80 Acres Farms nearing completion of their fully automated 70,000-square-foot indoor farm on Hamilton Enterprise Park Drive. The farm will supply its fresh produce to the US market and the facility will function as an education ground for others as the company expands to global regions.
‘A perfect envelope’
“We have been working on refining this design for four years. This is the first of its kind and we already have orders for future farms of our reference design farm. Accounting for the scale of this farm we can make a meaningful impact in the food supply, achieving unit economics to compete with greenhouses and conventional growers,” Tisha Livingston, CEO of Infinite Acres says.
“The big thing is the automation, being able to take that backbreaking work of farming and converting it into an automated design has been really important,” Tisha adds. Infinite Acres has been perfecting the climate to have that perfect envelope, to be able to grow, and to stress the plants for an optimal yield, flavor and nutrition.
Tisha Livingston, CEO of Infinite Acres
Infinite Acres purposely chose Hamilton, Ohio, because they are making use of clean renewable hydro-electric energy which is generated through hydro dams. “We have been very choiceful in the process to be as sustainable as possible. We’re estimating to use free cooling 80% of the time, because of the Hamilton climate. We are not perfect, but very thoughtful. Indoor farming is not the solution for everything, but it can be a meaningful part of making an impact in terms of sustainability,” Tisha says.
Connecting the dots
Working closely with a retailer such as Ocado and a high-tech company like Priva the advantage to better facilitate themselves in the market. “When starting 80 Acres Farms with co-founder, Mike Zelkind, we wanted to advance the vertical farming industry. We brought our expertise, for example, in operating food-safe manufacturing facilities, but we knew in order to scale vertical farming, we needed egoless collaboration with world-class companies. That is why we formed Infinite Acres,” Tisha states.
Being able to leverage all of their knowledge has been a great benefit. But also to be able to understand retailers and the food supply. Tisha continues: “We’ve been able to provide those insights with Priva, which has been so beneficial. We have the application and thirst for the knowledge. Priva has the knowledge, Ocado brought in an understanding of analytics and automation. We now have specific insights on the retail market and consumer preferences.”
“Infinite is constantly looking for other partners to collaborate on solutions for vertical farming. Our vision is to hit the right unit economics so that indoor farming is affordable and accessible to everyone. Having the right network and connections speeds up development and gets us closer to a meaningful impact on the food supply,” Tisha notes.
In retail, 80 Acres Farms salads are sold for $3.99 per four-ounce salad. “US is buying spinach from the field, paying 7 to 9 cents (USD), which is the same spinach you would get in a salad. By the time it goes through all its stops and touches, consumers pay $2.99 per five ounces. Our products are less than 2 days old when arriving at the grocery store. The produce is healthy, just picked, and has a longer shelf life and most importantly, tastes amazing,” Tisha affirms.