Vertical farming is on the rise. As reported food shortages continue to fall short of meeting global nutritional needs, land becomes more scarce, and increasing labor shortages, traditional farming methods must innovate to find solutions. Vertical farming companies can help increase crop yields, overcome limited land area, and reduce the environmental footprint of land farming.
The burgeoning industry is supported by leading venture capitalists, most famously seen in Softbank’s $200 million Series B investment in vertical farming startup Plenty. These 5 vertical farming companies are revolutionizing the modern way of farming.
This New Jersey based startup has developed an aeroponic growing system that can grow without soil or sun, in any location. Aerofarms has proven to use 95% less water, 390 times more land efficient, 30 crops per season, and even the produce flavor is better. Each plant is monitored on more than 130,000 data points that is reviewed and tested using predictive analytics to improve their growing systems. With remote monitoring and controls in place, they have minimized the typical risks associated with traditional agriculture.
Iron Ox is the first vertical farm to be run (almost) entirely by robots. The company has developed two robotic systems: one wheeled robot moves pallets of seeds around the warehouse and a robotic arm picks up individual plants and moves them from each pallet. Their hydroponic growing system uses 90% less water over traditional farming while growing 30 times the amount of crops per acre of land.
Babylon Micro-farms provides an on-demand indoor farming service to make sustainable indoor farming more accessible than ever before. Their farms grow fresh produce 2x faster using 90% less water than conventional agriculture, without the use of pesticides or harmful chemicals. Their business model drastically reduces the upfront costs and expertise associated with indoor agriculture, powered by a patented IoT platform that remotely operates the ecosystem of farms.
Smallhold provides retailers and restaurants with contained-environment vertical farm units that produce large amounts of mushrooms, herbs, and leafy greens with minimal labor. Their current product offering is with on-site mushroom production and can produce up to 120 lbs / week in the space of a bookcase. The mushrooms are certified organic and are competitive with conventional ways of growing.
BrightFarms grows local produce nationwide by financing, building, and operating greenhouse farms in metropolitan areas. They partner with nearby grocery store chains, enabling the company to quickly and efficiently eliminate time, distance, and costs from the traditional food supply chain. BrightFarms’ greenhouses consist of a hydroponic system utilizing a combination of natural and artificial light to grow its produce. It’s distinct advantage is the short distance the produce has to travel to arrive in stores, resulting in sustainable energy savings and cost reductions. Its operations use 80% less water, 90% less land, and 95% less shipping fuel than traditional land farmers.
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