What Happened This Week In Indoor Farming?

Discover our weekly recap featuring this week in indoor farming, upcoming events in the foodtech industry as well as interesting articles to read.

Good morning readers, we are introducing a new format to our weekly recap featuring this week in indoor farming, upcoming events in the FoodTech industry as well as interesting articles to read.

This Week in Indoor Farming: 

New financial reports, new deals, new funding rounds as well as new expansion announcements have marked this week in indoor farming.

Is hydroponic fodder the next big thing?

Hydroponic fodder has been around for a long time as some primitive systems were used back in the early 20th century. Nonetheless, in recent years, with the advent of climate change, the need to reduce carbon emissions as well as the cost of food has taken hydroponic fodder back on the front stage.

Indeed, important deals were closed in the United States, and an increasing number of companies in the Middle East (and in other regions) now focus on hydroponic fodder systems.

Today, livestock feeding is a problem as the successive heatwaves, droughtiness and flooding have led many farmers throughout the world to sell part of their herd as there is not enough food to feed all of them. Farmers have also taken on their winter stocks leaving them with no other option but to buy expensive & scarce fodder, hays, and other cereals to feed their animals. In turn, this may exacerbate an already pressured food chain and may contribute to shooting inflation rates higher than they already are.

So, is hydroponic fodder farming a solution? What are the effects on animal weight? Is it profitable? Where is the market growing?

During the quarter, Kalera earnings grossed USD 1.3 million in revenue (USD 1.84 million were expected) and incurred a net loss of USD 78.7 million caused by a one-time non-cash expense for goodwill impairment of USD 64.3 million, the change in fair value for the contingent value rights earnout of USD 17.3 million, and a one-time expense of USD 7.5 million related to the closing of the Agrico business combination and NASDAQ listing. Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and amortization were negative USD 14.1 million.

The Company also entered a 10-year, $30 million Senior Secured Credit Facility with Farm Credit of Central Florida to support capital expenditures and working capital needs of the entire Company. The facility provides $20 million in available funds for capital expenditures under a Term Loan and $10 million to support general corporate and working capital purposes under a Revolving Loan.

Subsequent to its earnings reports, Kalera announced the distribution of its leafy greens to 40 Trader Joe’s locations throughout Texas. All varieties are grown at Kalera’s Houston facility, emphasizing its commitment to providing locally grown produce to urban areas with traditionally short growing seasons. Texas-based Trader Joe’s shoppers can find Kalera’s leafy greens in Krunch, Butter, and Frisée whole-head-sized varieties in the produce aisle for $2.99 MSRP.

Created during the pandemic, the company was founded by Sunway Property and Education Group. It has since produced food for more than 1,800 families with over 15,000 kg of leafy greens grown and harvested in Sunway’s smart sustainable city in Kuala Lumpur. Their newest farm, expected to have a surface area of 37,000 sqft, is estimated to produce at least 13,000kg of fresh and pesticide-free vegetables per month.

The company now plans on increasing its presence on 4 farming hubs throughout Malaysia totaling 1,000,000 sqft. In an interview with New Straits Times, Sunway Group chief innovation officer and Sunway XFarms director Matt van Leeuwen said “This is obviously not something that will happen overnight, but in the next five years we aim to build one million square feet of decentralized, smart farms across four urban food hubs in Malaysia. This includes Klang Valley, Iskandar Puteri in Johor, Ipoh, and Penang, which are all areas where Sunway has a strong presence. In five years, we expect these four hubs will yield three million kilograms produce on a yearly basis,”

Part of Tech Breakthrough, a leading market intelligence and recognition platform for global technology innovation and leadership, the AgTech Breakthrough Awards program is devoted to honoring excellence in agricultural & food technologies, services, companies, and products around the world. The AgTech Breakthrough Awards program provides a forum for public recognition around the achievements of AgTech companies and solutions in categories including farm management, indoor farming, FoodTech, automation, IoT and robotics, FoodTech, analytics, and more.

This year, 12 controlled environment agriculture (CEA) companies were awarded an AgTech breakthrough award out of 74 awarded companies, these CEA companies represent nonetheless more than USD 1.55Bn raised over time with indoor farming companies Plenty, representing the vast majority with USD 941 million raised over the years (The most recent is a USD 400 million Series E on the 25th of January).

Since 2017, 26 Seasons vows to redefine the way fresh produce is grown, challenge the status quo of the agri-industry, and distribute its produce throughout New Zealand & Beyond. Currently, they produce a variety of micro-greens and strawberries in their 3 facilities in New Zealand.

Co-founded by Matthew Keltie, an agronomist with 20 years of experience in the agriculture sector working for various companies such as Pamu Farms, ABN Amro, and Rvendown Fertiliser, 26 Seasons now seeks to expand within New Zealand and in South East Asia as the demand for fresh produce expands.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Agriplay vows to re-purpose underutilized commercial real-estate into productive vertical farms. By using versatile and modular technology to enable solutions designed by their team or sourced from partnering companies, Agriplay enables the growth of various produce in urban areas. 

While industrial properties are the most common real estate used in vertical farming, it has its issues. It requires a long-term commitment, lack of scalability, is relatively scarce, important planning goes into it, forces companies to fit yourself in the market rather than fitting what the market needs.” Mentions Dan Houston, President of Agriplay.

Commercial real estate has opportunities as COVID has forced many companies to rely on remote working and adapt their management, thus requiring much less space than pre-pandemic. Calgary’s commercial real-estate has also been hit by the previous market crash in oil & gas. 

AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd.  , announced that it was granted a patent titled “Structure for Growing Plants” from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, relating to the Company’s proprietary growing facility design, the AgriFORCE GrowHouse. This granted patent corresponds with the Company’s previously reported Notice of Allowance in April and covers 20 claims for different inventive features relating to structures for growing plants.

“Our objective is to provide an advanced platform for our customers’ delivery of more sustainable, better tasting, and nutritious food and plant-based products, as well as more natural and effective plant-based medicines and supplements,” said Ingo Mueller, Chief Executive Officer of AgriFORCE. “With this latest granted patent, we have further strengthened our intellectual property portfolio and protected our advanced facility design and operational processes. We believe our foundational IP has positioned us as a leader in the AgTech industry and marks a key milestone in our growth strategy.”

After Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, NEOM in Saudi Arabia, and YITI in Oman, a new sustainable city is being developed in Kuwait aiming to provide a net zero carbon lifestyle for 100,000 residents.

Indeed, XZERO City is a planned sustainable community, spanning 1,600 hectares in the south of Kuwait with 30,000 residential units and providing about 30,000 green jobs in diverse sectors such as medical, tourism, technology, and education among others.

The city will be incorporating urban farming technologies such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical farms as explained by URB’s CEO, Baharash Bagherian.

iFarm has completed work on Capsum’s cutting-edge farm laboratory, a joint project announced in late 2021. Situated within the company’s existing Research & Development site at its Marseille plant, the laboratory enables Capsum’s scientists to cultivate their own high-quality ingredients for new cosmetic formulas.

Using iFarm technologies for vertical farming, Capsum will grow a range of crops, including microgreens and flowers. The research farm is controlled by iFarm Growtune software, giving Capsum the requisite tools and data to optimize plant growth.

“Indoor growing is perfect for the beauty industry, as it allows us to cultivate in a fully controlled environment free from pesticides and any harmful chemicals. iFarm’s technology fits the needs of our researchers since they are able to vary a wide range of parameters,” said CEO of Capsum Anthony Briot.

For its 3rd Smart Agriculture Competition (a contest encouraging data scientists and agricultural researchers to develop productivity-boosting agricultural-boosting technology), Pinduoduo launched a vertical farming challenge.

Participants will have to produce lettuce in shipping containers, using technology including LED lighting, crop modeling, and algorithms to control input variables. They will take on the challenge of producing crops with higher yields and better quality using shorter growth cycles and less energy. Besides productivity and sustainability, the judging panel will also take into consideration the commercial viability of the different teams’ growing models.

Taking place at the Bright Seed Vertical Farming Pilot Campus in Chongming Island, Shanghai, the event is co-organized with China Agricultural University and Zhejiang University along with supporting organizations such as the FAO in China, and Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Bright Seedbase.

Events Coming Up:

  • Edible Planet Ventures Summit September 16-19 (+1), 2022 in Italy. Learn more here.

  • 3rd Vertical Farming World Congress in Brussels held in Brussels at the heart of European policy-making from 19 to 21 September. Learn more here.

  • VertiFarm, a new business event informing the trade public about tomorrow’s cultivation possibilities. September 27th to 29th. Learn more here.

  • Women in Agribusiness Summit – Dallas, September 26-28. Learn more here.

  • Generation Fest by Thought For Food Friday, 30 September 2022, 12:00 pm. 99 Scott Ave, Brooklyn Learn more here.

  • The Food Tech Congress, Warsaw October 26-27 2022 in Poland. Learn more here.

  • Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, Singapore, October 26-28. Learn more here.

  • Future of Food production Summit, November 15th - 17th 2022, Online. Learn more here.

  • 3 rd Global Vertical Farming Show - GVF 2022, 29th | 30th November, New Delhi, India. Learn more here.

Articles to Read:

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