Years ago, Alex Tyink met a guy who was farming on a rooftop in New York City. Five years, 30 prototypes and a move back to Wisconsin later, Tyink is the founder of Appleton-based Fork Farms LLC. With his product, dubbed a Flex Farm, food can be grown nearly anywhere with an outlet. The company produces a vertical hydroponics system for indoor agriculture, requiring lower energy and labor resources than other systems Tyink used.
The Flex Farm is catching on and growth is ramping up. Fork Farms is set to double its revenue this year, Tyink said. Fork Farms' systems are now in schools, restaurants, private clubs and in health care systems in nearly 20 states.
The Flex Farms are best for highly perishable foods like lettuces and tomatoes. One four-foot-tall system can grow more than 150 pounds of leafy greens a year, according to the company. The Flex Farm starts at $2,995.