“We believe the future lies in safe, fresh food produced locally to decrease food miles. That is why we turned to urban vertical farming, intending to cater to this sector by providing a platform,” Amir Imam, CEO of FarmBox Inc. states.
Doing so by producing safe, healthy, nutritious, and fresh food that helps the community, especially in harsh climates. FarmBox, a Canada-based agtech, provides customizable plug-and-play farms made from refurbished shipping containers and recycled plastic.
Amir continues, “We try to give all of our customers a farm that suits their needs. All of them are powered by AI and are equipped with remote monitoring systems and IoT, thus providing all the technology needed to run the farms optimally. Regardless of the weather, or of how often customers can actually be present in the farm, the systems in place will make sure everything will run smoothly.”
With the help of these monitoring systems, AI can determine the optimal lighting, temperature, and nutrition for the plants and thus increase yields, and can deduct anomalies before they do any serious damage. Of course, something can go wrong anywhere, but if it does, there will be a team of experts ready to assist.
Containers and their benefits
FarmBox chose to cultivate inside container farms as they bring various advantages with them, especially when looking towards the future. First of all, they can be stacked on top of each other, thus using space in the most optimal way, which is especially handy in densely populated areas. Containers can be moved around easily, and, because of their relatively small size, they can be placed right next to the location where the produce is sold, such as markets or restaurants.
FarmBox supplies several containers to have customers decide what suits them best. Three ‘Boxes’ can be picked from, such as the OmegaBox, available in a 20- or 40 feet container. Besides that, there’s the SolarBox, as well available in a 20- or 40 feet container with solar panels to produce the electricity needed to keep the farm running. Lastly, the HerbBox which is a container that allows to grow herbs or cannabis, among others.
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Focus on greens
At FarmBox, they do not believe the food of the future includes meat. “Of course, there are alternatives, such as organic meats, but we don’t think this will be a huge factor in the future’s diet – it might become a fast-growing industry, but we don’t believe it will ever account for more than 10 to 15 percent of total food consumption,” the team said.
That is why we focus on the production of leafy greens: veggies are the food of the future.” In the container farms, various leafy greens, herbs, and fruits are grown, such as spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, collard, parsley, turnip, coriander, strawberry, cherry tomato, rosemary, oregano, mint, and basil, and even more, varieties are in the works.
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FarmBox plans to expand into the US and Europe in the future, but first, their focus is on Canada: “We see that Canada offers many opportunities for vertical farming, and thus that is where we want to start promoting our solutions. Our main goal is to partner with Canadian suppliers so they can support our customers locally. After all, providing service is just as important as selling your product,” Amir affirms.
Currently, the company is in the midst of signing various Letters of Intent in order to expand further. What is more, FarmBox’s focus on producing locally is not just for the vegetables grown in their farms. However, it’s also on the materials used to build and support those farms. As well as adding new members to the team in order to increase their knowledge and to be able to assist the customer as well as possible.