Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) has seen a renewed bout of interest recently, but there are plenty of stumbling points still plaguing the growing industry. A new non-profit initiative called The Farmbook Project is hoping to resolve some of those issues by providing indoor growers with more opportunities to connect while aggregating data to establish benchmarks.
“There is no forum where people can get together who have small and medium-sized operations or who are thinking about investing in it. I get lots of calls from people asking for an hour of my time because they want to talk about the industry,” Farmbook’s Boston-based co-creator Peter Tasgal told AFN. His fellow co-creator is Albuquerque-based Xander Yang, who has been working in the vertical farming industry for the last five years.
What Tasgal noticed was, when he got these requests, people were always asking him the same questions. He realized that growers in the space were mostly isolated and likely hungering for a chance to connect with their CEA colleagues. Growers in the space have a long history of keeping information to themselves, according to Farmbook. And while there may be a few good reasons for holding this info close to the chest, a bit more sharing could help move the industry forward as a whole.
Aggregating data confidentially through the Farmbook platform can also help with tackling another problem many CEA operators face: a lack of business planning and coaching. Having a cohesive business plan can help attract more investors, according to the Farmbook team. Investors cannot predict whether they will meet their ROI needs if an operation doesn’t have a business plan addressing how it plans to succeed.
Read more at Agfundernews.com.