number of major US cities in association with EMLINK LLC of Boston Massachusetts.

I have frankly wondered a bit about the reception press releases in the past praising the Kennedys got on Wall Street.  As a disclaimer, I have no personal stake in this ultimate factory farmer and do not recommend or not recommend the stock to anyone.  

No Valcent doesn't raise cows or goats or baboons but it does grow bubbly lettuce for baboons:


 Baboons love to play with their food.  All plants are grown under computer control in modules that the company has offered for about half a million smackeroos.  So far their sales are zero.

The origins of this endeavor were growing algae in plastic bags hanging from rotating panels in "clean" rooms.  I use the term advisedly since the spaces hardly fit the category of scientific labs dealing with such things as nukes or the ebola virus.


The vegetable growing modules look pretty much like a display in most any large garden shop but are basically the same advanced hydroponic technology.

So what's with this factory farming?  Lettuce and tomatoes aren't as adorable as pigs and baboons.

Just this:

There is a conservation of water and nutrients.  Other chemicals are eliminated.  Labor is minimized and incidentally less abused.  Pollution is minimal and global warming takes a setback.  

It's good for polar bears and penguins as well as people and promises harm only to large corporate interests and the blather of faux environmentalists.

Like with factory farming generally.

Best,  Terry

Originally posted to terryhallinan on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 03:49 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Hydrophinic Greenhouse Factory Farming (0+ / 0-)

      Is actually quite common in Japan, China, Singapore and Holland.

      Often, quire simple systems are used; platic boats containing the produce are floated on a slow moving water stream (motion provided by an overflow weir and pump returning water to the back of the line. At the front of the line are timed lifts (or workers) that remove the produce, packing it for market, while at the back of the line, new boats with seeds or seedlings are added.

      Two people working together can run two lines.

      The below linked sites contain some information on such methods.

      simple hydro

      Shows basic methods

      how to hydrophonics

      menu links o many specific methods including Dutch and Japanese/Chinese systems using "boats"or "'rafts"

      Oh Chin Huat Hydroponic Farms (Pte) Ltd

      Typical case of an Asian style, organic, hdrophonic farm, this one in Singapore. Negotiate the menu to learn much about how it's dobe, lots of good photos.


      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 09:44:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the Record (0+ / 0-)

        I have no real knowledge that Valcent has any real advantage over other hydroponic systems.  I was fed second-hand information from a friend of a friend who was working on a module in El Paso, TX, when everything was moved to England.

        A money squeeze nearly put Valcent out of business.  Collaboration with the Paignton Zoo provided a lifeline.

        One might expect new kids on the block might not know everything there is to be known about the business.

        Best,  Terry

  •  God you are a lousy diarist (3+ / 0-)

    worst evar.  What do either Kennedy or the baboon have to do with the issue?  Did you run out of filler?

    Hydroponic lettuce is a huge seller, and even using far-less high technology than this, its a serious money maker.  There have been lots of stories on this sort of farming lately, especially in Scientific American.

  •  That's not factory farming. (0+ / 0-)

    Was irony intended in the title?

    •  It is factory farming (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is no different whether you are raising cows or cotton or corn.

      When you apply science to minimize chemical, land, labor and water use, recycle and even extract energy rather than use it; you are into factory farming.

      I have written a diary about the conversion of a horrendous factory farming complex in Pennsylvania to modern scientific methods with help from Pennsylvania authorities trying to clean up the pollution of Chesapeake Bay while under pressure from animal activists.

      It's mighty fine, no doubt, to sing and write of fruited plains and amber waves of grain feeding alabaster cities but it's even better to care for the environment.

      Best,  Terry

      •  Since factory farming usually results in an (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dcoronata, citicenx

        increase in chemical, land and waster use, a decimation of rural communities as family farms have dried up in the wake of consolidations, and recycling nutrients (even energy) is something which is too often ignored since it's cheaper to pollute than recycle, I'd say efficiency is in the eye of the beholder.

        He who distinguishes the true savor of food can never be a glutton, he who does not cannot be otherwise. - Thoreau

        by the fan man on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 05:57:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tragedy of the commons (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          Why spend money cleaning up the place when it is cheaper to pollute?

        •  I'm From Missouri (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man, koNko

          Since factory farming usually results in an increase in chemical, land and waster use

          Show me this miracle.

          The horror stories about factory farming show livestock packed together like sardines.  

          That requires more land?

          In any case, the problem goes beyond cruelty (that exists in any farming if unhindered).  

          The reason that factory farms, or CAFO's (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) exist is because they are more cost effective.

          Whether it is more cost effective to treat animals (and workers) more humanely as well as eliminating pollution and extracting energy and nutrients is yet to be determined.

          Few seem to be aware of the nutrient trading creditprograms that exist in many states and are meant to address any imbalance.

          It is cheaper for humans to dump their excrement and other waste on the road in front of their houses as we once did but not the best way of doing things.

          Best,  Terry

          P.S. I really did live in Missouri for a time.

          •  If we're discussing vegetable production, I can (0+ / 0-)

            guarantee small farms are more productive than mega farms. Has to do with space needs for larger equipment to maneuver fields, lower ability to monitor field conditions.  Small farms are more apt and able to take advantage of integrated pest management hence less need for pesticides. Less fertilizer use since land is less likely to be overworked and crop rotation between veggies can be accomplished without loss of production. In the NE, 50 acres farms can be exceptionally productive but unable to compete in wholesale markets (not enough product for most wholesalers), the trick is to get 500 acre farms to become as productive.

            I am less saavy when it comes to animal products, but based on what I see with a successful local milk coop, a group of mid sized dairy farms (100 hd per) can bring in an exceptionally wholesome product (lower somatic cell counts than many organic farms), keep more people employed, more open space productive, with a lower environmental burden than west and midwest "factory" dairies. There are efficiencies in large scale production which show up as lower price, but as you've read, are based on low energy costs and extractive land and water use. It doesn't mean small operations can't be wasteful, just that they are more flexible.

            Again, efficiency can be measured in different ways.

            He who distinguishes the true savor of food can never be a glutton, he who does not cannot be otherwise. - Thoreau

            by the fan man on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 07:00:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again, see my post up-thread (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              This sub-page on the Oh Chin Huat Hydroponic Farmspage shows photo of high density/high yield hdrophonic factory farming, for example.

              Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

              by koNko on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 09:54:44 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  How Productive Are The Mega Banana Farms In (0+ / 0-)

              Iceland? :-)

              I diaried a particular kind of farming - specifically an advanced hydroponic farming technology.  Not only does it claim to be 10X more productive than field farming but it uses much less pesticide.  Zero in fact.

              All is contained in a single module.

              The company is still in the process of monitoring production, costs, etc. A zoo near London is mighty pleased according to them.  Some crops could not be grown outside.

              I was quite familiar in the past with small farmers unable to sell to the large supermarket chains but we are talking apples and oranges.

              I am talking about technology and you are discussing size.

              Large agribusiness is not most notable for efficiency or cleanliness or much of anything else beyond marketing muscle.

              This comparison gives a glimpse of what I am discussing:

              Take the Kreider Farms Tour and see how old-fashioned dedication to quality milk products harnessed with state-of-the-art technology produces an unbeatable team.

              Our 90-minute dairy farm tour offers a high-tech view of farming including a drive down the middle of our Titanic-sized loafing barn, otherwise known as the cow palace and a bird's eye view of the milking merry-go-round. Filled with facts and humor, we please groups of all ages. In fact, our farm tour program will host over 500 busses and cars totaling over 20,000 visitors this year alone.

              Lots of heartwarming videos are also available here.

              An unscheduled tour earlier is a bit different:

              Welcome to

              Eggs. Whether scrabled or poached, sliced in a salad or served sunny-side up, eggs are often considered a healthy food choice. It's no surprise that eggs are perceived this way, as lobby groups for the egg industry spend millions of dollars every year trying to sell consumers on "the incredible, edible egg." But what the industry doesn't show consumers is where the eggs come from - dark, cramped, feces-filled rows of cages stuffed with egg-laying chickens that will never see the sun, never feel the grass, and who will never have more personal space than half of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. What's worse, eggs in these conditions are often smeared in feces, sit for hours on dirty collection trays, and are eaten or handled by rodents before being washed and sent on to you, the consumer.

              In order to expose the realities of modern egg production for consumers in the greater Philadelphia region, The Humane League of Philadelphia conducted an undercover investigation at Kreider Farms of Lancaster, PA. Kreider produces tens of millions of eggs every year and supplies them to McDonalds, Genaurdi's, and other supermarkets and restaurants in the Philadelphia area. An undercover investigation conducted at three of their five egg production facilities revealed grossly inhumane and unsanitary conditions

              Prepare to be grossed out should you desire to watch the videos.  I have done it for you.

              A filthy hellhole produces toxic chickens and eggs.  It poisons the land, air and water as well as consumers.

              Apply technology and it can be superior to any organic farm.

              Both farms are the same factory farm.

              That is what I am talking about.

              Try telling that to Michael Pollan or even our own Jill Richardson.  Lots a' luck with that.

              Best,  Terry

        •  Not organic hydrophinic farming (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          the fan man

          See my comment posted to the Tip Jar and the linked sites.

          Chemicl-free, pesticide-free organic hdrophonic farming is big business in Japan, China, Singapore and Holland. It is very environmentally friendly conserving water and avoiding pollution of ground watee with pesticides and chemical fertalizers.

          And due to the absence of pests and bacteria, the produce stays fresher.

          Not all factory farms are created equally.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 09:49:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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