Farm.One is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to complete the construction of their neighborhood farm and to increase grow space, to serve 2,500 of weekly subscribers. At this point, the farm is already delivering to hundreds of customers out of the facility, and the buildout will complete the events- and retail space.
“When finished, the farm will make it a true destination where people can visit, taste and learn about urban farming. We're building something that can be the heart of the community,” says Rob Laing, Founder and CEO of Farm.One, a Brooklyn-based (NY) vertical farm.
Rob Laing and chef Priyanka
Growing with the community
The neighborhood farm concept is all about growing fresh food where people live. The benefit of a 10,000 sq. ft. (930m3) farm, in a city for small-scale local production is huge, according to Rob. He explains that the farm can deliver just a few hours after harvest, people can visit and see how their food is grown.
Besides that, fresh food jobs are visible right there in the community. The reusable container system used by Farm.One eliminates plastic waste that wouldn't work if they were sold through a grocery store. “We've brought together a bunch of innovations like this that show how different our food system can be. This is the real promise of vertical farming technology, being able to grow food in our cities,” Rob affirms.
Rob explains that they are not ruling out venture financing or a combined approach. “Crowdfunding is hard and I told myself I would never do it again. But we're doing it this time because we have a lot of loyal supporters around the world who have been inspired by Farm.One, and want us to succeed. We have happy members who want to see us survive and thrive. So we have a wide base of support. Let's see if we can make it happen.”
According to Rob, Farm.One is in a tricky situation. “We have amazing product and market fit and unit economics that work. Our customers love their subscription, they rave about it on social media, they stay on the platform for a long time, and they add more and more items to their bag as the months go on.”
Farm.One has achieved a 48% gross margin on its greens and has been improving yield progressively, states Rob. There’s thousands of customers out there in NYC alone that can be fed by Farm.One. “We have a team which now has years of experience growing probably the best-tasting product in the industry. So I hope there's a future for that, and I hope it's something that our industry wants to support,” Rob adds.