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Tag: sustainability

Q&A with Planet Farms Founders Travaglini and Benatoff

Focus On Flavor, Sustainability & Automation

Last month, Italy’s Planet Farms officially opened its new farm in Cavenago, just outside Milan.  Described as the largest and most advanced vertical farm in Europe, the operation is the brainchild of Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Luca Travaglini and Daniele Benatoff.

Friends since childhood, Travaglini and Benatoff’s company emerged from the duo’s shared passion to break through traditional agriculture, and is grounded in their Italian roots and focused on food quality and flavor.  Indoor Ag-Con had the chance to learn more about their vision, goals and plans for the future in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Congratulations on the recent opening of your new farm in Cavenago.   What makes your new facility different and unique from others?

Our union of world-class technology and the best of Italian agricultural tradition offers a concrete, scalable answer to the need for agronomic products that are healthy, high quality, low environmental impact, available all year round, and affordable for everyone. With its fully integrated supply chain, a seed comes in and a finished product goes out. We offer a virtuous system of food production that ensures food safety and protects against sudden climatic shocks that could compromise regular food supply and product quality.Planet Farms Opens Newest Farm in October 2021

Where some farms focus on the highest yield at the lowest cost, Planet Farms puts emphasis on flavor first. Can you share more around that philosophy and how you’re working with chefs to help promote your product?

We are proud of our partnership with the Cerea brothers, owners of the 3 Michelin® Star restaurant Da Vittorio, in Brusaporto, near Bergamo. The collaboration started in 2020 during the pandemic, when we donated our products to the Bergamo hospital’s canteen which was managed by the Cerea brothers. They got to try our produce then and were so impressed by its authentic and fresh flavor that the idea of a partnership took form. That road led us to the construction of a Vertical Farm in Brusaporto to supply fresh products directly to the starred restaurant. We became two partners united by a common vision: bringing unique flavor and quality in everything we do. These are just some of the ingredients of this unique gastronomic experience that has developed into a true friendship between our organizations.

Sustainability is a key part of your mission – can you share some of Planet Farms sustainable practices and initiatives ?

Sustainability is the point of departure and the very essence of Planet Farms across every dimension: environmental, social, and economic.   We designed our supply chain system to be life-giving and cyclical, to maximize the abundance of harvests while minimizing energy consumption and waste of any kind. In Planet Farms’ facilities, the water and minerals not absorbed by crops are reintegrated and recirculated into the system reducing water consumption by over 95% compared to traditional farming and production processes. Multi-level farming saves more than 90% of the soil promoting biodiversity, local ecosystems and topsoil restoration. Beyond cultivating produce that respects the environment and human health, Planet Farms is among the first in ready-to-eat salads to use FSC® paper packaging, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for sustainably sourced, recyclable materials.Planet Farms Focuses on Flavor

 

In 2019, together with our partners Signify, 255 and Sirti, we took part in the LIFE Program, the European Union’s key tool to support sustainable businesses protecting nature and the environment.

We presented our innovative production system and explained how it allows us to save an enormous amount of water. This and many other cutting edge aspects of our company led to our selection among many other major projects. This award meant that we received funding to achieve our ambitious sustainability goals through our Vertical Farm in Cavenago near Milan.

Life Project Planet Farms

Tell us about what you are growing currently and if you have plans to add new crops or varieties.

Our crops grow naturally, thanks to light, water, air and minerals, but without exposure to stress caused by bad weather, excessive heat, parasites, pathogenic micro-organisms or competition with weeds. We currently have four different products; a baby blond lettuce called Lattugood and three different mixes called: Oriental Yummix, Spicy Yummix and Delicate Yummix. Our range is constantly expanding so stay tuned for more exciting launches!Planet Farms Crops

Can you tell us a little about your AI system, Gaia VF

“Gaia VF” is a system for monitoring vegetable growth that generates a constant data flow for analysis, permitting the development of an increasingly ideal environment around the crops and improving production with each cycle. It is at the core of everything we do and analyses and optimizes every step in our automated process.Planet Farms Automation Focus

What’s next for Planet Farms?- 

There are a lot of activities in the pipeline. With the huge amount of requests for our products we have to expand across Italy, so in the coming year we will build a facility twice the size of Cavenago. That same design will be used for the expansion across Europe in 2022. Next to that we are already trialing new crops to be added to the portfolio in the near future; these range from new mixes and specialty leaves to fruiting crops. We are expanding our research facilities as well, so we will also make our way into the B2B segment, growing crops for ingredients, compounds and raw material optimization.

This is just the start for us, we want the world to experience the differentiation our product range brings to the table!

To learn more about Planet Farms, visit www.planetfarms.ag or email info@planetfarms.ag

Argus Controls | Sustaining Cannabis Production With Fertigation

Article Sourced From Greenhouse Grower magazine.

By Alex Fermon, Product Marketing Manager with Argus Controls, a founding member of the Sustainable Cannabis Coalition.

The United Nations estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed countries. With roughly 70% of the freshwater around the world being used for agriculture — a number that could climb to 90% in developing countries by 2030 — the need for efficient water management and sustainable irrigation is at a critical point.Argus Controls At Indoor Ag-Con 2022

Sustainable irrigation is defined as, “the rational practice of all activities related with the irrigation of plants, whether in the areas of horticulture, landscape, and ornamentals so that it helps to satisfy the respective survival and welfare needs of the present without compromising those of future generations.”

It considers the impacts of manufacturing and transportation of required equipment and materials, as well as incurred discharges and waste impacts.[1] For traditional horticulture and commercial agriculture, irrigation is a necessary process for plant growth and, although it can be done manually, automating this process could bring several benefits to growers.

Improving irrigation efficiency can contribute greatly to reducing production costs, making the industry more competitive and ultimately sustainable. Through proper irrigation, average yields can be maintained (or increased) while minimizing environmental impacts caused by excess applied water and subsequent agrichemical leaching.[2]

Fertigation as a Bridge to Sustainability

Fertigation is the process of delivering nutrients and water to a plant through automated irrigation. The goal is to not only produce a crop with higher yields, but to also run a more streamlined and sustainable operation. An automated system eliminates the need for constant monitoring and watering of plants and therefore will reduce overall workforce demands. Automation will also allow for consistency in quality that hand-watering cannot.

There are two common methods of delivering fertilizers through an irrigation system for sustainable production: dilute tank control and in-line injection.

Whether you select dilute tank feeding or an in-line injection system, there is a range of options for automating the nutrient dosing process. While automated dosing systems offer many management, productivity, and sustainability features (including reduced fertilizer and water runoff and better crop quality), they tend to be more complex and cost-prohibitive.

Consider a dilute tank control system when:

  • The whole crop can be administered with a single feed solution.
  • The dilute feed composition and strength (EC) do not change often.
  • The pH of water does not need frequent adjustment.

Consider an in-line injection system when:

  • Irrigation scheduling and nutrient dosing are integrated.
  • Supplying more than one nutrient formulation on the same irrigation system (different crop requirements).
  • The ability is needed to vary the feeding strength (EC) without having to prepare new stock solutions.

Some automated environmental control systems only manage the nutrient dosing equipment, while other horticulture nutrient systems can integrate irrigation scheduling with nutrient dosing activities. An automated fertigation system can be integrated with the facility’s environmental control system where it can be monitored and managed from a centralized user interface along with all other controlled processes within the grow operation.

Fertigation equipment and systems vary with each application and should be capable of adapting to the design and operation of the overall facility. This may include controls and monitoring for:

  • Tank levels
  • EC
  • pH
  • Acid/base dosing equipment
  • Water temperature
  • Soil moisture levels
  • Leaching rates (over drain)
  • Nutrient dosing equipment
  • Pump controls
  • Irrigation zone valves
  • Line purging
  • Recirculation management
  • Water treatment equipment (filters, pasteurizers, ozone, UV, etc.)

There are several factors to consider when planning, designing, and automating an irrigation or fertigation solution in a horticultural facility. Planning for sustainability will result in more efficient use of available resources allowing for long-term viability and success.

As the horticulture industry continues to evolve, so do sustainability solutions like greenhouse automation systems. The future of irrigation controls promises more intricate, intuitive systems with advanced sensors to support more sustainable practices.

REFERENCES:

[1] What we understand for sustainable irrigation. “Asociacion del Riego Sostenible”. Available at: http://www.riego.org/asociacion-riego-sostenible/la-asociacion/sustainable-irrigation-definition/ (Accessed: 29 January 2021).

 

[1] Munoz-Carpena, Dukes (2018) Automatic Irrigation Based on Soil Moisture for Vegetable Crops. University of Florida. Available at: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ae354 (Accessed: 21 January 2021).

 

Neff, Jeff, “Automated Irrigation Techniques”. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwWU9BxVJZ0/ (Accessed: 29 January 2021)

Going Mainstream | Q & A With Babylon Micro-Farms CEO Alexander Olesen

Alexander Olesen - Babylon Co-FounderCEOFrom the beginning, Babylon Micro-Farms CEO Alexander Olesen has sought to make vertical farming accessible to mainstream markets. Combining subscription services with advanced technology and innovative equipment, the Babylon Micro-Farms “all-in-one” farming experience does just that for a growing customer base, including universities, hospitals, restaurants, resorts, senior care facilities and more.

We had the chance to catch up with Alexander to learn more about his innovative company and exciting plans for the future in this month’s CEO Q &A.

Can you share a little about how and why you got started, including the story behind the name of your company?

We started out exploring applications for small scale hydroponic systems in refugee camps while studying at the University of Virginia. Through that process, we built prototype systems capable of feeding a family and observed that the user experience was complicated and commercially available automation was prohibitively expensive, which represented a fundamental constraint for the adoption of small scale vertical farms.

We founded the company to miniaturize the semi-automation found in commercial-scale farms, at a fraction of the cost and designed it to be controlled via the cloud to allow for aggregated data collection.Today we’ve built and deployed that underlying technology on our fleet of distributed Micro-Farms in North America. We’re just getting started in our journey to apply our underlying technology to different vertical farming systems and in doing so expand the market for sustainable indoor farming.

We decided to call the company Babylon to pay homage to the hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the first known aquaculture systems and one of the ancient wonders of the world.

Congrats on securing $4 million in grant and investment funding earlier this year. Tell us what this means for your Babylon IQ software program and expansion plans.

Babylon Micro-Garms Data MiningWe’re accelerating the commercialization of indoor farming service with hundreds of Micro-Farms being installed in foodservice operations across North America. We’re confident in our technology’s ability to deliver an unparalleled growing experience and it’s exciting to see the data coming in from our growing base of happy customers.

What do you hope to achieve with the partnership you’ve entered into with collegiate food service company, Harvest Table Culinary Group.

Cafeteria Babylon Mico-Farm

We’ve built a tremendous partnership with Harvest Table Culinary Group and they’re one of the most innovative culinary teams in the US. They’re pioneering a new level of responsible, local food sourcing at college campuses across the country and we’re proud to support them in their efforts to inspire a new generation of healthy consumers.

You’re also working with senior communities and hospitals. What advantages and goals do you have for these sectors and are there other markets you’re looking at?

There are organizations of all different types that are demanding their foodservice operations source higher-quality ingredients and reduce their environmental footprint. The technology we’ve developed and the service we’ve built on top of it enables these organizations to literally source food on-site, all year round, without any of the headaches associated with outdoor farming.

It’s a new way of doing things and it’s amazing to see hospital patients, senior citizens, students, and many other groups adopting Micro-Farms as a means of sourcing the highest quality produce and growing it right in front of the end consumer. The benefit of our remote management platform and our growing customer base is that the data is flowing back to us in abundance.

We’re gaining a very granular understanding of how our customers operate, what they consume, and, critically, how we can help to have a better experience. These insights are driving our success in the institutional foodservice space and they’ll allow us to expand into adjacent markets in the near future.

Where do you see your company 5 or 10 years from now – what’s your ultimate goal?

Bablylon Micro-Farms PlatformOur goal has always been to make vertical farming accessible to mainstream markets. We’re proving that it’s commercially viable with our foodservice partners and simultaneously we’re seeing the rapid expansion of the local food movement that’s driving a ton of innovations in the CEA space.

We’ve developed our technology and service specifically for small scale on-site vertical farms and we’re now pioneering an “intel inside” model to enable new vertical farming systems to be successful.

In 5 to 10 years we are going to see a plethora of on-site systems for different markets and crop types and we hope they’ll all be powered by BabylonIQ.

To learn more about Babylon Micro-Farms:

P: 877.589.2884
W: www.babylonmicrofarms.com
E: info@babylonmicrofarms.com

Babylon Micro-Farms Video Resources

 

Re-Envisioning Urban Farming With Direct To Consumer Urban Hubs

Q & A With Brick Street Farms CEO Shannon O’Malley

is excited to welcome Brick Street Farms CEO Shannon O’Malley to our speaker roster for the October 4-5, 2021 edition at the Hilton Orlando. Based in St. Petersburg, FL, O’Malley and her growing company are on a mission to “ignite a sustainable farm revolution by dramatically reshaping the global population’s ability to access clean, healthy food.” We caught up with Shannon to learn more about the multi-million investment Florida agribusiness leader Lykes Bros. has recently made in Brick Street Farms; her company’s THRIVE Containers division, and its non-profit Desert Farms Foundation.

Read our Q&A  here AND learn more next month in Orlando as Shannon joins our “Women in Ag” panel discussion

Congratulations on the recent news that Lykes Bros. Inc has made a significant investment in Brick Street Farms! What does this mean for your company and how does it play into your mission.

Brick Street Farms could not be more thrilled about the investment from Lykes Bros. Inc. We both inherently believe that within the agriculture space there is room for traditional farming models and urban community models. With our Lykes Bros.Inc. investment, Brick Street Farms will be bringing the first large-scale direct to consumer urban community model to the forefront: Brick Street Farms Urban Hubs.

Brick Street Farms Urban Farm Hubs

With this model, we have the privilege of contributing to the local economy by empowering and investing in our urban communities in as many ways as possible. We provide nutritional and medicinal food that has not been compromised by traditional agriculture supply chain issues, grown on-site, in one of the most advanced environmentally sustainable arenas in agriculture. With harvest to home in 24 hours, we take pride in leading the way in the evolution of how people connect to their food. We are growing 16-20 acres of farmland in 1/3 acre lots and could not be more excited. Brick Street Farms is defining what urban agriculture is with our urban hubs. These hubs are the truest form of bringing mass food production to the point of consumption. And the best way to sustainably feed more people from urban locations.

From a financial standpoint, this model is scalable, replicable, and sustainable. Below is a graph from the Artemis State of Indoor Farming 2020. We have added the Brick Street Farms direct to consumer model to this graph as shown below:

 Artemis State of Indoor Farming 2020

What was the rationale behind the launch of your THRIVE division and what makes your containers different than others on the market today?

When my husband, Brad, and I started Brick Street Farms, we had no idea how quickly our business would scale. With this scale and both of us having backgrounds in engineering, the obvious next step was to design and manufacture our own containers. As we thought through the designs, there were key areas that we knew needed improvements. Our main objective was, and still is, to build containers for growers, by growers. The maximization of plant sites was important, so we added a sixth row of channels and turned other excess space into plant sites. We significantly reduced the amount of components in the container that require maintenance.

Brick Street Farms Container

Our THRIVE Containers provide a one pump, one reservoir, one dosing station system for the complete grow cycle. Improving water sanitation through the use of nanobubble technology was a no brainer because it cleanses the water and eliminates toxins so we don’t have to use chemicals for cleansing. Those are just some of the ways our THRIVE Containers are different from those on the market today.

Tell us about the Brick Street Farms membership model and how it plays into both your business growth plan as well as the support of your overall mission.

We knew fairly early on that the only financially successful and sustainable model in this space is a direct to consumer model. That’s why we had to design the best in class containers in order to build the first of its kind direct to consumer Brick Street Farms urban hubs. Our membership program is similar to a gym with both individual memberships and corporate level memberships. This provides a recurring stream of revenue and is not a CSA model. Our customers are very community driven, hyper-local and support advanced environmental sustainability. Introducing the membership model was just a perfect way for them to connect with us and for us to connect with them and it supports the part of our mission which focuses on being good to our community and planet Earth.

Can you tell us about your non-profit Desert Farms Foundation – why you started it and what you hope to accomplish through it?

Desert Farms FoundationDesert Farms FoundationBringing our Desert Farms Foundation to life has been such a neat experience. The foundation is really growing faster than we expected. We don’t even have the Desert Farms Foundation website live yet, however, we have received a great kick-start to our operations budget and are already delivering to three major non-profit food organizations. It’s really important to recognize that we are a start-up and to be able to bring a non-profit to life in such a quick amount of time is super commendable and not easy. We all have so much on our plates and I am so proud that we got this off the ground and I look forward to witnessing the impact this foundation makes by working to provide nutritional wellness for ALL.

Learn more about Shannon and Brick Street Farms by visiting their website here.

CEADs Standards 1.0 Presented At October 2021 Indoor Ag-Con

Indoor Ag-Con is pleased to announce that members of the leadership team for CEADS – Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards – will introduce Standards v1.0 to our attending audience during the October 4-5, 2021 edition at the Hilton Orlando.

The CEADS cultivate industry-vetted best practices into peer-reviewed standards.  These standards enable CEA enterprises to become industry leaders by optimizing their sustainability practices and performance.CEADS Standards At Indoor Ag-Con 2021

Defining Goals for the CEA Industry

Established in September 2019, CEADS evolved following the USDA/NIFA Az-CEA Conference at The University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2. Here,  participants from industry, government, and academia collaborated to define goals for the advancement of the controlled environment agriculture industry.

During Indoor Ag-Con, CEADS leadership team members, including Matt Liotta , Founder Emeritis of Agrify; Charles Parrish, Agricultural Engineer , UbiQD, Inc. and Dr. Gary Stutte, president, SyNRGE,LLC, will present the new standards.

Achieving More Sustainable Operations

CEADS  aim is to provide a centralized repository of best design practices. CEADS also strives to set  benchmarks for sustainable CEA operations from greenhouses to vertical farms.

In addition, CEADS main objective is to establish a practice to more sustainable operation. The CEADS encompass the management of water, energy, materials, byproducts, pests and safety. Based on their operation type, farmers and growers can obtain relevant standards, certifications and regulations in the following domains:CEADS Standards at Indoor Ag-Con 2021

• Utilities
• Materials & Waste
• Crop Quality
• Integrated Pest Management
• Automation & Labor
• Equity & Localness
• Profitability

In addition to Matt Liotta, Charles Parrish and Gary Stutte, other members of the CEADS Leadership Team include:

– Bekah Waller, Secretary (The University of Arizona)
– Weslynne Ashton (Illinois Institute of Technology)
– Jess Bunchek (NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)

CEADS also has a strong Avisory Board including academics, growers, industry suppliers
– Mark Lefsrud (McGill University)
– Simone Valle de Souza (Michigan State University)
– Penny McBride (Second Chances Farm, LLC)
– Tharindu Weeraratne (WayBeyond)
– Charles Wu (Nexem)
– Corinne Wilder (Fluence by OSRAM)
– Brady Nemeth (Fluence by OSRAM)
– Gene Giacomelli (The University of Arizona)
– David Kessler (Agrify)

Make plans now to join us at Indoor Ag-Con to learn more. And, you can also read more about CEADS here and by visiting the website, too.

ZipGrow Expands to New Facility, Inks Deal with Sodexo

Indoor Ag-Con 2021 Exhibitor ZipGrow has expanded its footprint, moving from leased premises to its own building at the corner of Cumberland and Seventh Street in Cornwall, Ontario Canada. The new building more than doubles the amount of space available to the manufacturer of the world’s most installed vertical hydroponic equipment.Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor ZipGrow

“Demand for our products continues to soar,” says Eric Lang, President of ZipGrow. “The new building allows us to be more efficient while at the same time giving us room to grow in the future.”

Growth is on the menu at ZipGrow, with the company launching an innovative partnership with Sodexo to introduce sustainable growing systems to facilities throughout Canada and the United States.

“Having been installed throughout the world over the past decade, our system enables growers, both big and small, to access fresh produce no matter where they are located”, explains Mr. Lang. “We are excited to move ahead with this new partnership with Sodexo. Together we will be able to introduce sustainable food to Sodexo locations throughout North America.”

ZipGrow technology is a patented system that utilizes both hydroponic growing systems and vertical planes to maximize production volume within a small footprint. Primarily growing leafy greens such as lettuce and kale, along with herbs and small fruiting crops such as strawberries, ZipGrow systems will be installed in Sodexo locations including educational institutions, conference facilities, and corporate food service centres.

“This new partnership with ZipGrow not only enables us to reduce our carbon emissions of distance traveled for food source, onsite food waste, and packaging requirements, but also to introduce innovative technology to our facilities and team members”, said Normand St-Gelais, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo Canada.

About ZipGrow

ZipGrow is an international leader in indoor, vertical farming technology. The company’s flagship product, the ZipGrow Tower, is a core component of many of the world’s most innovative farms; from indoor hydroponic warehouses to vertical aquaponic greenhouses and high-density container farms

Story sourced from  from Choosecornwall.ca  

New Sustainability Partnership Launched Between Sodexo and ZipGrow Inc.

ZipGrow and Sodexo Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor NewsOn March 11, 2021  two international industry leaders, Sodexo and ZipGrow Inc., launched a first of its kind partnership to develop more sustainable local food chains throughout North America.

Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, has joined forces with ZipGrow Inc., the manufacturer of the world’s most installed vertical hydroponic equipment. Together they wll develop a unique program to introduce sustainable growing systems to facilities throughout Canada and the United States of America.

Introducing Innovative  Technology

One of Sodexo’s primary goals is to ensure all our operations are industry leading from a sustainability perspective. “This new partnership with ZipGrow Inc. not only enables us to reduce our carbon emissions of distance traveled for food source, onsite food waste, and packaging requirements, but also to introduce innovative technology to our facilities and team members”, said Normand St-Gelais, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo Canada.

ZipGrow Systems To Be Installed At Sodexo Locations

ZipGrow™ technology is a patented system that utilizes both hydroponic growing systems and vertical planes to maximize production volume within a small footprint. Primarily growing leafy greens such as lettuce and kale, along with herbs and small fruiting crops such as strawberries, ZipGrow systems will be installed in Sodexo locations including educational institutions, conference facilities, and corporate food service centres.

“Having been installed throughout the world over the past decade, our system enables growers, both big and small, to access fresh produce no matter where they are located”, explains Eric Lang, President of ZipGrow Inc. “We are excited to move ahead with this new partnership with Sodexo. Together we will be able to introduce sustainable food to Sodexo locations throughout North America.”

“As a Chef, we are always looking for ways to introduce the freshest possible produce to our kitchens”, said Chef Davide Del Brocco, Sustainability Manager, Sodexo Canada. “By having a grow system on site, we can now not only customize our produce to meet our upcoming needs, but we can also now harvest fresh greens and use them that same day.”Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor ZipGrow

“Having like-minded partners like ZipGrow who understand what is important to us and who are aligned with our values and goals is crucial in working together for a Better Tomorrow.” said Andrea Cantin, Corporate Social Responsibility Coordinator, Sodexo Canada. With Sodexo and ZipGrow Inc. both having company values strongly embedded in sustainability, this new partnership will see this innovative agriculture technology being introduced to multiple Sodexo facilities in Canada and the US.

About Sodexo

Sodexo delivers a wide range of customized solutions, designed to optimize work and living environments. The company has been providing food and facilities management services in Canada for over 40 years, with a focus on enhancing safety, work process and well-being. A market leader in Canada, Sodexo has been recognized as a top employer for the past seven consecutive years. Sodexo is proud to have created the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has raised over $3 million to fight hunger and donated more than one million meals to at-risk youth across Canada since 2007. It is included in the CAC 40, FTSE 4 Good and DJSI indices.

Key figures (as November 2020)
420,000 employees
1st in its sector in both the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the 2020 SAM sustainability yearbook
64 countries
100 million consumers served daily

About ZipGrow Inc.

ZipGrow Inc. is an international leader in indoor, vertical farming technology. Our flagship product, the ZipGrow™ Tower, is a core component of many of the world’s most innovative farms; from indoor hydroponic warehouses to vertical aquaponic greenhouses and and high-density container farms. For more information contact hello@zipgrow.com or at 1-855-ZIPGROW.

Urban Fresh Farms Launches New ZipGrow Facility In Dubai


ZipGrow_UrbanFreshFarms_Dubai_2_IndoorAg-ConIndoor Ag-Con
Exhibitor News From ZipGrow:

With more than 80% of food being imported into the UAE, Urban Fresh Farms, Dubai’s newest indoor vertical hydroponic farm from ZipGrow™, is doing its part to contribute to a more sustainable local food system.

A 1,000 square foot ZipGrow™ ZipFarm™ was recently installed in Urban Fresh Farm’s facility in the Industrial center of Dubai. In addition, it will soon be producing pesticide free fresh herbs and leafy greens for the local market. Urban Fresh Farms is a new company, founded by people who always had an interest in sustainable agriculture. But, they thought they did not have the knowledge or financial backing to get into the industry.

Vertical Farming In Dubai

“We, as a group, always found vertical farming really interesting. The team knew there would be a strong demand for it in the Dubai area”, said Scott Naude, co-founder of Urban Fresh Farms. “As a result, we were hesitant to jump in at first.  But, the combination of ZipGrow’s technology and ongoing training, the increasing demand for higher quality and fresh produce, and the Middle East’s booming tech sector all aligned perfectly for us to begin this venture.”

As with the rest of the world, COVID-19’s impact on the local supply chain has also impacted the Dubai area. It has caused food selections to be  limited in local grocery stores during the peak of lockdowns.

“Around the world we are hearing from all our growers that food retailers are actively looking for local food goods to supply,” explains Eric Lang, President of ZipGrow Inc. “We are also hearing from government’s around the world, including in the UAE, who want to actively seek out ways to reduce supply chain lengths to ensure a more consistent and high-quality food stream.”

Hydroponic Growing In the Middle East

Hydroponic growing, as an industry, is still recently new to the Middle East region. The UAE government is a leader in the Middle East region, and in 2018 launched a National Food Security Strategy 2051, led by the Minister of State for Food and Water Security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Al Mheiri. This strategy aims to increase local food production in the UAE.  What’s more, it simultaneously maximizing the use of modern technologies to bring fresh and sustainable food to the region.

“There’s also a demand for healthy eating options. This  has given rise to a number of excellent meal plan services and  all-in-one meal ingredient boxes.  IThis is creating a need for the best, freshest vegetables to be readily available” adds Naude. “We’re planning on starting out growing primarily herbs such as basil, parsley and coriander. We hope to have our first crop available in December.”

Urban Fresh Farm and ZipGrow Inc. plan to use this new facility to showcase this vertical farming technology to the UAE and wider Middle East region. Naude adds; “We’re excited about our ongoing partnership with ZipGrow Inc. There is so much educational content available, as well as a fantastic team. So even for someone like myself who is new to all of this, ZipGrow provides all the tools needed to get growing.”

Look for more Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor News From ZipGrow on this page. And visit  www.ZipGrow.com and www.UrbanFreshFarms.ae for more information. 

ABOUT ZIPGROW

ZipGrow Inc. is an international leader in indoor, vertical farming technology. Our flagship product, the ZipGrow™ Tower, is a core component of many of the world’s most innovative farms; from indoor hydroponic warehouses to vertical aquaponic greenhouses and high-density container farms.