“Building a vertical farm is not rocket science. With all of the information available online and a little creativity, you don’t need a lot of money to begin a small operation,” says Alberto Riesco, founder of Verde Vertical, a vertical farming company located in Puerto Varas in Chilean Patagonia.
Alberto has extensive experience working in fruit tree nurseries, high-tech greenhouses and tissue culture labs in Chile and California. However, he was not well versed in vertical farming until he had the opportunity to interview for a position at Plenty. While he did not get the job, he had already fallen in love with vertical farming technology and decided to start a vertical farm himself.
In April 2022, Verde Vertical was founded. The farm consists of a 40-foot shipping container with a five-level hydroponic system with a capacity of 3.000 plants per month. The farm is not yet running at full capacity and is currently producing basil and lettuce. The products are sold by subscription, with a head of butterhead lettuce costing $1.70 and a bunch of basil $2.00. This is roughly 10% higher than supermarket prices, but the quality of the product makes it worthwhile.
“Traditional farmers work with a lot of chemicals and people have lost their trust in the quality of the produce,” says Alberto.
'The ideal solution for Chile?'
As Alberto explains, vertical farming in Chile would allow consumers to access not only chemical-free products, but also fresher products. Chile is a very long country, with 95% of greens reportedly grown in the central area and then needing to travel thousands of kilometers north or south to reach consumers.
“Our vision is to have vertical farms in every city in northern and southern Chile so that we can provide communities with local, sage and traceable food,” explains Alberto.
Before expanding throughout Chile, Alberto will be working diligently to maximize production on his current farm so that all known issues are handled prior to expanding.
For more information:
Alberto Riesco, Founder
+56 991 585 095