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US (MI): Planted Detroit steps it up with production capacity and efficiency

“We have been hard at work increasing our production capacity, optimizing plant recipes, and planning for future expansion. 2022 was the most exciting year in Planted Detroit’s four-year history, wherein we hit another record year for sales, added several jobs, and deployed another layer of automation to our facility through Argus Controls,” says Tom Adamczyk, founder and CEO of Planted Detroit.

The Detroit-based vertical farm sells 22 varieties of baby greens, herbs, and microgreens, as well as ready-to-eat salads, to consumers directly, as well as to restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, and other distributors.

“We are hyper-focused on supplying our products to our immediate community in Detroit and Southeast Michigan through our website, which provides convenient subscription services delivered right to your door,” says Tom.

Adding 9.000 square feet in 2023
In 2022, Planted Detroit operated out of a 20,000-square-foot warehouse with two growing rooms, each equipped with unique technologies to allow the farm to test different systems. The warehouse is equipped with two types of LED lighting, two hydroponic systems, and a single database system for data collection and analysis. Data collected from these two grow rooms are instrumental in developing models for future projects. Aside from the 20.000-square facility, Planted Detroit is also finishing construction of a second 9,000-square-foot facility for production and research.

“While we have been scaling our production and revenue, our operation is in continuous research and development mode to identify efficiencies and improvements that can be made week to week,” explains Tom.

Hurdles to vertical farming in 2023
As Tom explains, rising costs across nearly all categories have impacted consumers and businesses alike and Planted Detroit has taken measures to protect pricing and supply chain shortages, such as maintaining a significant inventory of materials and optimizing its use of grow media, electricity, etc. Despite rising costs, Planted Detroit has been able to continue hiring new positions and regularly increase the pay rates for all employee categories over the past three years.

As Tom explains, “all of the challenges we are facing are a testament to our business model of just-in-time manufacturing, premium product offering, and omnichannel revenue approach that will allow Planted Detroit to achieve economies of scale and profitability.”

Moving forward, Tom expects the primary hurdle in 2023 to be the utilization of technological tools to keep the Planted Detroit team connected and collaborative while deploying their just-in-time model at an ever-increasing scale.

Working with Pipp Horticulture to put salads on every table
Planted Detroit is moving ahead with Pipp Horticulture as its primary provider of racking systems due to its versatility which allowed Planted Detroit to add advanced ebb-and-flow hydroponic technology to the racking system.

Yet, the irrigation and lighting systems on the Pipp racks were designed and implemented by Planted Detroit. The irrigation system allows Planted Detroit to adjust the watering frequency, duration, and nutrients per zone according to the crop variety. The added lighting system is also flexible, with the farm using a combination of full-spectrum LED lighting and dynamic LED lighting.

“This combination of dynamic technologies allows us to remain flexible with our crop production schedules according to changes in sales demand, a perfect match for our just-in-time manufacturing model for vertical farming,” says Tom.

In 2023 and beyond, Planted Detroit’s goal is to continue designing and building more efficient and productive facilities to create more products that consumers love and that drive the vertical farming industry forward.

For more information:
Tom Adamczyk, Founder and CEO
Planted Detroit
[email protected] 

Pipp Horticulture
2966 Wilson Drive NW
Walker, Michigan 49534
Tel.: 616-988-4044
Fax: 616-988-4045
[email protected]