“While many of our competitors are staying relatively localized, we don’t feel that that approach demonstrates scale nor our tech and IP’s ability for global reach. For us, those elements are key,” says Travis Kanellos, chief strategy officer at Elevate Farm.
Elevate Farm is a vertical farming company that combines proprietary LED technology, automation and decades of research to build state-of-the-art facilities, beginning in Canada but quickly expanding to other countries. According to Travis, Elevate Farm provides the technology, IT and know-how to get the facility operational, after which they continue to work with the select partners on new product development, lighting strategies, etc.
Three new farms
For Elevate, 2021 has been a year of gathering data from 5,000-square foot Niagara facility, building a flagship facility in New Jersey and expanding to New Zealand. As a Canadian company, Elevate is scheduled to build an additional three vertical farms on Canadian soil but believes that Canada (with two operational facilities today) is a stepping stone to much more populous areas.
“We have been focused on operationalizing Canada but our expansion is occurring rapidly. Our facility in New Jersey will be our first corporate, wholly-owned facility and will be finished Q1 of 2022,” explains Travis.
The New Jersey will be working closely with US Foods with regards to the offtake of products from the facility. Elevate has also formed partnerships in New Zealand and will begin installing facilities on the island in Q3/Q4 2022.
Focus on Oceania
“As an island nation, New Zealand has its own challenges so it is pushing for self-sufficiency. Our partners are looking to build a handful of facilities on the island to bolster an already robust produce industry,” Travis says.
Once successfully installed in New Zealand, Elevate is hoping to tackle the rest of the Oceania market but also has a number of projects in deep diligence phases in Central Europe, Nordic countries and the Middle East. Aside from the company’s major expansion plans, Elevate is continuously pushing its research and development to perfect leafy greens and other product categories.
According to Travis, the agtech industry has received tremendous support from consumers’ increased understanding of sustainable resources. That said, a key element often lacking in agtech is affordability, with “many indoor farms producing products for the 1% of the 1%,” says Travis.
Elevate instead aims to get farm-equivalent pricing and products into consumers' hands to ensure that its products reach the masses on a wholesale basis.