Fresh produce is the best produce, and nothing could be fresher than crops you’ve just harvested. To that end, Berlin-based startup Infarm wants to give consumers direct access to freshly grown produce by putting vertical farms in grocery stores.
While vertical farming isn’t exactly a new idea, Infarm’s approach is undoubtedly fresh. Rather than your typical indoor vertical farming, the company utilizes a modular approach for their go-to-market strategy. This allows them to do vertical farming on a smaller but easily expandable scale.
Infarm’s produce won’t be found stored in large warehouses. It will be in places that are frequented by customers, such as grocery stores, shopping malls, and even in restaurants. You’d see the crop, pick out the produce that’s ripe for harvest, and place it in your grocery basket.
“When we presented our idea three or four years ago, people looked at us as though we [had] lost our mind,” Infarm co-founder Erez Galonska told TechCrunch. “We are the first company in the world that has put vertical farming in a supermarket.”
Infarm’s modular vertical farms help promote a healthier lifestyle. Urban-dwellers won’t have a hard time getting their fresh supply of greens, and Infarm makes sure that their crops are, indeed, fresh. Each module is monitored by sensors, connected to an internet-controlled irrigation and nutrition system.
“The system is smart. It can guide you where to harvest and can notify you when the produce needs to be harvested, and this is your part in the game,” Galonska explained. “Machine learning can help us understand and predict future problems.”
Aside from this, vertical farming also helps eliminate waste and promotes self-sufficient food production directly in cities. It reduces the negative environmental impacts associated with more traditional farming methods — i.e., the use of pesticides — while providing people with the freshest crops. It’s a futuristic agricultural solution.