"Green Sense Farms has been an early adopter and pioneer when it comes to indoor vertical farming," says Robert Colangelo, Founder and President at Green Sense Farms. he company built its first 20,000 sq. ft. indoor vertical farm in 2012 in Portage, Indiana. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) has changed greatly since that first farm and so has the company.
"We started our journey focused on operating our indoor vegetable farm. By selling lettuce, baby greens, herbs and microgreens to grocery stores and produce companies in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Since that time, we have leveraged our operating experience and evolved the company to provide contract research, farm design and build services on a global basis," Robert notes.
Robert Colangelo, Founder and President of Green Sense Farms
He adds: "One of our recent innovations is the development of a modular scalable growing system using our proven grow technology. We found that our standard 20,000 sq. ft. farm can be cost-prohibitive in many parts of the world. We have also seen that many vertical farming companies 'start big and grow small' making right-sizing a farm the key to being profitable."
In addition to the company's 20,000 sq. ft. farm, they now offer a modular scalable farm system that can 'start small and grow big' to meet increased demand. "After spending a year studying container farms to objectively understand their strengths and weakness we have come up with a new indoor growing design.
The design includes touchless conveyance, improved and automated Integrated Pest Management, sanitization, higher crop density and improved economics. Next to that the farm can be operated by two employees, a packing team. It also has a computer delivery of growing inputs and climate control with improved air circulation. The modular farm can be housed in functionally obsolete industrial buildings with minimal tenant improvements.
The design of the scalable modular farm
"Our modular scalable custom farms use shipping containers as a prefabricated low-cost structure to install the individual farm components," Robert states. Components can be sold separately or as a system and include: a seeding line, germ or nursery room, packing and cooler. It also has an equipment room with CO2, fertigation, water treatment, water storage and recirculation, HVAC, data collection, sensors and automation controls. "It’s an honor and privileged to be part of CEA and watch it evolve from an idea into an industry," Robert says.