FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


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Here are answers to some of the most common questions asked of ACTS Freedom Farms™ of America:

How close is the nearest Veteran Medical facility to a master-planned agricultural environment?
Where possible, ACTS intends to place the masterplanned agricultural environment within no more than an hour drive from a Veteran’s hospital or treatment center.
What is the minimum level of mobility/fitness/physical capability needed to make a success of an agricultural employment opportunity?
ACTS Freedom Farms offers an inclusive workplace and invests in assistive technology, apps and online tools so that employees will be able to carry out their job responsibilities without impediments.
What is the expected range of income for an Agricultural Specialist?
As you would expect, earnings capabilities are typically based on skill level, experience and education. ACTS Freedom Farms operates several different types of master-planned agricultural environments which offer varied employment opportunities. Our compensation and benefit packages are competitive to meet or exceed industry trends for each region of the country for both full and part-time positions.
What additional income opportunities are envisioned for veterans and their family members in a live-work master-planned agricultural environment?
Each ACTS Freedom Complex associated with a master-planned agricultural environment will have positions available for employment, as well as volunteer opportunities. The AG Core will hire workers for various positions part and full time.
What level of farming background/experience/is required of veterans to participate?
Absolutely none! Everything we do at ACTS Freedom Farms of America is “on the job training”. Some experts are employed by the AG Core, or provided by university/college alliance partners. Trade school programs are integrated into the learning process to create a state of the art learning environment. Additional educational courses will be made available through our strategic partners at no cost to Agricultural Specialist or ACTS Freedom Farms of America business owners.
How can I learn more about Controlled Environment Agriculture and specifically hydroponics?
Google and become immersed in it! ACTS Freedom Farms of America will constantly monitor the industry and test all systems and processes directly with the inventors. ACTS Freedom Farms of America will be the first such program that will allow for different processes to be studied and documented side by side in an R&D setting. The best of practices will quickly emerge.

OUR COMPANY


When was PRODUCE ON DEMAND (POD TM) founded?
Produce On Demand was founded in 2017 by R. Michael Buehler (CEO).
What does your company do?
POD is a grower of fresh, healthy, great tasting produce using advanced growing technology and automation. We offer joint venture partnerships to individuals looking to become the next generation of Agricultural Specialists – no matter their background or geography.
Where are you located?
Our offices are headquartered in Orange County, California.

OUR PRODUCT


What is a POD?
The POD is a pre-engineered and assembled temporary or permanent turn-key hydroponic growing facility. The size of a POD is 48’ x 48’ x 11’ or a total of 2,162 sq ft. The growing area is 1,922 sq ft and 240 sq ft is reserved for processing. To accommodate the size of the POD, a 3,000 sq ft flat area is needed for placement.
Where can a POD be located?
Anywhere in the world! The POD uses soilless agricultural growing methods and advanced environmental controls which comprise a turn-key agricultural system able to deliver consistent, nutritious, flavorful harvest yields regardless of the geographic area or climate.

COST


How much capital is required to become a joint venture partner in a turn-key POD?
Start-up capital requirements are $300,000 cash or line of credit. Additionally, the ability to sign for a 7-year lease option in the amount of $800,000 for the POD, all growing systems and equipment.
What are the annual operation costs for a POD?
Annual projected revenue of a POD is $860,000. Estimated annual operational costs are $385,000. A 5-year projected Income Statement is created for each market which provides a detailed breakdown of revenue and expense projections.
Is financing available?
Yes. Financing is available for 100% of the POD which includes all systems and equipment, as well as the $300,000 start-up capital requirement based on credit worthiness. Financing may be secured through outside sources and/or with the use of 3rd party personal guarantees. Click here to learn all about it.

ENERGY USE


What type of energy is used to operate the POD?
A standard single-phase 110/220 volt 60 amp connection. As for the water, no hard-plumbing is necessary — just access to potable water.
How much electricity does the POD use?
The POD consumes on average 300-400 kWh of energy per day, or around 150,000 kWh annually. Electricity consumption can vary based on the climate that the POD is operating in.
What happens in the event of a power outage?
The POD is equipped with a backup generator for operations located in regions that frequently experience power outages.
Does the POD operate using solar power?
Every POD is equipped with solar panels which is adequate to operate the growing environment at full capacity. Based on the amount of sunlight available within the geographical region solar configuration may vary.
Do the crops get sunlight?
The POD provides high-efficiency LED lighting with deep red and blue hues that manufacture artificial sunlight. The lights automatically cycle on and off to simulate periods of day and night for the plants. Both the spectrum of light and day/night periods are optimized for healthy and vigorous plant growth.
What power requirements are needed for POD operations?
Solar Electric Supply Panel (SES panel) is a 208 Volt 400-amp (may vary based on equiptment selection for the location) and is the main power source.

LED grow light power requirement is 7.6 watts per sf. at 200V or 88 amps per POD. Add amps for code compliance and the system requirements increase to 120-amps. Additionally, a 20-amp circuit is needed to operate water pumps (sump, fertigation, etc) which includes a 10-amp 1000GPH - assumed phased watering schedule. Air conditioning and heat is estimated at 40-amps (for 5 tons of redundancy requirements for air circulation and general operations which may vary based on location). It is recommended to have access to the electrical grid in the event that additional power is required and/or due to weather issues that affect the PODs solar generating capabilities.

CROP VARIETIES AND YIELDS


What can be grown in the POD?
PODs can grow a variety of leafy greens, micro-greens and other high-value crops including: herbs (mint, basil, oregano); lettuces (bibb, romaine, arugula); brassica (cabbage, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, kale), cherry tomatoes and more!
What is the crop yield of a POD and how does it compare to traditional farming?
When operational, the POD is capable of producing yields at commercial-scale in any climate 365 days a year. Growing hydroponically and vertically inside a POD maximizes space for growing. Depending upon the crop variety, 5-10 growing cycles can be expected annually. Crops are consistent in size, shape and flavor.
Can the PODproduce be certified organic?
All PODs are suitable for organic certification. Without organic certification, POD crops are Non-GMO, herbicide and pesticide free, and are not harmful to soil structures since we’re a hydroponic closed environment system.

OPERATIONS


How much time does it take to put a POD into operation?
A turn-key POD will be delivered with all growing and monitoring systems and equipment within 60 days of contract execution. Once the POD is delivered, complete set-up will take another 30 days. Planting will start around day 90. Most crop varieties will be ready for harvest in 30-45 days and made ready for market. Allow another 60 days (max) for collection of payment on crop sold.
What type of training is involved?
To ensure the success of each of our POD operations, we offer online courses, classroom sessions, and in-POD mentoring which cover all operations of the POD, systems management, business planning, marketing and distribution. Since we are committed to use the latest in high-tech agricultural practices, on-going education and training will be made available as appropriate.
Where are POD crops sold?
We work with local food distributors, wholesalers, restaurants, food co-ops or markets within a 250 mile radius.
How much labor is required to operate a POD?
Depending on the crop varieties, seeding, transplanting and harvesting routines, it is estimated that a team of 2-3 full-time and 2-3 part-time workers will be needed to successfully operate a POD.
What is the ROI in a POD Joint Venture Partnership?
While we wish there was a magic formula for this, honestly there are too many variables that prevent us from making a blanket statement on this. Our sales team will work with you on an individual basis to determine your unique opportunity. However, generally speaking, positive cash flow in month 7 of the first year.
I’m sold. How can I become a Joint Venture Partner of a POD?
Excellent. To begin the process, fill out the Questionnaire!

go to Questionnaire

PRODUCE DELIVERY


What size or type of trucks are needed to offer produce deliveries?
Options should focus on refrigerated trucks and sprinter vans. There is an excellent after market for these trucks that have come off of lease or are simply for sale. One preference is to lease a new truck and expand the fleet (likely with a smaller sprinter van) as needed. This will depend on your client mix (retail grocers, farmers markets, restaurants, DoD bases, Universities) and delivery preferences.

IRRIGATION


What type of irrigation system is used in a POD?
A recommended watering schedule is 2 hours on and 2 hours off utilizing 2 fertigation systems per POD. If watering is done in half for phasing, 1,020GPH is used.

Irrigation storage space for water is required since it will take time for the irrigation water to flow to the sump and get pumped back to the Ozone system for recycling into the fertigation system. It is recommended that two 330-gallon IBC totes (steel cage water tanks) are used for water storage. Using Manning's Flow calculations and taking into consideration that pipes will be filled half-way, to be conservative and to ensure that there is enough irrigation water on hand, the amount of irrigation water is doubled. An additional 10% water storage will take into account Ozone tanks and other equipment reaching approximately 720 gallons total.

WATER USE


What is the average amount of water used in a POD?
There are several factors that determine the amount of water a POD uses such as plant variety. We estimate 1,600 gallons per day usage on average per POD. A standard residential volume of 6 to12 gallons per minute provides 8,000 to 16,000 gallons per day which is adequate to operate a POD.

Plant use (2% of pumped irrigation or 80GPH @ 10 hours per day (2 hours on 2 hours off) or 800G per day, which doubles for washing grow towers etc. to reach a total of 1,600G per day. The irrigation system circulates 1,020 GPH per POD; (2 to 2.5 GPH per tower for 1,600 towers with 2% system use/loss = 4,080 GPH/2 = 2,040 GPH per POD) should all towers be watered at the same time.

WATER WASTE


How is waste water handled?
Waste water is kept to an absolute minimum by recycling, restoring and recharging used water. Additionally, the water source, how it is purified and how it is used in POD operations based on the produce being grown are all factors that will determine if there is any waste water. To accommodate any waste water, an auxiliary tank of 2,000 – 5,000 gallons may be used to store the grey water for backup systems or use in fire protection or any other appropriate purpose. It is recommended that the storage tanks have circulating systems with a bubbling Ozone before sending it to the water system in the POD. This will allow for water that may be softened with potassium for better cleaning and irrigation water that will be further purified.

The Ozone has a flocculating (process by which fine particulates are caused to clump together into a floc) effect on the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) so they will be picked up by a water filter. Ozone will also help eliminate any bacteria, iron, calcium etc. The POD features another smaller Ozone system to recycle the irrigation water and between the 2 systems TDS and pathogens are eliminated and avoid regular flushing along with back flushing since the TDS can be taken out with a change in filters.

In the event that there is any waste water that is considered contaminated, it will be removed on a periodic basis by a certified waste water removal company. This same process will be used to deal with any black water generated on the POD site.
What is the volume of disposable or “sewer” water when the system is flushed?
Currently the waste water system used in the POD is primarily Ozone. However, there is an option to add a Reverse Osmosis (RO) system to remove enough Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) buildup to avoid flushing if filtering the Ozonated water is not enough. If the system is flushed 1,440 gallons of irrigation water are affected. If water softeners and RO is used, additional waste streams will be created. Please note that waste water for worker sanitation or toilets are not included in waste water handling.

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