Arizona company using new technology to help solve water crisis, address world hunger

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Sam and John Bertram want to change the world, and they’re off to a good start. Their tech company OnePointOne is looking to revolutionize global food production by creating a new way to grow fruits and vegetables.

“I want to channel whatever power I have towards improving humanity,” said Sam Bertram. “The best way to do that is identify the number one problem on planet earth, and the number one problem is poor nutrition. Our goal is to develop a system that grows the highest quality plants in the world and to sell these systems worldwide for any crop, any market, any geography.”

Arizona’s Family was invited into their Avondale warehouse for an inside look at what they do. The warehouse includes an elaborate plant production system that uses vertical farming and automation to grow high-quality plants without any sun, soil, or pesticides, and uses minimal water. At a time when Arizona and other parts of the world are facing severe drought, the system allows food to grow using 99% less water than a traditional farm.

“We don’t lose the water we irrigate the plants with,” said Sam Bertram. “Outside when you water the plants, all the water goes up into the atmosphere, or down into a water table, or runs off into rivers. For us, all the water not absorbed by the roots gets recirculated around and around and around. We just don’t lose that water.”

Some of the other advantages include the following:

  • The plants grow twice as fast as those on a farm.
  • The average shelf life of the food is 3 times longer.
  • The plants can be grown anywhere in the world all year round.
  • The company can grow 250 times more plants per acre in the warehouse than in a field.

Right now, the company is only growing leafy greens, herbs, and micro-greens, but plans are underway to start growing strawberries. According to Bertram, each crop they grow takes a long time to develop. The Bertrams believe that what their doing is similar to the electric car industry, an industry that everyone knows is more efficient and better for the environment but takes years to expand and grow and become economically viable.

The thought of putting vertical farming warehouses in countries around the world is what keeps the Bertrams going. “Whether it takes me, us, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years to affect a billion people’s lives, that’s the goal,” said Sam Bertram.

OnePointOne does offer its vegetables for sale to the public through its other company Willo. For more details visit