More vertically grown greens are coming to the grocery store. The Evergreen Kosher Market, a well-known food retailer in Monsey, New York, announced this week it will soon debut a vertical farm from Israeli ag tech company Vertical Field. According to a press release sent to The Spoon, the farm will use technology and geoponics to provide shoppers with onsite greens at the grocery store.
Vertical Field’s farming indoor solution consists of “living walls” where plants grow vertically inside controlled environments and sensors regulate temperature and humidity levels to create ideal grow conditions for each type of plant. Since the environment is sealed off from the outside world, it is free of the usual pests that can infiltrate crops and therefore free of pesticides. And Evergreen being a Kosher market, a partnership with Vertical Field makes sense, as the company’s greens are all Star-K Kosher Certified.
The company’s use of geoponics is unusual in today’s world of vertical farming, where the majority of companies use hydroponics or aeroponics to grow plants. Vertical Field’s system is proprietary, and the company claims on its website that its use of geoponics means lower initial and operating costs, better quality plants, and more crop variety than one would get using hydroponics.
All that said, Vertical Field is, like most others, still focused on leafy greens, which would likely be the only plant type to fit on the company’s wall-like garden structure (see image above). Still, leafy greens are delicate, and more likely to be damaged in shipping than, say, heartier fruit or root vegetable. Placing the farms inside grocery stores removes the distribution portion and therefore several steps from the process between harvesting greens and getting them to consumers.
While the concept of in-store vertical farms is relatively new, Vertical Fields’ new installation at Evergreen isn’t alone. Berlin, Germany-based InFarm has its pod farms at grocery stores in Canada, Denmark, and at Kroger stores in the U.S. Orlando, Florida-based Kalera works with Publix in the Southeastern U.S. to place farms in stores.
For its part, Vertical Field serves a variety of organizations around the world, including the campuses of Big Tech companies like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft.