• A Novel Approach for Calculating the Feasibility of Urban Agriculture using an Enhanced Hydroponic System

      Giacomelli, Gene A.; Kacheris, William; Giacomelli, Gene A.; Tronstad, Russell E.; Yitayew, Muluneh (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      With a continued worldwide trend in population shift from rural to urban areas predicted to increase, new approaches to agricultural production must be considered and implemented. Little academic interest has been applied to determining economically viable urban agriculture crop production sites for business investment. A feasibility model to aid investors in selecting appropriate sites for the development of urban agriculture food production within population centers was created. Lettuce crop trials were performed from August 2015 to December 2015 at the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center to validate the productivity of a unique high density hydroponic system designed for the rooftop environment. The feasibility model is based on this system and with a minimal number of inputs, ranging from size of growing space to growing media costs, determines a wide range of useful outputs. These outputs include crop productivity within the facility, material inputs and a cost breakdown of starting a new agricultural venture. The model utilizes multiple sheets within one excel document to give the user a clear and organized financial perspective of a hypothetical growing operation in the main sheet. With this model, investors into urban agriculture will have a means to gain an objective view of financial considerations before substantial investment is completed.