Vertical Farming in France, Make Up For Cosmetics?
Discover our indoor farming highlights for the week, a selection of upcoming events, and articles to read.
Good morning readers, here is a recap of the week in indoor farming, upcoming events, and articles to read!
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This Week in Indoor Farming
Funding rounds, new partnerships, vertical farming in France, and much more!
Here is this week’s highlight in indoor farming:
Vertical farming in France is yet to witness the same growth as the middle-east or Asian market. Nonetheless, companies are emerging throughout the country providing various solutions adapted to various segments. Indeed, cosmetics, pharma, solution providers, and, space farming concept are among the common segments targeted by French vertical farming companies.
One segment, in particular, is outpacing the others. Cosmetics has attracted a number of French companies as the sector seek solutions to face climate change, produce locally, and ensure a constant supply of high-quality crops for their products.
Companies providing their vertical farming solution also exist thanks to partnerships between engineering and container refurbishing specialists.
So is vertical farming in France made up solely for cosmetics? Are there any other segments emerging?
OneFarm announced in a press release the completion of a USD 8.81 million funding round to finance the first phase of its 70,000 sqft farm in Newmarket, Suffolk. The proceeds will finance Suffolk Farms’ construction, equipment, and fit-out of the first seven, 9m high controlled environment growing towers, enabling the first harvest to be advanced to the fourth quarter of 2022.
“Although we have further to go to fund the complete project, we are delighted to have reached the level where we can build the first phase and create the exacting conditions for growing our fresh produce. It means we can focus more of our efforts on constructing the farm, growing our much-needed produce, and finalizing discussions with retailers and catering companies, who will be our first customers.” OneFarm CEO Mira Merme comments “As we have been saying for some time, the food supply situation in the UK and around the world continues to deteriorate. Fresh, healthy, tasty food with proper environmental credentials needs to be grown and sourced locally. We have the ambition to do this at scale, helping to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported greens, herbs, and vegetables.”
Sativus Tech Corp. (OTC: SATT) has announced its intention to raise up to 5 million New Israeli Shekels (approximately $1.5 million) at a pre-money valuation of NIS 32.5 million (approximately $10 million) through the Israeli crowdfunding platform – Pipelbiz for its subsidiary Saffron Tech Ltd.
Assuming the maximum amount is raised, the Company will own approximately 61% of Saffron Tech. This crowdfunding financing follows similar financing completed by Saffron Tech in early 2021. In the past two months, Saffron Tech also raised NIS 800 thousand (approximately $242 thousand) through the issuance of SAFEs. The SAFEs are convertible at a 20% discount to the current crowdfunding round.
In the second quarter of 2022, out of the 512 farms with horticulture that responded, 341 had no need for seasonal labor (67%). Of the 171 survey respondents who did need labor, 45% reported a shortfall. The average shortfall for the entire quarter per farm with horticulture that needed seasonal labor was 114 person days. This equates to an 8% shortfall.
The average need for labor increased throughout the second quarter from 292 person days in April to 648 person days in June. The average shortfall increased from 24 person days in April to 46 in May and then decreased to 44 in June.
Edible Garden AG Incorporated EDBL 0.00%↑ announced it has completed the acquisition of a five-acre greenhouse facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which will operate as Edible Garden Heartland. The new CEA facility, leveraging advanced AgTech, is expected to be fully operational by year’s end, with the capacity to support up to $20 million in annualized revenue.
In addition to serving customers in the Midwest, the facility will house the Company’s state-of-the-art research and development center, focused on improving existing products, developing new products, innovations in plant-based protein and nutraceuticals, as well as applying advanced agricultural technologies. It will also be home to the first commercial installation of Edible Garden’s proprietary hybrid vertical growing system.
“The facility will incorporate our patented, advanced technologies and processes while reinforcing our commitment to the region and our Midwest customers. Most of all, this facility will support our mission of providing Zero-Waste Inspired, Simply Local, Simply Fresh® produce,” said Jim Kras, Chief Executive Officer.
US Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie will give a Keynote Address at the 2022 Vertical Farming World Congress to be held from 19 to 21 September in Brussels, the heart of European policy-making.
“This is an immensely important recognition of the opportunities for new technology in avoiding climate and supply chain disruption to provide the world’s growing population with nutritious and affordable food,” commented Richard Hall, Chair of a specialist consultancy and Congress organizer Zenith Global.
“Vertical farming can beat the perfect storm of covid, war, and inflation by saving water and waste as well as improving quality and sustainability,” added Tom Zoellner, Secretary General of FarmTech Society, which is the official event partner for the Congress.
Kalera Public Limited Company KAL 0.00%↑ , announced its retail store count has grown by 25% this year, with 1,370 retail stores to date and additional retailers expected in the coming months. Kalera states it is on track to surpass 40 percent growth by year-end.
“Kalera’s strategic priority is profitable pragmatic growth from an International, USA-based national and regional footprint serving strategic partnerships with retailers and foodservice distributors,” said Jim Leighton, Chief Executive Officer of Kalera. “By leveraging our newly created consumer-centric, branded CPG platform, we are tapping into markets that have the potential to significantly increase current volumes, revenue, and farm profitability in 2023.”
Kalera also announced the addition of Trader Joe’s to serve its Houston facility.
RMJ Supply announced that it has entered into a sales and distribution agreement with Cryo Cure®, a U.S. patent holder for a 12- to 24-hour cannabis drying and curing process, to offer its leading solutions to controlled environment agriculture (CEA) customers throughout North America. RMJ will be the sole distributor for Cryo Cure® servicing the burgeoning cannabis sector.
The agreement will allow Cryo Cure® to leverage RMJ’s robust network of cultivators throughout the category to expand its reach and adoption of its solutions. The Cryo Cure® machines have been in high demand globally, including with operators in California, Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, Illinois, Jamaica, and South Africa — with additional international deals in the pipeline such as in the United Kingdom.
Cryo Cure®’s technologies and methodologies allow cultivators to skip the hanging phase of drying, cutting the processing time from weeks to just one day. The resulting product is light, vibrant, and aromatic, with trichomes and terpenes intact and flavor profile preserved as if at the height of freshness. With traditional curing, color, smell, and texture are lost during the lengthy drying and curing process and the Cryo Cure® solutions alleviate these issues.
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company SMG 0.00%↑ announced that David Evans has been named chief financial officer on an interim basis replacing Cory Miller, who has departed the Company. The Company has engaged a leading executive search firm to assist in identifying a permanent CFO with a focus on external candidates.
Separately, the Company revised its 2022 free cash flow guidance provided during its August 3rd earnings conference call and reaffirmed all other aspects of its August 3rd guidance.
Evans, who has more than 35 years of finance and accounting experience, has been a director of ScottsMiracle-Gro since 2018, serving on the Board’s audit and finance committees. He previously served as ScottsMiracle-Gro’s chief financial officer from 2006 to 2013 after having held a variety of executive finance roles at the Company. He resigned in 2013 to join Battelle Memorial Institute as executive vice president and CFO, a role he held until 2018. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Cardinal Health, where he also served as interim CFO.
A panel discussion on the role of vertical farming in the Finnish context was held at SuomiAreena, Finland’s largest social festival, in Pori, July 2022. Topics include: How does vertical farming fit into the food production chain now and in the future? What can we actually grow on a vertical farm and what might be possible? What is the environmental impact of vertical farming compared to traditional indoor agriculture? What does vertical farming look like from a business perspective and what are the challenges? The panel consists of Niko Kivioja, Netled CEO; Hannu Kottonen, professional board member and veteran of the grocery industry; and Titta Kotilainen, Senior Scientist at Natural Resources Institute Finland. The discussion is hosted by Lauri Reuter, founder, and partner at Nordic Foodtech VC. The discussion is in Finnish with English subtitles.