“Having grown countless tons of leafy greens it was time for some more color in our testing facilities,” says Alexandre Van Deun, Co-Founder of Urban harvest.
Tasty strawberries all year round
“We believe we should focus on more complex crops which can really benefit from controlled environment agriculture and therefore our next challenge is set to develop an end-to-end solution for growing strawberries, from supplying the growing system and know-how all the way up to providing the young plants to the growers.”
Inside the R&D facility
Urban Harvest has been around since 2017 as a vertical farming company, with a strong track record for producing aromatic herbs for one of Belgians largest retailers using their in-house developed growing systems. With their passion to create a sustainable impact, they are now converting their indoor growing know-how into indoor farming solutions for professional growers.
"Urban Harvest has designed a specific system for growing strawberries indoors with a focus on lowest possible CapEx and OpEx always challenging their own figures against the ones of the market," Alexandre adds.
The strawberry trial
Propagation, the next big thing in vertical farming?
“We’ve booked great results during some customer trials in our facilities for the propagation of specific crops which already resulted in customers ordering their first commercial growing system with us."
The Urban Harvest systems are suitable for the propagation of a wide variety of unrooted cuttings. Alexandre adds, "with our in-house designed systems for control of the light, climate, irrigation, etc, they can tweak the growing environment for the best and most predictable yield possible."
Olivier Paulus (front) and Alexandre Van Deun (in the back)
When starting a project, the Urban Harvest team will always answer the following question together with the customer “Does it make sense?” and if not, we go back to the basics and analyze the business case to see how we can come to a solution that makes sense, explains Alexandre. "Urban Harvest's goal is to make sure our systems are success stories for our customers."
The team is ready to support the customer from its initial idea all the way up to supporting the production when the system has been commissioned. "We have been successful and profitable growers using indoor farming systems and we want to share this knowledge with our customers. We want to keep our solutions as simple as possible and keep investment and operational costs within range.” Alexandre notes.
Ongoing client research in another cell
It’s time for the masks to drop
“There are many challenges ahead for vertical farming companies and one of them is transparency. How many resources are we using, and do we dare to talk about this in public?” Urban Harvest is keen to work on this data sharing, not only to inform customers and consumers more about the benefits of vertical farming but also to create a level playing field for vertical farming technologies to be compared with each other.
The R&D facility
Ready to grow together
Urban Harvest is expanding rapidly to follow customer demands. The team has several positions open, offering new job opportunities. Urban Harvest also offers customer research using their own R&D facilities, these tests are often the first step to starting to use an indoor farming system.
Together with their clients, the Urban Harvest team comes up with effective and affordable solutions. “We have successfully commissioned the first systems in Belgium and the Netherlands with more projects coming up soon.”