Agtech startup bringing 'farms' closer to consumers

Cornwall-based agtech startup ZipGrow purchased a 20,000-square-foot building earlier this year, allowing it to more than double its footprint. “We’re growing super fast,” says co-founder and president Eric Lang, a serial entrepreneur with a background in traditional farming methods.

The company, created in 2016, currently has a staff of 15. That’s expected to grow to 25 by the end of the year, says Lang, who likes Cornwall’s proximity to the bigger cities but “without the bigger city prices.”

ZipGrow has also launched a new partnership with food services and facilities management company Sodexo Canada. It will be introducing ZipGrow’s sustainable growing systems to clients in educational institutions, health-care centers, conference facilities and corporate food service centers, as well as remote mining camps that typically have limited access to year-round fresh food.

“Our vision is to have your food coming from as close as possible,” said Sodexo Canada corporate sustainability manager Davide Del Brocco, who’s also a trained chef. “We enjoy making our areas as green as possible and using that urban space to connect us a bit more with nature.”

“The goal on my end was to find a versatile indoor farming solution that could fit any space and really be an engagement piece,” added Del Brocco, who was the one to reach out to ZipGrow to discuss doing business together. “It grew so organically, pardon the pun.

It’s important to note, said Lang, that the technology doesn’t compete with local farmers growing crops such as corn and soybeans. It’s competing with the vegetable growers in Mexico and California.”

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