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Mar 12, 2019 / Richard Hall

High investments in vertical farms

Meat substitutes may be the biggest focus for investment in new food concepts over the past few years, but it seems vertical farming could be next in line.

I saw various examples of vertical farming on display at the 2015 World Expo in Milan, but I was concerned about the cost of energy as well as infrastructure.

Now there are various companies

• using empty industrial buildings,
• concentrating on small volume, high value products like herbs,
• which can produce crops on almost a monthly cycle.

The great advantages of vertical farms are:

• total control of conditions, such as light, humidity and temperature
• improved food safety conditions and
• better flavour, according to chefs.

The largest vertical farm in Europe is reported to be Jones Food Company in Britain, which has already received £4.9 million of funding.

In the United States, some investments have been substantially higher:

• $200 million in 2017 for Plenty, including support from the founders of Amazon and Google
• $90 million in 2018 for Bowery Farming, backed by Google Ventures
• $40 million for AeroFarms with backers including Dubai.

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