Since production is going well and all projects are taken off, Tusya has been keeping her eyes open for innovation. In 2019 Together with the Adjara Group, Tusya constructed the first vertical farm in Georgia, located in Hotel Stamba, fulfilling the demand of restaurants, hotels and other catering industry players. As a result of the growing demand, a new project has been launched: Modular Farm Spots by SpaceFarms. The farm spots are growing cabinets comprising 2,5m.
“This prototype showed us what we can improve to get an even better outcome for our next model. However, in order to roll out a more advanced product, we have to raise funding. The funding will contribute to applying more advanced technology inside the farm,” says Tusya Garibashvili, Founder of SpaceFarms.
Since the company is run by Tusya, a female entrepreneur, she is all about encouraging women in agtech. "We need more women to enter the industry, as there are great opportunities ahead. I'm sure many will enjoy it as much as I do."
Low energy- and water consumption
On a regular basis, the cabinets can produce up to 15-20kg of crops per month, Tusya gives away. Unlike traditional farming in Georgia, which is mainly open field, the Spot only uses 10KW per day. Here you’d pay 5 lari per day, which is 1,50EUR and 1,71USD. Besides the low energy consumption, the total amount of water needed is 100l per month. Since the water is recycled on a daily basis, the utility is very low in general.
The cabinet can be controlled via an app, however, the software has been outsourced thus far. Everything can be controlled, such as temperature, humidity, lights, etc. All products are sourced from Georgia, except for the lights.
SpaceFarms offers full technical support, monitoring consulting. As well as the seedlings which are sold at the farm. The cabinets can be used anywhere, but these Spots are specifically to meet the increasing demand from the catering industry. “It’s ideal for customers to pick up their fresh produce right at the spot. Besides that, it’s fully transparent which shows customers how the crops are cultivated, creating a certain trust,” Tusya adds.
Inside the Spot, several crops can be grown, such as: basil, swiss chard, edible flowers, and others. In particular, edible flowers are a big hit in Georgia currently. Therefore Tusya is very glad to supply the Spots as it will allow the catering industry to grow flowers themselves.
Tusya has seen a growing demand for business owners that want to grow their own fresh produce in-house. Normally, the crops grown inside the Spots or at SpaceFarms are only seasonally available. Therefore, it would offer them a great advantage to have these crops available any time and consistent quality. It will help restaurants to add more value to their product range.
Some of the products have been reserved yet, as we launched some early bird spots. SpaceFarms has also received some foreign requests for the growing cabinets. It’s all about accelerating funding now to ramp up production.
Tusya said that many households are starting to grow crops on their balconies, in gardens and inside the house. SpaceFarms, therefore, will be looking into tinier cabinets for household use specifically. The prototype has shown really good potential, so the team is going to accelerate R&D processes even more.
“We know for a fact that this is increasing, since many order seeds from our farms. They love to farm themselves, however, when growing in a closed environment there’s way more to offer. Especially for products like strawberries.”
Help wanted in product development and software
As Tusya does most of the work and design herself thus far, she’d be very welcoming to people that can help in terms of Product development and Software to join the team.
“I’d love to connect with design engineers that can help design trays, irrigation systems, and pumps that are more advanced than the current ones we use. As well as companies that are working with automation to create their own app controls. We’re very willing to collaborate."