AeroFarms raises US$20 million for more vertical farms

AeroFarms builds large indoor farming facilities that use 95 percent less water than conventional commercial field farms ©AeroFarms Inc.

AeroFarms Inc., a leader in vertical farming, has raised US$20 million in venture funding to build more of its aeroponic vertical farms. The indoor farms use 95 percent less water than conventional, commercial field farms.
AeroFarms aims to highlight the possibilities presented by vertical farming, the necessity for a new agricultural paradigm, and the benefits of AeroFarms’ system, which offers 75 times greater productivity per square metre annually than traditional agriculture with a fraction of the inputs.
“AeroFarms has the ability to mitigate the competition between food supply and water resources,” said Marc Oshima, AeroFarms chief marketing officer. “Our mission to transform agriculture grows more pressing everyday. If we can mitigate the toll traditional agriculture has always taken on our natural resources, we can change the future of food.”
AeroFarms grows and sells around 20 greens, such as kale, arugula and watercress, in a unique aeroponic system that allows the roots to be suspended in midair. LED lights provide energy to the plants, and the roots are misted with a nutrient-rich solution.
A closed-loop water circulation system means no water is wasted, resulting in a 95 percent decrease in water use compared to commercial field farming. Lack of soil eliminates runoff, and because the plants are grown in an entirely controlled environment where Integrated Pest Management practices are employed, zero pesticides are used. Its produce is also ready to be eaten or sold without any washing.
AeroFarms’s engineers and horticultural scientists use cameras, sensors and algorithms to collect and analyse data about their crops.
In order to feed a human population predicted to reach 10 billion by 2060, agricultural processes must become more efficient and productive. In the past, increased food production has always been at the expense of the water supply, with 70 pecent of the world’s fresh water used for agriculture and 70 percent of water contamination coming from agriculture.