This Week's Top 10 CEA News - 27th May

Discover this week's top 10 controlled environment agriculture news of the week

Good morning readers, Dubai hotels adopting modular hydroponic systems, new investments, ventures aiming at disrupting the AgTech industry and much more!

Here are the top 10 CEA news of the week:

1- Dubai Hotels Adopt Hydroponic Solutions

Within the last two weeks, The Ritz-Carlton Dubai and the Raddison-Blu Dubai Deira Creek Hotel have both announced the installation of modular hydroponic solutions to produce healthy, ultra-fresh, local food.

The first hotel chain, the Ritz-Carlton Dubai, JBR is partnering with Green Container Advanced Farming (GCAF) to launch a hyper-local on-site hydroponic farm, one of the first-ever vertical farms in Dubai. The container farm grows crops year-round with a daily harvest reaching, depending on the crop, 10 kg of produce.

The vertical farm will be used to grow fine herbs such as Italian basil, Thai basil, and rosemary as well as other leafy greens such as lettuce or kale. It will ensure freshly-grown and hyper-local produce is used in preparing dishes served in the property’s restaurants.

The second hotel, the Raddison-Blu, collaborated with a young Czech start-up, GreeenTech, following the display of their innovation at the Czech Republic pavilion this year during Dubai’s Expo 2020. The solution caught the eye of Jan Hanak, a Czech national and General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. With Radisson Hotel group’s commitment to net zero in mind, Jan was keen to implement the technology at the landmark property.

2- Canobi AgTech Co-Venture Creates Disruptive Growing Solution

Canobi AgTech announced yesterday, a partnership with GROWPIPESTM to bring GROWPIPESTM indoor farming technology to the fast-growing global market for locally- produced, zero-pesticide indoor food production. GROWPIPES and Canobi have combined their technologies to create a robust, low-cost, lightweight growing solution – complete with remote monitoring and AI capabilities provided by Canobi’s AGRPTM SaaS software.

The GROWPIPES/Canobi solution will be on display via an augmented reality presentation at the HORTI ASIA show, May 25th to 27th, 2022 at BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand, in conjunction with AGRITECHNICA ASIA, the region’s largest trade exhibition for smart horticulture. The exceptional flexibility and scalability of the GROWPIPES/Canobi solution make it ideal for brownfield sites and remote installations, enhancing food security for under-served communities around the world.

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3- 5 Sustainable Indoor Vertical Farms

The most recent report from the leading advisory firm in urban agriculture, Agritecture, highlighted the need for greater transparency and accountability for claims about energy use in the vertical farming sector. Indeed, 62% of the survey respondents indicated that they track energy consumption, but only 28% provided a credible number. We took a look at 5 indoor vertical farms that have taken steps in order to reduce their energy consumption or find alternative energy solutions.

CubicFarms Systems Corp., most recently shared the results of a study demonstrating that their solutions used up to 62% less energy than other vertical farms surveyed around the world. Moreover, the company’s subsidiary, Hydrogreen, has entered into an agreement with Deloitte LLP to develop a carbon commercialization program designed to provide high-quality carbon credits to a fast-growing global market.

Recently, a consortium of four British companies have earmarked a series of sites between Dumbarton and Dundee for the locations of Scotland’s next generation of hectare+ scale vertical farms, powered by 100% Scottish renewables.  These farms would provide locally produced fresh foods (salads and fruits) to over 60% of the Scottish population. The V-FAST consortium comprises UK Urban AgriTech (UKUAT), Light Science Technologies LtdVertegrow Ltd, and RheEnergise Limited, the UK energy storage company. 

On April 28th, Local Bounti has become the first indoor farm to publish an annual sustainability report. The report, which follows standards set forth in the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) and aligns with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (“UN SDG”), contains firm environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) commitments — a first for the controlled environment agriculture (“CEA”) industry.

Founded in Berlin in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the brothers Erez and Guy Galonska, InFarm has grown into becoming a reliable solution for cities and have recently received an honourable mention in the General Excellence category of the 2022 FastCompany‘s World Changing Ideas Awards and was ranked first in Forward Fooding’s 2021 Foodtech 500 with an impressive improvement in their sustainability score compared to previous years’ classification. They have also taken steps toward becoming a certified B Corp.

Lastly, Gotham Greens grew into becoming a leading agtech company in the US and expanded throughout the United States. Indeed, the company recently announced plans to expand nationwide by doubling the size of its greenhouse capacity from 600,000 square feet to over 1.2 million square feet in 2022. The company also announced three new sustainability commitments since becoming a certified B Corp.

4- Soli Organic Lands New Basil Line In Stores

Soli Organic Inc.’s brand-new line of USDA certified organic ‘Indolce’ basil is landing on produce aisle shelves in over 2,000 select stores across more than 15 Mid-Atlantic distribution centres with leading grocery partners including Ahold Giant Stores, Lidl, Walmart, Publix, Whole Foods, Tops Markets, Lowes Foods, Southeastern Grocers/Winn Dixie, Mom’s Organic, Target, and Giant Eagle. Soli Organic (“the Company”), formerly known as Shenandoah Growers, Inc., is the nation’s only soil-based, controlled environment agriculture company delivering 100% USDA certified organic produce to more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide.

5- Yankee Stadium Unveils Tower Garden

Building upon the “New York Yankees Healthy Home Plate Program”, the famous baseball team has partnered with tower garden and Green Bronx Machine to teach young people the importance of having healthy nutrition. The towers were unveiled on Monday 23 at Yankee Stadium’s Gate. The ceremony has seen the participation of community leaders, Yankees executives, local students and pitches Nestor Cortes and Michael King amongst others.

Using the aeroponic garden system of Tower Farms, the structure enables the growth of healthy, fresh produce that requires marginal resources. It provides a hands-on learning experience for students taking part in the Yankees Program. In addition, from June, items grown in the space will also be served to fans in selected menu items.

6- Iron-Ox Produce Now Available in Texas

After completing the construction of its new, larger, facility in Lockhart, Texas, AgTech company Iron Ox announced on the 23rd of May the delivery of fresh produce on store shelves in the Austin area, and soon across the entire southwest region. Customers will be able to buy their healthy locally produced crops in nearby Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

7- Slate Asset Management Announces £50 Million Investment in Eider VF Limited

Slate Asset Management, a global alternative investment platform targeting real assets, today announced that it has completed a £50 million investment in Eider VF Limited (“EVF”), a UK-based vertical farming business, through its Cities and Communities Impact Infrastructure Strategy. Founded in 2016, EVF is a vertical farming business based in Birmingham, England that develops farms growing leafy produce to be sold to the UK mass market. EVF’s products are grown in standard warehouses that are augmented to house vertical farms, using standard industrial equipment to create environments in which the plants thrive.

8- urban-gro’s Acquisition of Emerald CM Enables a Fully Integrated Solution

Throughout the years, urban-gro, Inc. has grown into becoming a leading indoor CEA solutions provider for both the cannabis industry and leafy greens. From Denver, Colorado, the Company is now present in many countries and is looking to further expand its business into other regions.

“The acquisitions that we’ve made have enabled us to deliver a fully integrated, tailored service to our clients and offer purpose-built solutions. Over the past 12 months, urban-gro has acquired 2WR+ Partners and MJ12 Design studio, a full design services firm for the commercial and cannabis industries and recently, we closed the acquisition  of Emerald CM, a 37-year-old Colorado-based construction management firm providing comprehensive design build construction and supervisory services, from initial design through final build-out.” 

9- Bowery Farming Unveils New Smart Farm in Bethlehem, PA

Bowery Farming, the largest vertical farming company in the U.S., opened its largest, most technologically advanced and sustainable commercial smart farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Transforming a former Bethlehem brownfield from a non-arable industrial site into modern farmland, the company’s newest commercial farm lays the groundwork for the next chapter in climate-smart agriculture.

The Bethlehem Farm features industry-leading technological advancements and pioneering sustainability initiatives and is the key to accelerating the expansion of the company’s network of farms across the U.S. With this blueprint, Bowery has created a replicable system to grow food wherever and whenever it is needed as it continues its impressive growth trajectory.

10- Urban Farming Inside Hong Kong’s Skyscrapers

Since 2013, Farm66 has been developing and practising the concept of urban farming. Through patented in-house innovations, such as “Multi-layer Vertical Planting (MVP) structure”, “Soilless Hydroponic Farming (SHF) techniques”, “Indoor Aquaponics Farming Eco-system (IAFE)”, “Energy-efficient LED Wavelength Farming” and “Cloud-based Farming Parameters (CFP) monitoring”, Farm66 grows quality vegetables locally and efficiently by taking farming indoors.​


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