The world’s fastest growing urban farming company has recently introduced a new high-capacity indoor vertical farming system
Spotted: German startup Infarm produces highly efficient indoor vertical farming units that bring fresh produce directly to restaurants and supermarket aisles. Their innovative modular farms can already be found on the aisles of supermarkets including Marks & Spencer in the United Kingdom and Kroger in the United States. Now, the company has released its new, high-capacity, cloud-connected Growing Centres.
The centres are designed as a local farm and distribution centre in one, and can generate the equivalent crops to 10,000 square metres of farmland, but with up to 400 times higher efficiency than soil-based agriculture. Each Growing Centre is made up of dozens of modular farming units, each between 10 and 18 metres high, which takeup just 25 square metres of ground space. The modular centres can be built in just six weeks.
The centres operate on the same distributed approach as the individual in-store units. They use a combination of big data, IoT, and cloud analytics to measure and deliver the precise energy, water and nutrition to individual units, in order to maximise yield and minimise resources used. The entire Infarm network is connected to a “central farming brain” that gathers more than 50,000 growth, colour and spectral data points through a plant’s lifetime. Infarm uses this information to remotely control conditions in each unit, recalibrating as needed to optimise growth.
The company envisions the Growing Centres being used to drive growth and scalability. Erez Galonska, Infarm co-founder and CEO explained that “Today we’re adding speed to scale with new technology that allows us to deploy a Growing Centre to any city in the world in a fraction of the time, space and capital investment of most large-scale farming solutions today. Both the farms and the software that powers them were designed to make fresh food more accessible for everyone, everywhere.”
Vertical, indoor farming is popping up all over the world, as people realise that it not only offers a very efficient and sustainable way to farm, but a way to source food locally. As more people transition to working remotely, there may also be a lot more unused office space available, which could be repurposed for farming. Some particularly innovative ideas we have seen recently include a vertical farm that produces insect protein for plant and animal feed and vertical farms located in supermarket parking lots.
Written By: Lisa Magloff