Upward Farms' Exit and Hardee Fresh's $56 Million Vertical Farming Investment: This Week in Indoor Farming

Exploring the Future of Sustainable Agriculture and the Latest Innovations in Controlled Environment Farming Technologies.

Exploring the Latest Developments in Indoor Farming with Artechno Growsystems

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Welcome to this week's update on Indoor Farming Stock Performance! Exciting news includes a $56 million bridge loan for a new Hardee Fresh vertical farming facility, which will produce sustainably grown, organic greens using cutting-edge technology.

In other news, we see Upward Farms closing its Brooklyn Headquarters Farm and exiting the vertical farming sector, while Urban-gro beats EPS & Revenue Estimates in Q4 2022 Results. Plus, don't miss upcoming events like the Indoor AgTech Innovation Summit and Food Tech Congress.

Read on for more details on these and other stories in the indoor farming industry.

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This Week’s Editorial

Indoor Farming Stock Performance This Week

  • AppHarvest APPH 0.00 lost 4.70% (-3 cents)

  • Local Bounti LOCL 0.00 gained 36.86% (+18 cents)

  • Hydrofarm Holding Group HYFM 0.00 gained 7.78% (+13 cents)

  • Urban-gro UGRO 0.00 gained 5.58% (+14 cents)

  • Kalera KAL 0.00 lost 2.44% (-8 cents)

  • CEA Industries CEAD 0.00 gains 2.93% (+ 3 cents)

  • AgriFORCE Growing Systems AGRI 0.00 lost 9.73% (-7 cents)

  • Agrify AGFY 0.00 lost 11.89% (-2 cents)

Macroeconomic News

A preliminary estimate indicates that the Euro Area's consumer price inflation rate decreased to 6.9 percent year-on-year in March 2023, marking its lowest since February 2022. This figure was slightly below the market consensus of 7.1 percent. However, it remained well above the European Central Bank's target of 2.0 percent. The core index, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, rose to a new record high of 5.7 percent, putting pressure on policymakers to continue raising rates. The energy cost declined for the first time in two years, while non-energy industrial goods increased slower. Inflation for food, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as services, accelerated in contrast. Every month, consumer prices increased by 0.9 percent in March, following a 0.8 percent increase in February.

In January 2023, the Core PCE prices in the US, which exclude food and energy, increased by 0.6% month-over-month, marking the highest increase since August. This followed an upwardly revised 0.4% increase in the previous month and exceeded market expectations of 0.4%. The annual rate, which is the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, rose to 4.7%, surpassing market expectations of 4.3%. This supports the stance of Fed policymakers that interest rates must remain elevated for a more extended period to control the unsustainable rise in prices. Additionally, the headline figure rose by 0.6% from the previous month, marking the highest increase since June, and the annual rate accelerated to 5.4% from 5.3%.

This Week in Indoor Farming

Upward Farms has announced that it will be closing its Brooklyn Headquarters Farm and exiting the vertical farming sector. In a statement, the company’s founders expressed sadness and pride in their work over the last ten years, which they consider the most impactful of their lives.

The company’s initial goal was to grow high-quality food in urban areas where people live and eat while improving the relationship between food and the environment. Despite encountering numerous challenges in vertical farming, the founders remain committed to finding diverse solutions that adapt food production to our new global and market realities.

Upward Farms recognizes that controlled environment agriculture and traditional agriculture can learn from each other. They hope that exchanging ideas between the two sectors will produce exciting outcomes. The company’s founders believe that solving the tension between food and climate is one of the most significant challenges of the 21st century and an opportunity for value creation.

X-Caliber Rural Capital, an affiliate of X-Caliber Holdings and a USDA-licensed lender for rural business and economic development projects, has announced closing a $56 million bridge loan for a Hardee Fresh vertical farming facility in Americus, Georgia. This partnership between X-Caliber Rural Capital and American Lending Center, an impact investor focusing on creating jobs in rural locations, aims to support economic development in rural communities and contribute to more sustainable and healthier agriculture practices.

“Our team is delighted to offer a successful financing solution to our client for building their new, significantly larger facility, along with the substantial number of construction and production jobs it entails,” stated Jordan Blanchard, Executive Manager and Co-Founder of X-Caliber Rural Capital.

The new Hardee Fresh vertical farm facility will span nearly 340,000 square feet and use advanced technology to grow and pack leafy greens in a fully-controlled environment. With over 50,000 internet-connected devices and onsite renewable energy, the facility will produce more than 15 million heads of lettuce annually and a range of mixed salads, using only 1% of the water required for traditional outdoor operations. This innovative vertical farm is expected to be completed by late 2024. It will help deliver affordable, sustainably grown, organic greens and salads with zero pesticides and herbicides to Georgia’s consumers. Throughout the Southeastern U.S., This investment is part of Hardee Fresh’s mission to transform how Americans eat produce and utilize cutting-edge technology to ensure high-quality, natural, and organic leafy greens.

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