“What started as a smaller-sized plan has now grown into a large project by creating a local food production ecosystem that will soon benefit a larger area in Southwest Finland, in the city of Lohja, in collaboration with Rosk’ N Roll Oy and Gasum Oy. “Currently, we’re building up the fundamentals for the project by assigning roles to each party and securing funding for the whole operation,'' explains Henri Laine, founder and CEO of Redono, a Finnish agtech company.
Henri was working on a big circular project which was scheduled to start in spring 2020, but then covid hit. Once the project was put on hold for Redono, an agtech company using industrial sidestreams for indoor farm nutrition, Henri did not want to lose focus on potential work. He, therefore, was working between 2020 till the end of 2021 for the city of Vantaa, Finland, where he was accountable for running a sustainable food cluster and as project manager for the EU-funded ‘CircularHoodFood’-project. The cluster consisted of several large and smaller companies active in the food sector. As well as restaurants, logistics companies, all active in the field of food.
A sustainable food cluster
“I wanted to figure out how we could create a larger community for this project. Soon after combining multiple efforts, the food cluster community grew from 30 to 70 companies. Once everyone sat down, we set a plan to develop a more sustainable city through new food innovations, all together in an efficient way. We started brainstorming on how local food could be produced by using local- and innovative technologies. As well as how we could combine the strengths of startups and larger corporations to reinforce the shared efforts.” Henri notes.
Positive feedback and support
Not only has Henri received lots of positive acknowledgment from participating parties, but as well as the local government backing the cluster. There are several other EU-funded programs behind them that are willing to support sustainable food development- and carbon-neutral plans. As well as the farm to fork strategies.
Now Henri has reactivated the project where Redono will build a commercial scaled food production ecosystem next to the existing biogas plant located in Lohja, Finland.
Redono's waste stream processing scheme
Biogas converted into fertilizer
There is a biogas plant using biowaste collected from the larger area of Southern Finland. He notes, “With that biogas plant, basically our food waste will be produced into biogas as renewable energy and the digestive is useable as fertilizers for farming new foods. We can bring on-site technology, with help of our BioFeed-solution, allowing different types of agtech companies to recycle the produced fertilizer for sustainable local food production.”
The fertilizer has been commercialized as fully organic yet, for traditional agriculture on crop fields. Therefore, Henri is now ready to bring these advantages into the CEA space. Through Redono, biomass and fertilizer is generated which can be put to use in either vertical farms or greenhouses, and even for microalgae production and hydroponic hops or mushrooms. Based on the crops cultivated and preferred results, Redono can tailor its solution to the customer's request by filtering or adding specifics to the end product.
According to Henri, the project is bringing different food- and agtechs together, solving many problems for smaller producers. By sharing common services together like logistics and storage to get produce to consumers, resources are used efficiently and are less costly.
“Now with Redono, having its own patented method and technology connecting agtech to recycle industrial sidestream, we’re becoming a player of building up food-related communities where players can join and become one through circular economy,” he added.
Using side waste streams to nurture other crops
Collaborating on improvement
Henri has been involved in the industry for almost a decade now. He has connected with almost all main universities in Finland to focus on indoor farming ecosystems. The company has one R&D farm that was originally established in 2019 for Henri’s indoor hops farming experiment, creating a model for sustainable breweries.
After conducting many R&D trials focusing on solving several issues, many new ideas were generated by participating students. He adds, “The fun part about these collaborations is that we’re both educating each other on new learnings and ideas. We can now solve concrete problems that we’ve analyzed together.”
“Now, it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together. We just need to get the financials right and move forward from here on. Now with collaborations with a couple of larger organizations, we feel confident that the new sustainable food production ecosystem will come together.” Henri adds.
Now when the pieces are coming together our mission towards the most sustainable food in the world is all coming together through collaborations with larger organizations and startups.
Henri explains that this type of model can be incorporated in any city. After this, the goal is to scale it into other areas in Finland and eventually go global with this.