The crops grown in a Sigfox greenhouse
 

Introduction

As the global population grows, bringing food production back to the home can help to alleviate some of the strain that leads to industrial farming, while also providing the user with the freshest produce. In addition, with the rise of the gig economy an increasing number of people have to manage an unstable income. An initial investment in something like a smart greenhouse could lead to more stability down the line, as individuals near food independence.

“There are some environmental issues regarding centralized food production, about the CO2 pollution, the water consumption of the agriculture and the impact of the extensive agriculture on the soil,” said Mickaël Gandecki, one of the creators of the myfood smart greenhouses. “So we just realized that something more decentralized and locally produced can make a lot of sense today.”

The Challenge

• Make home farming easier and reduce maintenance
• Create a smart greenhouse that can be used in both urban and rural areas — even those with poor cellular reception
• Create a system that doesn’t need to be attached to a power source

The Solution

The myfood smart greenhouses use aquaponics and self-fertilizing permaculture beds alongside an open-source monitoring system, which uses Raspberry Pi, Win10 IOT, Atlas Scientific sensors and Sigfox, to help simplify maintenance and monitoring.

The myfood team wanted to make the process of growing your own food as easy as possible, which is why they integrated the monitoring system and used farming techniques that involve self-contained ecosystems. The greenhouses can also be self-powered thanks to semi-transparent solar panels.

Within a year, the team had installed 20 greenhouses through their Pioneer Citizen program. They used the information and feedback from these locations to make constant improvements to the system, and users are now reporting an average daily harvest of 1-1.5kg. Currently they have about 30 greenhouses across several countries — all of which have been installed personally by the myfood team — with more being added regularly

Myfood currently has three models: a small unit for balcony and rooftop use, the family 14 (14 m2), family 22 (22m2). Gandecki said they also plan to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into the system to optimize the greenhouse management.

The inside of a smart IoT greenhouse, connected by Sigfox

Why Sigfox?

Low Power

Sigfox connectivity is energy efficient, which allows the connected chicken coop to send information over the network without draining its solar-power reserves.

Global Ecosystem

Using Sigfox means the greenhouse doesn’t have to be close enough to the house to pick up your WiFi signal, and can still get your data, even in rural areas with poor cellular coverage. Sigfox is also available in 31 countries (as of March 2017), which allows myfood to work across borders to promote this type of sustainable food production. By 2018, Sigfox expects to have networks in 60 countries.

Affordable

Sigfox is an affordable way to send data from simple IoT devices to the cloud. This helps to keep down the ongoing costs of operating the smart greenhouse.

Benefits

The myfood smart greenhouses allow users to more effectively manage their garden, which means less maintenance. Multiple size options, including those for balconies and rooftops, mean users can grow fresh produce in all types of conditions throughout the year.

For more information about myfood or the Pioneer Citizen program, visit www.myfood.eu.

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