“Since we’ve started the pilot farm in Japan, we’ve had several parties reaching out for large-scale projects throughout the country," says Lennart Bijl, Operation Manager at Own Greens. The Dutch-based company is currently finetuning farming techniques in order to create a concept that can be quickly rolled out throughout Japan, and later on worldwide.
"We’re focusing on promoting our Own Greens brand in the fresh produce market. Whereas we’re also currently expanding partnerships with market players,” Lennart adds.
Currently, the company is running a pilot farm in Japan, in collaboration with Kaneya Co., LTD. Kaneya operates the farm, whereas Own Greens patented growing technology is used. The facility grows up to 300.000 crops per year, which is supplied to several local supermarkets in the area.
The growing facility in Japan
“Our large-scale solution is designed to produce large quantities of leafy greens and fresh herbs in the most efficient way possible. This unique technology makes full automation possible and ensures an ultra-clean growth chamber to prevent contamination in the system. Key terms in this concept are Safe, Simple and Scalable and multiple elements are patented by Own Greens.” The company provides solutions with a floor space of 1000-5000m2, with a cultivation area that consists of more than 5000m2.
Own Greens' products and services, can be divided into three divisions. Namely, large-scale farming projects, B2B growing chambers (PlantHome Pro) and Own Greens Home, a small grow-kit used by consumers. The Vitro Plus-owned company, works closely with Nijssen, Bever Innovations, KV techniek and Kaneya. These collaborations are focusing on three keystones, namely production, presentation and product.
Lennart Bijl checking the PlantHome Pro produce
Own Greens has been piloting its products, at a local supermarket, Albert Heijn. “Initially we started the project to gain more awareness on vertical farming and its benefits, says Lennart. “We used flyers that visitors could take along, and our product packaging has a removable paper wrap around it which explains the production process of each product.”
As the project gained lots of attention from visitors, Own Greens is now supplying its vertically grown basil, mint and lettuce crops to the store. The living herbs and lettuce are sold on bamboo paper pots, which contain water to increase the shelf life. Customers can keep the products in their home outside the fridge for up to a month.
PlantHome indoor garden
The PlantHome can be installed in any space wanted. It’s just a case of plugging in and growing. Both the PlantHome Pro and regular PlantHome home-kit make use of separated containers that contain plugs or pads with seeds. The PlantHome Pro device has multiple layers and can grow up to 30 plants per layer. Whereas it doesn’t include automation and a climate system, the indoor farm is easy to use. The mineral- and plant capsules can easily be applied into the trays so the crops will intake all nutrients needed. Customers now include restaurants, day-care centers, and canteens.