German Startup Leads The Way In Urban Farming
February 22, 2018
Living in a big city has its advantages, but there’re still a lot of controversies when it comes to the food market.
Many city residents are unsatisfied with the quality of food products and worry about the source of the produce. With the increasing interest in healthy food and growing concerns about food allergies, many consumers look for fresh and artisan produce. There are a lot of supermarkets in the city but if you are looking for clean organic products, you should either pay the extra money or get in with a farmer.
Infarm, a Berlin-based startup, spotted this gap between consumers and producers and developed vertical farming tech for grocery stores, restaurants, and local distribution centers.
Infarm builds in-store farming units and software to manage the growth of crops. The farms are operated by Infarm’s own platform for monitoring thousands of different data points and personalizing the farm to respective needs, which ensures that the produce is being grown as near to perfect as possible. Each module has its own ecosystem that tailors light spectrum, temperature, pH levels, and nutrients to ensure the maximum expression of each plant.
The glass-walled farm serves basically as an incubator for herbs, lettuce, or other vegetables. With a new technology it becomes possible to have a 365 days a year harvest with any varieties you only wish. The modular system makes the farm very flexible. You can adjust it by adding more modules or customize it, according to your requirements. So the technology is very user-friendly and can be useful for a wide range of customers.
Infarm says, they are the new generation of farmers, and the city is their farm.
Infarm states that one farm can have an output of 1,200 plants a month.
The start-up currently has more than 50 farms running around Berlin in supermarkets, restaurants, and warehouses. The startup has already placed its farm in German supermarket chains METRO and EDEKA, two of Germany’s largest food retailers.
The start-up was founded in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli, and brothers Erez and Guy Galonska. Since then the company has grown from a mobile vertical farm in an old 1955 Airstream trailer to a team of over 100 INFARMers.
“Behind our farms is a robust hardware and software platform for precision farming,” explainedOsnat Michaeli. “Each farming unit is its own individual ecosystem, creating the exact environment our plants need to flourish. We are able to develop growing recipes that tailor the light spectrums, temperature, pH, and nutrients to ensure the maximum natural expression of each plant in terms of flavor, color, and nutritional quality”.
Innovation in agricultural segment seem to be very attractive for the investors. Recently Infarm has secured a $25 million Series A funding round led by Balderton Capital, with other names such as Mons Investments, Cherry Ventures, and LocalGlobe. Additionally the startup won a €2.5 million grant awarded by the European Commission. Totally the Berlin-based company raised to date $35 million.
With this financial support Infarm plans to bring their farms to other German cities and establish an international network, offering their (r)evolutionary taste for customers in Paris, Copenhagen, London.
The goal: 1,000 Infarm vertical farms in operation globally by 2019’s end.
Infarm declares its mission to redefine what it means to eat well, reshape the landscape of cities, re-introduce forgotten or rare varieties, and re-empower the people to take ownership of their food.
The startup targets not only the European market. They want to introduce their healthy food for affordable prices around the world.
“Our ambition is to reach cities as far as Seattle in the United States or Seoul, South Korea with our urban farming network”, said Erez Galonska.