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With space becoming limited in urban areas, people are looking for ways to start indoor farms. Vertical farming is popular in urban areas because you can grow food in vertically-inclined surfaces or layers. Buildings and warehouses are being transformed to create vertical indoor farms.
When it comes to vertical farming, startup company Bowery is taking the lead by building a facility that allows people to do indoor vertical farming. The facility will be in Kearny, New Jersey and what makes this facility different is that it will be the most tech-savvy in the world. The company was able to raise $20 million from investors like GGV, General Catalyst, and GV to build its new indoor farm.
The Technology is the Key to Indoor Farm Production
The new facility can grow 30 times more than current indoor farms and it can supply 100 types of leafy greens to its customers. Recently, the company partnered with companies like Foragers and Whole Foods. The company is increasing efficiency by using machine learning, robotics, and predictive analytics to grow food. Bowery has developed a proprietary software system with a robust network to automate the farming practices.
Bowery CEO, Irving Fain, noted that the software is the brains of the farm. It can make small adjustments to changes in water flow, humidity, temperature, and light intensity to grow the best crops. The use of precision-level technology to control the environmental parameters is seldom used in agriculture and the company is keen on being the first to deliver this technology at an unparalleled level.
With this technology, Bowery is able to be 100 times more efficient when it comes to growing food compared to a square-foot of farmland. There is also no downtime as Bowery can grow food all year round and is not at the mercy of the changing seasons. The startup also does not use agri-chemicals like synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to grow food but surprisingly is able to produce higher yields for each crop cycle. This is definitely not doable when implemented out in the open field.
Fewer Middlemen Between Food and Consumers
The crops are grown through a system called hydroponics. This “soil-less” system uses substrates such as pebbles and rocks submerged in nutrient-rich waters to grow crops. But while the National Organic Standards Board has voted hydroponics as organic, Bowery is focused on growing post-organic food. The thing is that organic produce still uses pesticides, but Bowery does not use it at all.
This urban vertical farm provides food immediately to the neighborhood. Since the farm is located in the heart of New Jersey, the food produced goes to the local tri-state area. And since the food is grown close to the consumers, there are not so many players that sit between the food and the consumers which keeps the cost of the food down. If more of these farms are built in the United States, it can provide fresh and healthy foods to all income levels and areas.
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