“We have more than twenty-five parameters that a grower can change any time. So rather than moving a crop between zones, you can adjust the parameters and not move the crop at all,” says Vincent Paradis, Business Development Director at HRVST Limited.
HRVST Limited is an indoor farming company that provides hyper-controlled turnkey production systems. The company was created in 2015 as a joint venture between Inventive Laboratory, Inc. and Florentaise. Inventive Laboratory Inc. is a research and development firm based in Québec and specialized in agricultural lighting and automation. Florentaise is a French company and trades in horticultural substrate innovation, manufacturing and distribution.
As HRVST Limited, the two companies pool their respective expertise to provide turnkey vertical farming solutions complete with a fully customizable modular framework, water-cooled LED lighting with crop-specific spectra, automated irrigation and climate control, a row-by-row airflow control system and many other features.
“The HRVST vertical farm technology can accommodate a variety of plants, including the plants that are more difficult to grow in traditional farming or greenhouse technology. Due to the hyper-controlled environment, we can ensure a constant quality of the plants and thus accommodate high-value pharmaceutical plants as much as high-value vegetables and greens. We offer our customers the possibility to try out their desired plants in our training and validation center," Vince notes.
As Vincent explains, HRVST Limited operates two training and validation centers – one in Québec (Canada) and another in France. These facilities are used to trial various crops, develop growth recipes and provide support to its growers. The facility in France has the added benefit of being able to sell the crops through their distribution channels, which provides helpful feedback from the market and ROI data.
Aside from its training and validation centers, HRVST Limited has installed two large-scale facilities with a partner in Québec. This development is instrumental to the company’s customer service as it allows HRVST Limited to support growers throughout the growing process.
“Vertical farming is a big step for most people and jumping into this technology can be challenging and risky. Our goal is to support them all along the process, including growing expertise and knowledge, securing grants, ROI calculations, etc.,” Vincent notes.
Row-by-row environmental control
HRVST Limited equips its production systems with the latest in agricultural technology, including row-by-row airflow control to facilitate environmental control on a per-row basis. This allows growers to create specific growing conditions for a single row within its vertical racking technology, making it possible to cultivate different crops in the same system
“Many systems have fully open areas so you have the same conditions everywhere. We are able to create a specific micro-climate in every single row (including nighttime),” explains Vincent.
In addition to airflow, HRVST’s system also provides row-by-row control over-irrigation, lighting and numerous other parameters, bringing the tally up to more than 25 parameters. These parameters are part of various recipes that are adjusted according to the plant growth stages. On the lighting front, HRVST Limited installs water-cooled LEDs with customized spectra and from which heat can be recuperated and reused in another system.
This, according to Vincent, makes HRVST’s technology interesting for mixed-use applications, such as the combination of indoor farms, greenhouses or any other mechanical systems which could benefit from this heat recuperation. Amongst many other examples across the world, Québec’s climate makes year-round greenhouse production impossible without costly supplemental heating, the cost of which could be reduced if the greenhouse could recuperate heat from an indoor farm’s LEDs. Moving forward, HRVST Limited is looking to continuously add more features and improve existing growing recipes based on experimentation results.
Twenty-five parameters at your fingertips
HRVST Limited’s solution is nicely topped with a Linux-based interface that provides remote control over the production parameters from any web-connected device. The autonomy and wide visibility simplify farm management and makes it accessible to anyone looking to build an indoor farm. And according to Vincent, urban spaces and greenhouses provide a good space for building indoor farms to close feedback loops, mitigate climate-related challenges and improve food sovereignty.