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u.s. vertical farms are racing against the sun

by:Demo     2020-08-01
(Reuters)-
Green leaf salad vegetables grown under LED lights, with fog or water drops, spend the day in the sun. Several top U. S.
Indoor farms stacked with plants from floor to ceiling told Reuters they are raising production to levels that can now supply hundreds of grocery stores.
Bowery, Russian airlines and 80 acres of farms are all part of a young company that sees the future of salad vegetables and other products that rely on robots and artificial intelligence, as well as LED lights.
About a decade ago, the first version of the modern vertical farm appeared, and in recent years, the introduction of automation and data tracking to regulate light and water have enabled them to get out of the lab mode and into the store.
They are now trying to scale up.
Many people say they have customized, controlled lighting.
There\'s more blue light here, there\'s more red light there
More delicious plants than the Sun
Growing leaves use 95% less water than traditional farms, require only a small amount of land and do not use pesticides, which makes them compete with organic farms.
Because vertical farms exist in windowless buildings that can be located in the heart of the city, agricultural products do not have to pass through fossils --fuel-
Full of trucks to the store.
With the expansion of the factory, the expansion of the company
In addition to meat companies and Impossible Foods, burger-based manufacturers have attracted investors and
Restaurants and fast food restaurantsfood chains.
But can a farm without sunshine compete economically with their farm
Given the large amount of upfront investment and electricity bills, adult brothers are still a problem.
\"We are competitive with organic food today and we are trying to continue to make more and more crop grocery stores competitive,\" said Matt Barnard, CEO and co-president
Founder of Plenty in Silicon Valley.
Organic\'s salad is sold at 99 cents an ounce on the Organic grocery delivery website, while on the grocery chain Safeway\'s online site, the leading brand Organic girl\'s price is 80 an ounce
Plenty says its new farm, compared to a farm that used to serve only three shops and some restaurants, is known as \"diGriz\" and can produce enough green leafy vegetables to supply more than 100
The world of technology is paying attention.
In the last round of financing in 2017, Plenty raised about $0. 2 billion from investors including Japan\'s SoftBank, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, and former Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt. New York City-
A fund based in Bowery raised $95 million.
A round of financing led by Google Ventures and Temasek last year.
Bowery said the upcoming third farm will help it supply hundreds of stores from dozens of stores today, and Aerofarms of New Jersey said it will increase space
Neither of the three companies is willing to give details of the cost.
Former vertical farm CEO Matt Matros is skeptical about the economic significance of sunshine-free farms.
He invested and ran Chicago-
FarmedHere, based in 2015, changed its business to food processing.
\"The problem with indoor farming is that you can only grow something efficiently --
Basil and green vegetables.
But the problem is that the world doesn\'t need so many Basil and vegetables . \"
Cincinnati\'s 80-acre farm says it has grown and sold tomatoes and cucumbers, and there are many farms in the lab that are testing cherry tomatoes and strawberries.
Michael Ross, an agricultural technology investor, said that vertical lightless farms are more expensive than modern greenhouses that rely on sunlight to supplement LED lights.
He believes that in some limited areas, such as the Middle East, most of the food is imported, or large food products in China --
Pollution and urban expansion limit the supply of quality fresh food to cities.
In the new farm in Plenty, the robot places the seedlings in the tall, vertically suspended flowerpots.
The planters move along the wall of the LED lights for 10 days and then scrape the leafy vegetables off through a Harvester.
The machine minimizes labor demand, and Plenty says the speed of production also helps to control pests.
\"We don\'t use pesticides,\" said co-Nate Storey.
Founder and chief scientist of Plenty
\"We don\'t even need to use things like bed bugs because we go too fast in production, so we go out --
The pests race by themselves.
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