Demand for ultra fresh produce drives agri-innovation forward

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Modular farming systems are gaining popularity due to their ability to produce food locally anywhere in the world without any temperature, weather or seasonal constraints.

There is a growing demand for food sourced locally, as consumers seek to buy the freshest produce possible. Consequently, this demand has set off a new urban farming trend involving the local production of food through modular systems that allow for easy production anywhere, anytime.

These modular systems are self-contained units that optimise the use of space and resources. Through controlled, measured environments producers can easily grow food by mimicking the ideal conditions for each specific type of produce without wasting any resource. The systems use technology such as LED lighting, drip irrigation systems, substrate and even bees to organically pollinate the flowers.

The growing popularity of this farming method and its benefits has attracted the attention of many investors and entrepreneurs who are looking to exploit the potential of this market.

One of the companies entering this market is Exsilio, a Finnish group looking to offer restaurants and caterers the opportunity to produce every ingredient they need all in one place by using renovated containers to grow everything from salads to herbs.

Exsilio’s chief executive, Thomas Tapio, said: “Our solution is ideal for example for restaurants and institutional kitchens wanting to produce their own ingredients.”

“The modules also serve as an excellent option for farmers to replace their traditional greenhouses with.”

Exsilio would sell their 13-metre long ‘EkoFarmer’ units to those establishments, who will then be able to supply to themselves the most fresh and local ingredients. The units only need water and electricity to run, and humidity, water and carbon dioxide levels can be easily monitored.

Someone else joining the modular farming bandwagon is Portuguese company CoolFarm. Their idea is similar to Exsilio’s, as they hope to grow high-quality food for local hotels and restaurants in the island of Madeira.

“This is the first urban, indoor and vertical farming project in Portugal capable of providing a suitable answer to consumers demands.” 

“Living vegetables will now be delivered keeping all the transparency, traceability, freshness, nutrition values and flavour possible.”

The in/store units use only 10% of the water used in traditional agricultural methods, and due to its self-contained environment it does not require any herbicides or pesticides.

The growing interest in closed-loop systems such as Exsilio’s and CoolFarm’s has resulted in an increasing number of companies creating them - helping to shorten the distance in the supply chain.

Source: Fruit Net