Straight-up for food

Straight-up for food

Start-up watch: US agritech start-up Bowery has built a vertical farming facility in New Jersey, leaning on automation, machine learning and vision systems to look after its crops. The firm’s output includes baby kale – of course – kale mix, basil, arugula, and butterhead lettuce, all of which it grows without recourse to pesticides or agrichemicals.

The company has just picked up $7.5 million in angel and seed funding for its vertical farming business which is located close to the communities it supplies.

A controlled indoor growing environment enables Bowery to harvest its vegetables possible year round using LED lights to mimic the full spectrum of the sun. The outfit also uses camera sensors as well as computer vision to detect changes in plants. Machine-learning technology enables the Bowery system to drive work to develop flavour and support the health of plants.

The start-up reckons it uses 95% less water than using older agricultural methods while also producing 100-times more on the same land footprint.

“Our crop cycles are much faster and more frequent than traditional agriculture,” Bowery says. “The more we grow, the more data we collect, allowing us to optimise and automate key parts of the process.”

Bowery isn't alone in urban farming. Over in Brooklyn, Square Roots is looking to teach city types all about vertical farming.

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