“Having these units in restaurants will be an experience for guests, like having a lobster tank from which the customers can choose. Similarly, they can see the herbs and salads being used in their dishes,” says Raphael Schardt, co-founder, and CEO of Mana Farms.
Mana Farms is a German agtech company founded in 2020 and providing user-oriented vertical farming systems. The Mana Farm farming cabinet was developed for the foodservice industry, specifically for high-end restauranteurs looking to produce high-quality ingredients throughout the year.
Co-founders Richard Daser and Raphael Schardt
“We did a lot of market research and found this niche, the high-price hoteliers and gastronomists, where producing food on-site is a big marketing instrument,” explains Raphael.
As Raphael explains, the company has quickly developed since its establishment as investors were involved from the very start, providing Mana Farms with the financing needed to work full-time on developing its growing cabinet.
“We put a lot of research into developing the product itself on the technology, hardware, and software side. We also collect data for all the variables that are important in the farm. We collect these in the cloud and create growing recipes,” says Raphael.
The growing cabinet
The farming unit has a footprint of 90 x 120 cm and is 2.50 m tall. Each unit allows the user to produce 400-500 plants per month. Further, the system has a mobile channel system to facilitate crop work. The growing cabinet requires only a 230-V outlet.
Mana Farms has developed an online application that monitors and regulates the farm to control the farming cabinet. Through the application, the end-user can see what is going on in the cabinet, tell Mana Farms what they want to grow, and Mana Farms then implements the growing recipes.
The Mana Farms growing cabinet
According to Raphael, Mana Farms differentiates itself from its competitors through its patented (patent pending) mobile channel system. This makes the farm extremely simple to use.
“We are convinced that the next generation of indoor farming systems must be very user-focused and extremely easy to use. With our channel system, the seeding, harvesting, and cleaning are done outside of the farm, which makes the Mana Farm integrate perfectly in gastronomy-processes.” Raphael says.
Mana Farms is currently rolling out the first series of the Mana Farm to early customers. Orders for the next production can now be placed on the site.