Farmery, a new modular, indoor crop growing startup, wants to redefine farm-to-table restaurants into something more akin to the-farm-is-literally-next-to-your-table restaurants. The company just launched its product of the same name last week, and promises to let restaurants easily farm their own food from inside their establishments.
The Farmery product is an expandable, self-contained, indoor hydroponic system capable of growing leafy greens and herbs. The smallest available size is five feet by six feet, and eight feet tall, which can be expanded with additional five foot by five foot modules. Each unit is enclosed and pressurized to keep bugs — and restaurant patrons’ sneezes — out of the grow area.
An accompanying app delivers updates on the status of the farms, including nutrients levels and any watering requirements. The app can also provide notifications to restaurant employees telling them which crops need to be harvested right as they start their shift.
A base-model farm costs $13,950, a price that includes shipping and installation, with additional units costing $3,950 each. The base unit takes advantage of full spectrum LED lighting, and only requires a regular 15 amp socket for power. According to Farmery’s site, each base farm or farm extension section can produce 528 heads of lettuce a month. That’s 85 to 138 pounds of greens per month or 33 to 90 pounds of herbs per month, depending on what you’re growing.
Restaurants can either buy their own seeds, nutrients and other inputs, or they can choose to order Farmery’s pre-seeded plugs, nutrients and cleaning solutions for a 59-cent-per-plant space monthly subscription.
Farmery is the product of Benjamin Greene, who grew his own crops at the restaurant he ran out of an Airstream trailer for two years. “The systems are great opportunities for restaurants to grow their own food on-site,” said Greene, “Harvest at 2:00, serve at 5:00.”
Greene is one among many entrepreneurs using technology to redefine what “farming” means. Companies like Growtainers and Square Roots use shipping containers to grow crops year round in urban environments, while startups like Bablyon and SproutsIO are bringing farms inside the home. But Farmery is most like Verdical, which won our 2017 Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase. Both companies can convert dead floorspace in restaurants into productive areas that contribute to a restaurant’s bottom line.
Based in North Carolina, Farmery is just Greene plus six other advisors. The company has raised $300,000 in angel funding, and already has a customer in Costa Rica.
With the technology to produce crops indoors only getting better and easier, look for more restaurants to adopt indoor farming systems like Farmery’s. It will provide fresher ingredients that they have more control over and utilize more of the restaurant space. And who knows, maybe the new hot spot to be seated will now be next to the food you’re about to eat.