“Today, more than ever, the food industry is in need of modernization, and the global adoption of indoor vertical farming will revolutionize food production and distribution," says Bernard Sleijster, Partner and Director of Urban Health Farms (UHF). This year, we’re kicking off the launch of three new showcase farms in Italy, France and Spain, alongside professional investors and other parties.”
“The first phase of operation are our showcase farms, which will be financed through the issuance of Convertible Bonds, and will allow us to swiftly begin operations in all three countries. During the second phase, we will launch our industrial-scale, fully automated indoor vertical farms using an Equity Fund as the finance structure of choice.”
Around the summer of 2021, UHF will launch a €100 million funding collaboration with a Luxembourg-based Fund Manager. Bernard says that they’ll need €10 million per farm covering all capital expenditures and that they will soon be operating in 10 different locations.
The showcase farm design
The Belgium-based company is the partnership between Urban Farms Capital and Urban Crop Solutions. While Urban Crop Solutions provides the technology, Urban Health Farmsmanages and operates the farms. “Within the company, we see ourselves as technology agnostic. This is a young, rapidly growing industry, and as such, the technology is constantly changing. Instead of focusing on that, we like to partner with companies that are already experts in this field, clearing the way for us to give our attention on what we do best, which is the production, marketing and distribution of healthy natural food.”
“I don’t believe in the one-size-fits-all principle,” says Bernard. “Every country and region has different characteristics in terms of food, culture, and consumer demands. We are adapting our farms to the local market demand and preferences, bringing diverse technologies together and customizing them to each farm.
Therefore, I don't think there is only one technology that is better than all the others. When we develop a farm, we look at it from a crop perspective. We want to solve problems within the food supply chain, and that starts at the intersection between agriculture and technology.”
A sustainable focus
Combining cutting-edge engineering and biology, the Showcase Farms are scalable, adaptable and efficient. Comprised of 10 sea containers that are interconnected, and providing eight growing areas, Urban Health Farms will be operational quickly, allowing for the transition to the second phase of operation.
Urban Health Farms aims to be as sustainable as possible and has begun the process of becoming a certified B Corp. Bernard says that when incorporating sustainability as much as UHF has, it has to be reflected throughout a company’s customer- and staff interaction. “Consumers today want to support companies that provide local solutions to global problems, and our products can offer them that.”