“Our towers range from 4-foot mini-towers to 10-feet tall, with a diameter of 2”, 3” or 4” depending on what the customer wants,” says Gunnar Shaffer, founder of Agrowponics LLC, an indoor agtech company that designs and manufactures vertical farming systems.
Agrowponics’ system consists of vertical growing towers with modular components for easy maintenance and an automated controller for data collection and remote troubleshooting. The system can be used in either commercial or residential settings. The towers are fully customizable and do not require plastic net cups or foam substrates such as those offered by competitors.
Gunnar Shaffer, founder
“We offer customized the spacing and width of the growing tower, with distances between grow spaces as little as 5” and up to 24”. This is useful if the grower wants to grow various types of herbs,” says Gunnar. “The customers’ ability to customize the spacing, diameter and growing media is the largest single advantage.”
Agrowponics’ growing towers are built with food-safe, non-plasticized PVC. Aside from the growing system, Agrowponics also provides design and consulting services to design every aspect of the vertical farming system from container, greenhouse, or warehouse down to the plumbing and pump. With both Gunnar and his co-founder Tom Burns having engineering backgrounds, all plans are inspected and approved prior to any construction.
From YouTube sensation to household name
As Gunnar explains, Agrowponics began as an educational research project in 2013. After posting several DIY YouTube videos and receiving a few million views, Gunnar had many messages from potential customers.
“We took our original design from the university research lab and integrated the negative customer feedback about other systems on the market to make the optimal product for vertical farming,” says Gunnar.
Agrowponics has installed farms of different sizes, with residential customers typically requiring two towers thus 42 growing spaces and an all-inclusive starter kit. Agrowponics has also installed 50-100 towers to different restaurants and food pantries and 100+ towers for clients looking to produce on a large scale.
Agrowponics currently has sales in 45 US states and in 12 countries. With the pandemic providing high levels of government stimulus and forcing the average American to spend more time at home, Agrowponics saw its sales nearly double during the pandemic.
“The US market is ripe for investment as we see more farmers’ markets, rooftop gardens, city balcony growers, commercial kitchens, and restaurants. Our system offers the grower the option to produce a high-quality organic product in the most limited of spaces to optimize quality and production,” says Gunnar.