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Record Attendance Growth, New Business Connections Headline 2022 Edition of Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas

82% Increase Over 2021 Representing Attendees From 48 States/Territories, 20+ Countries, Growing Number of C-Suite Execs

(March 4, 2022) –  Just four months after its covid-delayed October 2021 edition in Orlando, the Indoor Ag-Con trade show & conference welcomed the indoor|vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry back for its February 28-March 1, 2022 run at Caesar Forum Las Vegas.  And what a welcome it was.  Marking an 82 percent increase over the Orlando attendance figure, 800 + growers, suppliers, start-ups and other industry members attended from 48 states/territories and more than 20 countries, including a high number of c-suite executives. Bolstering the figure further, nearly 300 attendees from The National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, co-located at Caesars Forum, also visited the show, taking the total attendance figure over 1100.

The Indoor Ag-Con Expo Floor also grew by 60 percent – from 50 booths in 2021 to 80 in 2022 – filled with the latest innovations in irrigation, control systems, lighting, substrates and more. Rounding out the show statistics, the 2022 edition’s educational conference brought together 77 speakers participating in 21 panel discussions and 3 CEO keynote sessions.

“From our sold-out show floor and record-breaking attendance to reports of game-changing connections and new relationships forged, we’ve been humbled by the positive feedback we’re received for our 2022 show from exhibitors and attendees alike,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.  “Our show theme, ‘growing your business,’ truly came to life here in Las Vegas this week. The CEA industry is growing quickly and we are proud to provide the platform for the education, networking and innovations showplace needed to take it to the next level.”

“We are also excited about the untapped networking potential that exists between Indoor Ag-Con and The NGA Show,” adds Nancy Hallberg, owner | partner, Indoor Ag-Con.  “This first co-location was exploratory and gave both show teams the opportunity to start identifying ways we can really bring grocers and growers together. We think the 2 shows offer untapped business growth opportunities for our respective audiences and look forward to delivering on that when we come together again in 2023.”

Among the many highlights of the show included:

Indoor Ag-Con Signify 2022 PartyIndoor Ag-Con | Signify VIP Welcome Party
Signify teamed up with Indoor Ag-Con to tee-up the 2022 edition with a VIP Welcome Party on Sunday evening, February 27 at Topgolf Las Vegas.  Indoor Ag-Con speakers and other industry VIPs came together for an incredible evening of golf, networking, cocktails, food, music and fun with industry friends – compliments of Signify.

CEO Keynote SessionsIndoor Ag-Con BrightFarms 2022
Attendees had the chance to hear from executives from the industry’s top operators.  Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms and Steven Bradley, Vice President of Cox CleanTech, Cox Enterprises, kicked off the conference on Monday morning, February 28.  Later that day Jonathan Webb, CEO, AppHarvest took the stage.  On day two, Matt Ryan, CEO, Soli Organic (formerly Shenandoah Growers) started the day with the morning keynote address.

Indoor Ag-Con Workforce Development 2022Educational Tracks & Expo Floor Theater Panel Discussions
The 2022 edition featured 3 educational tracks – Grower, Business & Technology – that brought industry experts together covering a  wide range of topics from lighting specs and substrates to energy optimization, water technology, fertilizer, workforce development, robotics, automation investing/finance and sensor technology.  In addition, the Expo Floor Theater offered up additional content with sessions on everything from seeds and produce branding to grocer/grower relationship development, why vertical farms succeed and more.

Sold Out Expo Floor
Expanding to 80 booths, this year’s Expo Floor was home to some of the biggest names in CEA as well as up-and-coming suppliers.  From lighting and grow systems to substrates and irrigation, growers were able to see the newest innovations all under one roof.

Networking Opportunities
Daily lunches and an afternoon cocktail reception on the expo floor expanded the show’s networking opportunities.

Looking ahead, Indoor Ag-Con will return to Caesars Forum February 27-28, 2023 and will once again co-locate with The National Grocers Association Show.  

About Indoor Ag-Con
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for indoor | vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture,  the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information is at https://indoor.ag.

Signify Horticulture Team Invites You To Kick Off 2022 Trade Show Season With Indoor Ag-Con

The excitement is building as Signify prepares to gather in Las Vegas for the 2022 Indoor Ag-Con (IAC), the premier trade show and conference encompassing all things related to indoor and vertical farming production. Focused on providing participants with the latest insights of how to optimize a vertical farming operation, the two-day conference is scheduled for February 28th to March 1st at the Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meet Signify at Indoor Ag-Con

Interested to learn how you can get a tailored LED lighting solution for your indoor grow facility? Stop by the Signify booth, #2018, where Philips LED lighting and Philips GrowWise Control System will be on display. Learn and see how Philips dynamic production modules give growers full flexibility and control over their lighting. Our team of experts will be available to discuss and advise how you can grow with more precision and profitability when incorporating Philips LED grow lights into your indoor grow facility.

Conference Spotlight: Controlled Environment Agriculture Lighting – Understanding Specs

Does industry jargon on LED lighting seem confusing to you? Then you won’t want to miss the educational session, Controlled Environment Agriculture Lighting, on Monday, February 28th at 10:00 AM PST. During this session, Blake Lange, Signify Business Development Manager for city farming, will be joined by a panel of industry leaders to discuss how to properly understand specs in lighting and what performance metrics to look for when you are ready to transition to LED lighting.

“I’m excited to be part of this educational session. There are several terms and performance metrics that can make the search for new lighting confusing and overwhelming. Participants are sure to find this session a great way to kick off their Indoor Ag-Con experience. Not only will it help them to navigate in a wide array of options from different lighting manufacturers, but it will also empower them to feel confident in their purchasing decisions for vertical farming grow lights,” says Lange.

Visit the Indoor Ag-Con website to register for the conference.

XtremeLUX and Triple Ring Technologies Announce Collaborative Solution to the Biggest Problems Hampering Indoor Ag

Advanced spectrally-controlled lighting and biotech will combine to push indoor agriculture past the goal of economic sustainability.

 

XtremeLUX, a designer and supplier of advanced lighting systems for indoor farming, and Triple Ring Technologies, a co-development firm that helps innovators and entrepreneurs develop science-based technologies for a broad range of markets, will introduce at the Indoor Ag-Con Conference on Feb 28 in Las Vegas, an advanced solution for optimizing energy usage and for helping growers to creatively solve their biggest biotechnical problems. The heart of the technology is the customization of spectral inputs to the particular species and lifecycle stage of the plant; dramatically reducing energy usage, improving yield and quality, and enabling industry-sustaining economic benefits. Extreme spectrum control and integrated sensors provide extra tools for attacking pathogens, repelling bugs, detecting malnourishment, and solving many other problems.

Silicon Valley-based Triple Ring Technologies, is pleased to support XtremeLUX, including the exhibition of their technology at Indoor Ag-Con. “Triple Ring is excited about the potential for the XtremeLUX system and advanced spectral control to support the scaling of vertical farming,” said Joe Weber, Vice President for Strategic Markets at Triple Ring. “Our experience developing technology and products involving photonics, sensors, and complex systems in a broad range of markets including in the ag tech world have positioned us well to support startups such as XtremeLUX.” he continued.

“XtremeLUX is very thrilled to be exhibiting our fourth generation of products at Indoor Ag-Con this year. As we grow our partnerships in the vertical farming space and advance our product line, we are looking forward to enhancing the role of CEA in global agriculture.” said Chiamin Cheng, CEO of XtremeLUX.

About XtremeLUX

Founded in 2011, XtremeLUX has developed an innovative system of controlled lighting for the vertical farming and cannabis industries.  Based on their adaptive spectrum control capability, their systems have been adopted to great benefit by large-scale leafy green and cannabis growers and by researchers. XtremeLUX’s open lighting control interface is designed to be interoperable with industry-standard communication protocols, including Modbus, MQTT, and USB-to-I2C, for easy integration with previously installed climate control, power management, fertigation, and other systems.

About Triple Ring Technologies

Triple Ring Technologies is a co-development company headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in Boston, Toronto, and Copenhagen. They partner with clients in medtech, life sciences, and sustainability & the environment to create new technologies, launch innovative projects, and start new ventures. Their capabilities span early R&D, product development, manufacturing, regulatory approval, market access, strategic investment, and incubation. For more information, please visit www.tripleringtech.com.

Contact for XtremeLUX:  Chiamin Cheng, chiamin.cheng@xtremelux.com.  Contact for Triple Ring Technologies:  Tracy Li, tli@tripleringtech.com.

Niko Kivioja

Netled CEO Niko Kivioja: 5 Reasons Why Grocers Need Vertical Farming Partners

Walmart recently announced a big bang in the US grocery trade landscape: its investment in vertical farming start-up Plenty. With this, the retail giant is taking a step toward making high-quality, pesticide-free produce more accessible and affordable for the consumer.

What do they know that you don’t? Why should every grocer be scouting for vertical farming partners now and not later?

  1. The salad and fresh herb markets are growing

NetledSize does matter, and the size of the market for salad and leafy greens in the U.S. and Canada is approximately $15 billion and growing. And it will continue to grow with an estimated CAGR of 8.2% from 2021 to 2028.

Similar growth is expected in the spice and herb market where in North America alone, it is projected to grow at a CAGR 7.2% (2020 to 2025).

That is a lot of money available for leafy greens, herbs, and spices if you can guarantee your yield and deliveries.

But therein lies the problem.

  1. Food security

VeraThe COVID pandemic has shown us that the logistics involved in food transportation are extremely susceptible to disruption; perishable products in particular cannot be stored for long before the quality deteriorates to such an extent that they are no longer fit for sale.

The majority of the lettuces sold in North America are grown in California. So, if you buy a packaged lettuce in New York, it has probably already traveled 3000 miles. Any disruptions to this journey along the way only serve to weaken the quality of the product and its availability to the end customer.

In fact, over the past year, packaged leafy greens have been one of the top items missing from grocery shelves due to logistics and transportation challenges.

Vertical farming systems like Netled’s proprietary system Vera can ensure the availability of products due to their proximity to the store. A Vera system requires very little space and is significantly more efficient and reliable than traditional agricultural systems.

Vera systems produce:

  • 5 times more crops per comparable growing area
  • 15 times more per surface area compared to single-level high-efficiency year-round greenhouse growing.
  • 100 times more crops per surface area compared to the yield for a normal single season in open-field agriculture.

Vertical farming systems also remove the risks that other forms of agriculture are susceptible to such as unpredictable weather, disease, and pests.

 

  1. Food safety

The more stages there are in the food processing and distribution, the higher the chance of some form of contamination.

Fewer human contact points, precise control over irrigation, and the growing process result in less risk of contamination.

Every year in North America, 48 million foodborne illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3000 deaths are recorded. (CDC, 2013).

Bacteria and pathogen contamination in the production line almost always originates from the irrigation water used. Further risk of contamination comes from the washing of field-grown or greenhouse products after they are harvested.

Outdoor farming and most of the greenhouses perform triple-wash on the harvested plants in order to mitigate the contamination risk, as a post-harvest process.

Vera vertical farming systems are encapsulated in a precisely controlled environment where there is no contamination from external sources such as pests, fungi, or bacteria.

The Vera system uses 95% less fresh water for irrigation than open-field agriculture and the water it uses is captured from the plant respiration, purified, and fed back into the system ensuring no possibility of external contamination. The plants are not touched by humans during the growing process and therefore do not need to be washed after harvesting.

Harvesting and packaging can even be automated with robotics so that there is no physical contact with the plant at all.

  1. Labor costs

All this automation not only ensures the minimum possible amount of contamination, but it also reduces labor costs.

Vera vertical farming systems are less labor intensive in both the growing and harvesting processes. The extremely high level of automation in irrigation, plant spacing, nutrient delivery, and lighting requires less labor resources. Harvesting and packing can also be automated to a high level with the help of AI and robotics, and if the vertical farm is situated in close proximity to the store, logistic, and transportation costs are also reduced dramatically.

  1. Quality

Awareness and demand for healthy plant-based foods is growing. Salads are a good source of fiber, iron, calcium, potassium plus vitamins A, K, C, and E.

There are many factors that can affect the quality of the end product, not only in the processing stages of production, but also in the growing stage. Open-field growing is particularly susceptible to risk factors: extreme weather events such as torrential rain and drought, nutrient depletion and salination of the soil and the chemical fertilizers used to attempt to redress the balance, water infiltration rates, pesticides, herbicides, and chemical spraying to name a few.

Vertical farming systems operate in a precisely controlled environment where every last detail is planned, monitored, and controlled from seed to retail. There are no rainy days, no hot days, no pests or chemicals – everything is always just right

The Vera system is programmed according to the particular plant and the variables are adjusted so that it can grow to its own genetic maximum. This results in the highest possible quality with guaranteed results no matter what time of year or whatever the weather.

In case you’d like to learn more about your potential future vertical farming partner, come and meet Netled CEO Niko Kivioja and the rest of the team at Indoor AgCon booth 1023!

Niko Kivioja will also join a panel conversation on Direct Controlled Environment Agriculture Farming in Grocery Stores, Hotels & Restaurants on Monday, Feb 28th at 4:00 pm.

 

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT NETLED AND ITS VERA TECHNOLOGY:

W: NETLED.FI

NETLED VIDEO RESOURCES:

Introduction to Vera vertical farm

Netled featured on Advancements TV Series aired on CNBC

Netled CEO Niko Kivioja interview Vertical Farming Podcast

Netled CEO Niko Kivioja interview Crop Talk Podcast  

Matt Ryan Soli Organic

Organic, Sustainable, Affordable, Accessible: Q&A With Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan

Soli OrganicIndoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan has joined our CEO keynote line-up for the February 28-March 1, 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con. During his keynote presentation on March 1, 2022, 8 – 8:50 AM, Matt Ryan will share more about his company’s plans to change the world of organic produce by “Bringing Nature Indoors”™ with its soil-based, certified organic biofarms.

Soli Organic, formerly known as Shenandoah Growers, Inc., is the nation’s only soil-based, controlled environment agriculture company delivering 100% USDA certified organic produce to more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide We checked in with Matt ahead of his keynote to learn more about the company’s latest developments and plans for future growth in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Soli Organic
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Given your proven leadership background in branding /marketing with companies like Starbucks and Walt Disney, how did your outside perspective come into play with the Soli rebranding and what do you hope to accomplish with the new branding?

I’m very grateful for the incredible experiences I’ve had leading up to this point in my career and the lessons I’ve learned at each stop proved to be valuable as we went through our re-branding process in 2021. The new branding is a reflection of Soli Organic’s commitment to growing indoors, in real soil, and we’re aiming to convey to consumers the company’s vision to produce fresh products that are organic, sustainable, affordable and accessible to all.

Soli Organic 3Congratulations on the recent news about the $120 financing arrangement with The Decennial Group.  How does this play into your growth plans?

This is a very exciting time for Soli Organic as we continue on a track of accelerating growth to build on our company’s 30-plus year history of strong financial performance. The arrangement with Decennial – one of the largest of its kind for a controlled environment agriculture company – will help to support that growth, providing financing for three new indoor Biofarm facilities that will enable us to continue to scale the growth of our operations and meet the growing demand for fresh, sustainably-grown, organic produce that is affordable.

 

Soli OrganicSpeaking of news, can you also share a little more about the new partnership between Soli Organic and Rutgers University and how you will be working with its plant breeding experts?

Over the next five years, we’ll be working with the world-leading plant breeding experts at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences to select and advance the next generation of commercial organic, indoor-grown produce. Specifically, we’ll be analyzing the chemistry of new crop lines to optimize flavor, aroma, nutrition and yield traits for indoor cultivation. The partnership is an example of Soli Organic’s deep commitment to a “biology first, technology to scale” philosophy as we work to provide consumers with great-tasting and affordable organic produce.

Soli OrganicWhat’s next for Soli Organic?

Right now, our focus is on executing against current product timelines and continuing on our growth track to enhance our ability to meet the growing demand for fresh products that are organic, sustainable, affordable and accessible to all. To that end, we have plans in place to build eight new high-tech indoor Biofarm facilities, in addition to the seven farms in operation today. We’re very excited about the future at Soli Organic.

To learn more about Soli Organic, visit the website at www.soliorganic.com 

Agnetix and JARS

Jars, Agnetix Partner For Large-Scale Vertical Farm In Arizona

JARS Cannabis has selected Smart Horticulture Lighting technology leader and Indoor Ag-Con 2022 exhibitor, Agnetix, for a new high-tech vertical farming project in Phoenix, Arizona.

Purpose built for Agnetix lighting, this new state-of-the-art facility will feature over 2000 liquidcooled PHENOM luminaires in a high energy density double-tiered configuration.

JARS Director of Cultivation, Ian Haselmire, spoke about why they were drawn to Agnetix: “JARS began this project with a simple goal: build a highly effective vertical cannabis farm. Vertical growing introduces additional design and operational challenges over single-tiered facilities. We selected the new water-cooled Agnetix PHENOM LEDs for their ability to displace heat before it accumulates inside our tiered benches, maintaining a consistent environment without stagnation and microclimates. The dense array of sensors built into the PHENOM platform further enables us to confirm the effectiveness of our HVAC and supporting equipment, highlighting areas of concern for immediate improvement.”

Dr. Ihor Lys, Agnetix co-founder and CTO, explained: “The Agnetix HMI provides a unique three dimensional view of these sensors, clearly showing the conditions, plants and process in real time. JARS found this capability quite compelling. The PHENOM platform provides unparalleled insight for crop steering, facility management and operational improvement.” Ian continued: “In the short term, this capability speeds commissioning. Every facility goes through
a break-in period, and the faster you can identify areas for improvement the faster you drive the projects’ return on investment.”

For more information about the PHENOM vertical farming lighting systems, visit www.agnetix.com or contact sales@agnetix.com.

About JARS:
Founded in 2020, JARS is a vertically integrated multi-state operator committed to providing the best quality cannabis with the widest variety of options at affordable prices. JARS is a progressive cannabis company that provides a welcoming and uplifting environment for its employees and customers. JARS dispensaries offer an abundance of product choices with knowledgeable staff that can provide insight into customers’ medical and lifestyle needs. Our approach to products, design, and community is helping change the conversation about cannabis in a positive way. In a short amount of time, JARS has built a trusted and powerful brand resulting in rapid growth across multiple states. JARS owns and operates eleven retail locations in Michigan and four retail locations in Arizona, with multiple cultivation and extraction sites in Arizona coming online in early 2022. www.jarscannabis.com

About Agnetix:
Agnetix is a technology company on a steep growth trajectory focused on the development of advanced smart horticultural lighting and information technology solutions for commercial indoor and greenhouse growers – both in fresh produce and cannabis markets. The Agnetix Responsive Agriculture™ platform delivers meaningful plant and energy data insights for quick, informed decisions. The Agnetix system includes highly efficient, water-cooled LED lighting,
environmental sensors, AI (Artificial Intelligence) imagers, data, and real-time monitoring solutions. Agnetix helps serious controlled environment agriculture (CEA) growers to significantly improve their crop yield, reduce their operating cost, reduce their carbon footprint, and run a more profitable business. www.Agnetix.com

Agnetix Launches Phenom

AGNETIX LAUNCHES PHENOM LIQUID COOLED MULTI-SENSOR AND IMAGING SMART HORTICULTURE LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR VERTICAL FARMING

Advanced data-focused solutions for indoor cultivation

PHENOM is a trailblazing new vertical grow lighting system with integrated sensor and imaging technologies building on the success of the innovative A3 and ZENITH luminaires. PHENOM integrates plant health sensors and a canopy imaging platform with the patented Agnetix liquid cooled hydronics system. Vertical farms can now increase density, height and energy efficiency by counteracting the environmental impacts caused by micro-climates and fixture waste heat pervasive in commercial grows featuring passively cooled lights.

PHENOM is designed for crops that require a Daily Light Integral (photosynthetic light measurement) for optimum growth ranging from 15-30 DLI, such as lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries, to much higher DLI crops such as cannabis, which requires over 40 DLI. PHENOM may also be used in combination with the Agnetix A3 or ZENITH luminaires from start through vegetative growth and flowering as a full facility cultivation platform operating at the lowest carbon footprint of any grower in the same class.

The industry benchmark efficiency of the Agnetix system can now deliver close-proximity 100% PAR light (photosynthetically active radiation) to multi-level grows with luminaire wattage of 375 and an astonishing PPE (photosynthetic photon efficacy) of up to 3.61µmol/J and precision dimming 100-1%. Agnetix patented hydronics cooling extracts up to 140 watts of waste heat from the room per fixture significantly reducing the amount of energy intensive HVAC required versus any other light source.

The Agnetix environmental, thermal-sensing and computer-vision platform allows the vertical farmer to interact via the user interface remotely from the safety and convenience of their computer or mobile device, continuously monitoring the conditions and plant performance at enterprise scale with speed and convenience.

Sensor and imaging technologies empower key stakeholders with direct visualization of plant size and quality:

• Temperature, Relative Humidity, CO₂ ppm Sensor
• Leaf Temperature Sensor (IR)
• Reflected Canopy Light Intensity and Color Sensor
• Canopy Distance and Growth Rate Sensor
• Imaging Engine with Camera and Multi-wavelength LED Flash Illuminator

Critical plant and environmental information captured from PHENOM and HARMONY sensors intersect on the Agnetix HMI dashboard, enabling both manual and automated analysis capabilities.

“PHENOM is the next level of sustainable cultivation for high density controlled environment agriculture. It’s the ultimate high efficiency data driven solution for serious commercial growers and a game changing competitive advantage for our customers.” said Jordan Miles, CEO, Agnetix

Agnetix PHENOM is available to pre-order today with a select offering from the series available to ship to customers in Q2, 2022. For more information, visit www.agnetix.com or contact Sales@agnetix.com.

You can see PHENOM first-hand at Indoor Ag-Con, February 28 – March 1, 2022 in Agnetix booth 3013.

MFG Tray Highlights Top Designs

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor News:
MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor NewsMFG Trays Can Be customized To Your Farming Needs

Indoor Ag-Con exhibitor MFG Vertical Farming’s products deliver exceptional durability and performance for all of your indoor farming needs. MFG Tray’s trays and containers flats, trays and containers are designed for growing supplies, seed trays, vertical farming displays and flood tables for use with edible, medical and landscaping plants. Unlike plastic trays and containers, our glass-reinforced composite products are dimensionally stable and will not bend or sag under heavy loads. Thanks to this strength, MFG Tray products can meet tall stacking heights to save space and streamline indoor growing. MFG Tray products can be customized to meet your farming needs. Customized options may include: slots and holes for irrigation, side or drop handles and cut-outs or recesses or lids and dollies to simplify transport.

Success in vertical farming results from a carefully balanced mix of pH, nutrients, light, temperature and humidity. Vertical farming demands precise control of environmental factors to produce crops consistently at any time of the year. MFG Tray meets these demands with a proven line of high-strength, technologically advanced products – from trays and flats to nesting containers and customized options.

>> Wide range of designs, depths, and sizes to meet growing requirements
>> High weight capacity and rigidity
>> Smooth, nonporous composite resists odors, chemicals, and mildew
>> Composite material won’t corrode, bend or contaminate
>> Outstanding performance and longevity
>> Won’t absorb moisture, bend, dent or sag
>> Easily cleaned in hot water or steam and can be sterilized
>> Customized options available
>> Easy handling and stacking
>> Temperature range continuous -60° to 250° F (-51° to 121° C)

 

MFG Tray’s New ULTRA LITE Totes and Containers Combine Lighter Weight With Legendary Strength

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor NewsNew product line is 40% lighter while retaining trusted strength and durability of MFG’s fiber glass reinforced composite.

Can an industrial container be made lighter and still retain its strength? That’s the challenge engineers at Molded Fiber Glass Tray have answered with the development of MFG Tray’s new ULTRA LITE totes and containers.

The new line of ULTRA LITE products are 40 percent lighter than standard fiberglass products while retaining the trusted strength and durability of MFG’s fiber glass reinforced composite, said Burt Hovis, MFG Tray material handling product line manager.

“ULTRA LITE is a direct result of customer requests to help improve shop ergonomics and lower shipping weight,” noted Hovis. “ULTRA LITE totes and containers answer industry-wide needs to reduce weight per container and to counter escalating shipping costs and weight.”

Hovis added that MFG Tray’s engineering team knew the finished product also had to be tough and long-lasting, similar to the company’s well-known MFG Tray brand.

“Even at 40% lighter, our new ULTRA LITE fiber glass products will be stronger than standard thermoplastic, can withstand temperatures from –60 to 250 F and are impervious to cutting oils, detergents, mild acids and alkaline solutions,” said Hovis

 

MFG Trays for Insect Rearing

Insect rearing facilities all over the world have use MFG Tray’s durable and dependable trays for over 40 years!

MFG Tray Indoor Ag-Con Exhibitor News>>Dimensionally stable and exceptional structural strength
>>Drop ends and/or sides increases air circulation and faster cooling for the larva
>>Conforms to FDA Regulation Title 21 CFR 177.2420
>>Interlock stacking increases drying room efficiency
>>Temperature range continuous -60° to 250° F (-51° to 121° C)
>>Won’t bend, dent or deflect under heavy loads
>>Smooth, non-porous surface is easy to steam clean or power wash
>>Heavy-duty dolly available

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

 

Kurt M. Aken Joins AmplifiedAg to Lead Expansion of its Vertical Roots Business

In a sign that vertical farming is reaching an inflection point, AmplifiedAg hires produce industry veteran to lead growth for its flagship brand, Vertical Roots

Indoor Ag-Con 2021 Exhibitor AmplifiedAg, Inc. a leading platform in the fast-growing category of hydroponic vertical farming – announces the hiring of industry veteran Kurt M. Aken to lead the growth of its Vertical Roots brand. Aken joins as Executive Vice President, Business Development following a successful 24-year tenure with two of the most recognized consumer produce brands in the United States – Fresh Express and Chiquita Brands International. Aken will be focused on supporting and extending the Vertical Roots hydroponic produce brand, which is currently sold in more than 1,700 retail locations in the Southeast United States.

“I, like many others in the produce industry, have been watching the evolution of vertical farming with intense interest,” said Aken. “Vertical farming represents an important part of the future of sustainable food supply and produce capacity, and I’m inspired by AmplifiedAg’s approach and leadership.”

“AmplifiedAg’s best-in-class technology, modular and scalable construction capability,and unrivaled growing expertise is the foundation of Vertical Roots success, and makes the most reliable partner for retailers and wholesalers looking for the best produce possible,” Aken added.

Vertical Roots currently operates hydroponic container farms in Charleston, SC, Columbia, SC and Atlanta,GA, with more farm expansions on the horizon. Since January 2020, Vertical Roots has grown its retail footprint 272% and now offers its lettuce in approximately 1,700 grocery stores across the Southeast. The hydroponic produce line includes a variety of salad mixes and Green Butter, Green Oak, and Green Leaf Living Lettuces. The brand also recently introduced one of the first ever hydroponic varieties of large-leaf Romaine.

Vertical Roots produce is grown in hydroponic farms constructed from repurposed shipping containers, and leverages AmplifiedAg’s proprietary software and hardware to optimize growing cycles and insure premier quality and consistency. Farms are built to USDA and FDA food safety standards, and the hydroponic growing method means no soil, no pesticides, and more nutritious, clean, longer lasting produce.

During Aken’s career at Fresh Express and Chiquita Brands, he led the corporate account team that serviced leading grocery retailers across the United States. Aken was responsible for cultivating new business opportunities in nontraditional
produce channels including foodservice, club and drug and discount store segments, as well as theme parks and cruise lines.

Andrew Hare, co-founder and general manager of Vertical Roots, said, “Kurt’s extensive industry experience, including retail and customer insights, consumer trends, and supply chain management, will help us further accelerate the growth of our Vertical Roots brand. He is a recognized leader in the category and we are proud that he has chosen to join our company and work with us to advance our mission.”

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About AmplifiedAg, Inc.
AmplifiedAg, Inc.™ is a leader in the indoor agriculture category focused on empowering a scalable, resilient, and sustainable food supply and providing global populations with access to clean, fresh, and healthy produce. The company manufactures modular and scalable indoor farms using refurbished shipping containers and advanced hydroponic systems controlled by its proprietary hardware and seed-to- sale SaaS-based.

AmplifiedAg’s flagship brand Vertical Roots is the largest hydroponic container farm in the world and currently sells its produce through more than 1,700 grocery stores and numerous distributors.

In addition to powering its flagship brand Vertical Roots, AmplifiedAg provides holistic indoor farming solutions to sustainably grow and distribute food anywhere in the world. Learn more at www.amplifiedaginc.com.