Last month, Italy’s Planet Farms officially opened its new farm in Cavenago, just outside Milan. Described as the largest and most advanced vertical farm in Europe, the operation is the brainchild of Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Luca Travaglini and Daniele Benatoff.
Travaglini and Benatoff’s company emerged from the duo’s shared passion to break through traditional agriculture.
What makes your new facility different and unique from others?
Our union of world-class technology and the best of Italian agricultural tradition offers a concrete, scalable answer to the need for agronomic products that are healthy, high quality, low environmental impact, available all year round, and affordable for everyone. With its fully integrated supply chain, a seed comes in and a finished product goes out. We offer a virtuous system of food production that ensures food safety and protects against sudden climatic shocks that could compromise regular food supply and product quality.
Where some farms focus on the highest yield at the lowest cost, Planet Farms puts emphasis on flavor first. Can you share more around that philosophy and how you’re working with chefs to help promote your product?
We are proud of our partnership with the Cerea brothers, owners of the 3 Michelin Star restaurant Da Vittorio, in Brusaporto, near Bergamo. The collaboration started in 2020 during the pandemic, when we donated our products to the Bergamo hospital’s canteen which was managed by the Cerea brothers. They got to try our produce then and were so impressed by its authentic and fresh flavor that the idea of a partnership took form. That road led us to the construction of a Vertical Farm in Brusaporto to supply fresh products directly to the starred restaurant. We became two partners united by a common vision: bringing unique flavor and quality in everything we do. These are just some of the ingredients of this unique gastronomic experience that has developed into a true friendship between our organizations.
Tell us about what you are growing currently and if you have plans to add new crops or varieties.
Our crops grow naturally, thanks to light, water, air and minerals, but without exposure to stress caused by bad weather, excessive heat, parasites, pathogenic micro-organisms or competition with weeds. We currently have four different products; a baby blond lettuce called Lattugood and three different mixes called: Oriental Yummix, Spicy Yummix and Delicate Yummix. Our range is constantly expanding so stay tuned for more exciting launches!
Can you tell us a little about your AI system, Gaia VF
“Gaia VF” is a system for monitoring vegetable growth that generates a constant data flow for analysis, permitting the development of an increasingly ideal environment around the crops and improving production with each cycle. It is at the core of everything we do and analyses and optimizes every step in our automated process.
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