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Australia: “In response to the high demand, we’ve had to introduce a waitlist”

"While other vertical farms have targeted direct consumer sales, we have strategically focused on a B2B model since day one, catering to top-tier restaurants in Melbourne. The exceptional demand and positive feedback from renowned chefs have been incredibly affirming. In response to the high demand, we've had to introduce a waitlist for new restaurant clients, underscoring the urgent need for our products and our excitement to see how essential our produce has become," says Marti Gritti, Head of Marketing.

Marco and Marti Gritti pictured at a conference

Starting from the ground up, the founding team—comprising Marco Gritti, Brook Kennedy and Dr. Zac Chatterton—has developed technology that, alongside a robust marketing strategy, has propelled Fifth Harvest to a swift and successful start. Since its inception in late 2022, the company has cultivated over 20 varieties of greens, including unique Italian varieties like Purple Basil, Castelfranco Lettuce, Cicorino Verde, and Grumolo Rosso.

The current farm systems blend existing technologies and new innovations in controlled environment agriculture and are overseen by Dr. Zac Chatterton, co-founder and Chief Science Officer.

Red Chard close-up

New site to meet growing demand
Located just 10km from Melbourne's CBD, Fifth Harvest's newest farm is set to ensure consistent and sustainable crop production. A new site is soon to be fully operational, just 10 kilometers from their primary customer base, featuring a 500m2 farm designed to meet growing demand.

"This expansion isn't just about scaling up—it's about fostering a community-focused approach to agriculture" says Marti. The farm operates on solar panels and is carbon neutral, aligning with Fifth Harvests sustainability ethos whilst also minimizing operational costs.

Boxes that are delivered around the Melbourne area, including unique Italian varieties

Stability first: targeting B2B
Looking ahead, the company is excited about broadening their crop range, outside the typical vertically grown produce of leafy greens and herbs - a significant move in a country heavily reliant on imports. This expansion aligns with their strategic focus to diversify offerings and enhance their market position.

"Despite the high demand, we maintain competitive pricing that aligns with industry standards, ensuring our products remain accessible without compromising on quality. Chefs particularly appreciate our ability to provide fresh crops all year round, as well as our capability to introduce new, otherwise unavailable varieties, overcoming local climatic and seasonal limitations," says Marti.

Marco Gritti seen speaking at a conference

Tapping into retail?
While currently focused on the B2B market, Fifth Harvest might consider a future shift to retail, navigating the complexities of large-scale demand and food waste management. The team also stresses the importance of consumer education, "It's about changing mindsets through ongoing education, drawing consumers towards sustainable choices," says Marti.

For more information:
Fifth Harvest
Martina Gritti, Head of marketing
[email protected]