"We can grow 14 different strains of gourmet mushrooms in our container farms, with 3-4 strains per container and up to 2,000 lbs of mushrooms per 20-ft container per month, depending on the strain," says Jonathan Murray, co-founder, and CEO of Adapt Agtech. The company supplies container farming systems designed for gourmet mushroom production.
The company then provides the grower with the substrate blocks, which need only be fruited and sold. As growers begin to understand the process and look to expand, Adapt Agtech will have additional farm models that include a lab unit for inoculation and colonization. This will also be interesting for island nations and rural locations.
"For island nations and rural areas where logistics are challenging, we have a design with the lab included to reduce restocking. All of the equipment is designed for longevity and to be operated entirely on solar power," explains Jonathan.
Solar power turning location into a competitive advantage
According to Jonathan, getting an electrical hook-up is cost-prohibitive as it costs $50.000-70.000 for locations that do not have existing power outlets. Thanks to Adapt Agtech's use of solar power and its five-day lithium battery back-up, the farm can be installed and operational within a day, with no electrical hook-up required. This allows Adapt Agtech's technology to be installed virtually anywhere.
While a water hook-up is ideal for humidification, Jonathan notes that the grower can instead have water delivered periodically. That said, the company is also working with a US-based company that is developing water-harvesting technology to take water from the ambient air using solar power.
A container farm right in the midst of a neighborhood
Urban agriculture open to all
A salesman at heart, Jonathan understood the various barriers to entry and wanted to develop a system that would meet the least resistance possible. To this end, Adapt Agtech designed its solar container farms with ease of use in mind.
"Our goal is not just to capture as much of the market as possible but to also bring more people into agtech. We don't see competitors – only other suppliers that are part of the solution," says Jonathan. "We need so much food and new ways to grow it, so anybody entering the space is a welcome participant rather than a competitor."
When Adapt Agtech first launched, other mushroom farmers, welcomed the company as it provides a different way of expanding their business and bringing mushroom cultivation closer to the point of purchase. As Jonathan explains, entering a downtown core is challenging for urban farmers due to the high rent and the building limitations imposed by landlords. For example, maintaining a relative humidity of 80-90% for mushrooms in a commercial building is certainly not every landlord's dream.
With Adapt Agtech, anyone can grow gourmet mushrooms from a container designed specifically for this. Further, the company has partnered with REEF Technology, which is the largest operator of surface parking lots in the world. This allows Adapt Agtech to help new growers find lots where their container farm can be installed. From there, growers can decide whether to own their container outright or to rent it and adopt a profit-sharing model.
"We can help potential growers find the best model that works for them. They just need a spot, and we can work with REEF Technology to find you one of 8,000 parking lots to put your container on," explains Jonathan.
Pink oyster ready to be used for dinner
Ensuring supply chain stability and transparency
As a company focused on the 'Why?", Adapt Agtech wants to be sure that it delivers on its promises and sources its materials responsibly. This is increasingly challenging in a world mired with supply chain issues and shortages, and container farms are not immune to this. With the global shortage of shipping containers, a few advocates for Adapt Agtech have a strategic interest in a new container manufacturing company, which will ensure that Adapt Agtech can deliver up to 20 containers per month.
Thanks to Adapt Agtech and the manufacturers' close relationship, the speed of innovation can be from one container to the next, as Jonathan explains.
"If we identify a new type of solar panel array to maximize power, we can do that on the next container. If we develop a new racking system to maximize square footage, we can implement these in the next containers. We can learn faster and create the most optimized system possible."
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Jonathan Murray, Co-Founder, and CEO