“Other companies are focusing on UX, or user experience. At Liberty Produce, we focus on PX, the plant’s experience. We design our systems in response to plant and human factors. Getting feedback from the plants is key,” says Benita Rajania, Product Director at Liberty Produce.
Founded in 2018 by Dr. Philippe Mozzanega and Dr. Dylan Banks, Liberty Produce leveraged Dylan’s academic background in physics and engineering with Philippe’s in agronomy and biotechnology to develop dynamic agtech solutions for localized, sustainable food production and security. With a background in startups and commercialization, Benita has spearheaded the commercial strategy for Liberty Produce; the team has since grown to include 15+ employees.
The team showed some of their recent works during the VFD visit at their London office. Currently, they're working on GrowCube that help kids learn about hydroponics and be hands-on with the crops
In 2019, Liberty Produce opened its Dundee research facility, the Future Farming Hub, at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland in partnership with the UK agtech center Crop Health and Protection (CHAP). The facility’s mission is to provide a cutting-edge environment for research and testing in vertical farming.
Offering indoor farming tech
Liberty Produce offers a wide range of technologies for vertical farming such as containerized farms, nutrient delivery systems, horticultural lighting and integrated control systems. Liberty Produce also has its Future Farming Hub, aimed at developing and disseminating information on vertical farming through research & development, the Future Farming Hub School and the Future Farming Hub blog.
“When our clients are working with novel crops, we see that there is little research to support them so we offer consultancy through trials and research & development. A grower cannot develop their space without first understanding the plant,” says Philippe, highlighting the need to design production facilities with the crop in mind.
Liberty Produce offers two main containerized systems; its commercial farm model and the Liberator, the latter having been designed for remote locations and extreme environments. Both systems have fully integrated and controlled systems that recycle and reuse over 90% of its water supply, boast high efficiencies in nutrient delivery. The Liberator is designed to operate off-grid, can produce some of its own water supply and access renewable power. This makes the Liberator ideal for remote communities, NGOs, military and disaster relief groups, according to the company website.
LED lighting: FolioNova and SuperNova
Liberty Produce has developed two water-cooled LED lighting systems, thereby reducing the cooling load on the HVAC system, and has more under development. The FolioNova is a broad-spectrum light whilst the SuperNova has four fully tunable and programmable channels which allow the grower to modify the spectrum.
Aside from its hydroponic systems in the containerized farms, Liberty Produce has developed its Hydrobubble technology to infuse the irrigation water with microscopic gas bubbles to increase oxygenation, promote nutrient uptake and enhance root health.
Liberty Produce is also in the process of developing a fully integrated smart system that offers remote control of the vertical farm.
Research collaboration: a cornerstone
As Philippe explains, Liberty Produce often develops partnerships with its clients in order to conduct research and develop the best growth recipes. Benita suggests the focus on working closely with growers is a key differentiator of Liberty Produce.
“Part of why growers choose us is because we won’t make something unless it has a purpose. There are many off-the shelves products, but the big manufacturers offer a certain product and size, take it or leave it. We can bring crop-tailored solutions to the growers,” says Benita.