Brazilian farm grows to new heights

Pink Farms is located in Vila Leopoldina, a neighborhood in downtown São Paulo. Inside, towers of up to ten floors, lit by red and blue lamps, which simulate sunlight and result in a pink atmosphere that is an optimal environment to grow different types of vegetables, leafy greens, mushrooms, and some fruits. 

Geraldo Maia, one of the co-founders of Pink Farms alongside brothers Mateus and Rafael Delalibera, explained that the farmtech was born from the trio’s desire to create a technology business focused on the real-economy market, that would add technology to some product or process to impact the production chain in a disruptive way. 

“We looked for everyday problems and discovered the low variety and quality in growing vegetables and fruits. We realized that vertical farms solve several problems in this production chain: the scarcity of food, the use of native land, the low quality of food, and the intensive use of pesticides.”

The specifics of the model, said Maia, encouraged the development of the in-house technology. “There is no market solution that meets our model. So we developed 100% of the technology.” The result is a sealed growing system, where there is no air exchange between the growing environment and the outside environment. The technology ensures 100% control of the plant’s variables: from temperature to humidity and CO2 levels, the lighting, which is entirely artificial, to the nutrient solution the plants receive. 

Pink Farms’ R&D is in its fourth stage, according to Maia. The whole story began in 2016, with the technological validation phase, when the three co-founders developed and submitted the vertical farming system to a series of tests to verify that it was indeed efficient. 

Then came the phases of economic validation, with a pilot model of the farm, verification of processes and calculating costs per kilo produced, tests with suppliers and experimentation with more than 40 types of plants, until reaching the ideal portfolio; followed by commercial validation, in which the startup aimed to make adjustments to land on the best logistics and sales model.

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