Bringing fruit crops to vertical farming

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Bringing fruit crops to vertical farming

Tim Hammerich
Journalist

It’s time to publish your Farm of the Future report. I am Tim Hammerich.

Vertical farming has caught the attention of the investment community, but production is still limited to mostly leafy greens. John Purcell and his team at Unfold hope to help vertical farms grow in fruit crops by providing them with new genetic and digital solutions.

Purcell… “They have to expand the cultures. I mean, there’s a reason why, you know, greenhouse and greenhouse growers grow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers. They are highly differentiable. There are products that allow the consumer to think about the sensory experience. You know, there’s a way for you to really, really reach out to a market that’s looking for a better customer experience. And I think you can do that in hardwoods, but when you get into fruit crops you have a lot more opportunities.

Purcell says vertical farms can offer some of the same benefits that greenhouse growers already offer, but with the benefit of higher crop densities.

Purcell… “The same reason tomatoes, you know, most of the high end stuff is grown in greenhouses, right. I mean, and these growers, it’s really the closest thing more vertical farming. High tech, very knowledgeable about how they grow this crop. They can’t control the complete environment because it’s the glass house, but they do a very good job. And they have a very consistent quality but they still suffer during certain parts of the season because you have sun swings, you have temperature swings that they try to control and hopefully the vertical can fill in the gaps which could be in the domestic high-tech glass market which already provides excellent products there.

Unfold started as a joint venture between Bayer Crop Sciences and Temasek to focus on vertical farming.

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