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Australian start-up signs $55 million contract with Canadian grower

Sunshine Coast-based Vertical Farm Systems (VFS) has recently signed a $55 million contract with a Canadian grower who will use their automated technology to grow leafy greens indoors on their multi-level, indoor growing system - the XA Warehouse System.

Vertical Farm Systems is the only equipment seller in Australia providing fully automated growing systems to produce nutritious fresh food at scale, indoors, year-round.

Ashley Thomson and John Leslie formed Vertical Farm Systems in 2009. The Vertical Farm Systems XA Series Warehouse System is the result of nine years of intensive development and commercial testing. The technology allows producers to grow a wide range of leafy greens and herbs indoors, 52 weeks a year, and is almost entirely automated. In fact, it is so automated, it can be operated by just one person.

The system allows growers more control over their bottom line thanks to:

  • Reliable harvests: no seasonal crops and no crop losses. Consistent and reliable harvest times and product quality. Allows commercial growers to commit to delivery schedules and offtake agreements. 
  • Minimal overheads: up to 30% ROI can be achieved with ideal power and building rental costs compared to 3- 4% for open-field farmers. (Source: CSIRO)
  • Lower labor costs: a system producing 400kgs per week requires one worker for only six hours a week, reducing labor costs.
  • Lower water use: the XA Series uses 95% less water than open-field farming.
  • Lower transport costs: the XA Series systems can be installed in any geographic location that offers suitable power and water supplies. Strategic positioning close to the point of sale or in distribution hubs decreases the time from harvest to consumer and reduces costs for refrigerated storage and transport.
  • Optimum crop yields: over a year, a small XA Series system with 500m² of building floor area can produce the same harvest as 8 acres of traditional farming.

Ashley Thomson, Managing Director of Vertical Farm Systems, says the future looks bright for their “overnight success.” “It may seem like we’ve come out of nowhere, but we’ve been working on this technology for almost a decade. Now we’re able to take it to the market we can see the massive global potential. In addition to our Canadian customer, we have sold units to growers in New Zealand, the UK, and we’re currently negotiating multi-million dollar deals in the UAE and the USA,” he said.

For more information:
Vertical Farm Systems

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