Plants can go in any day now at the newly installed vertical farm by the Russian company iFarm. The project, which is located in the city of Novosibirsk, is eight layers high and is the first project of this size conducted by the iFarm team.
“Our technologies for vertical farming have passed another test", co-founder Konstantin Ulyanov shares proudly. "Earlier we projected and built small farms which we tested the automation on, sampled the taste quality and contents of the lettuce and herbs. We learned to scale the technology (three times for this particular project), and increased the amount of varieties that could be grown in our farm."
iFarm is a Russian vertical farming company that both operates farms and supplies the techniques to do so, as well as conducting a lot of research to get the best out of leafy greens, vegetables, berries and flowers. Earlier this year they opened a laboratory for edible flowers. Currently they are also realizing projects near Moscow. Construction of three farms will start this month. "The next step is to launch such farms via distributors, like we already do abroad", Konstantin adds. For example, an iFarm showroom is being realized in Helsinki.
Some serious numbers
The new farm is located in the building of a former car dealer. To get this one ready for indoor growing, 20 tons of construction materials have been brought to the site, of which 90 stacks with 8 layers each have been installed. In it also 3 kilometers of wiring, 20 square meters of partitions and 1000 meters of pipeline. It took 10 people working in two shifts to assemble the racks in 30 days - working without a day off. They drilled 3333 holes and connected 60,0000 parts to assemble the 90 racks.
The first seeds will be planted at the end of August. Six types of leafy greens will be grown on 749 shelves: romaine lettuce, kale, chards, leaf lettuce, basil and bok choy. The overall growing area will comprise 1000 square meters, and planned production capacity is 42 thousand pots a month.
The new production site will be equipped with a processing center to create pesto from the rucola and basil, as well as healthy chips, oils and fresh juices. Another part of the farm will be turned into a showroom: the visitors will be able to see the greenery growing process through glass partitions.
The vertical farm has been constructed with the help of attracted private investments. The projected payback period for a vertical farm of this size should be reached within 5 years. The farm will be producing 25 to 30 tons of greenery a year, the production margin being 27%. The first crops should be collected in October 2019.
Company Vega-Absolut acts as a strategic and technological partner of iFarm. The first vertical iFarm with a showroom of 300 square meters growing area is currently operational at the Novosibirsk science campus.
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