WATCH: Vertical farming start-ups target consumers, restaurants and retail

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Vertical farming systems needn’t be manufactured exclusively for farmers growing produce at scale. FoodNavigator meets two innovators developing closed cultivation systems for the sitting room or restaurant.

Vertical farming systems hold a lot of promise as a sustainable way to produce food. And not just on a large scale. At this year’s Seeds and Chips event in Milan, FoodNavigator caught up with representatives from two start-ups in the vertical farming space: Robonica and Own Greens.

Italian start-up Robonica has developed a small hydroponic greenhouse for the home. The automated system, which connects to a smartphone app, allows for a wide range of plants to grow all year round at the touch of a button.

The plug & play ‘Linfa’ plant farm can grow edible flowers, chili peppers, mint, basil, and tomatoes, among other varieties.

Dutch start-up Own Greens is also innovating in the plant factory sector, with multi-layered LED light system. The technology requires significantly less water than conventional agricultural systems, and protects against contamination.

Similarly to Robonica, Own Greens’ technology does not require consumers to have plant cultivation experience. “Own Greens is a company that brings food as close to people as possible, so you are able to grow at home, or in a retail store…without any [previous gardening] knowledge,” ​Own Greens CEO John Bijl told FoodNavigator.

“My dream is to work directly with consumers because the system is so simple that everybody can do it, and grow their own greens or vegetable or herbs…”

Watch the video to take a more detailed look at these innovative plant factories.

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