Vertical farming company Kalera announced this week it has acquired Vindara, a company developing seeds specifically for the indoor vertical farming environment and other controlled environment agriculture methods. With this acquisition, Kalera says it can increase both crop yield and the speed of growth cycles in its current and future facilities.
Kalera currently has two commercial-scale vertical farms in operation, both in Orlando, Florida. The company is also expanding rapidly, with new locations across the U.S. in the works. Facilities in Atlanta, Denver, and Houston are slated to open in 2021.
Typically, seeds for outdoor farming are bred to resist things like disease and pests. The drawback of that method is that plant flavor, texture, and nutritional profile is often sacrificed in the process. But in a fully controlled indoor grow environment like a vertical farm, pests are nonexistent and growers and systems have better control over monitoring the danger of plant diseases.
That gives companies like Vindara an opportunity to produce seeds bred for flavor, color, nutritional content, and better overall quality. The company combines genomics, machine learning and computational biology with traditional breeding techniques to get its seeds, which are non-GMO and which Vindara says take 12 to 18 months to develop, rather than the standard five to seven years.
With the acquisition, Vindara will become a “fully owned subsidiary” of Kalera and operate out of the latter’s headquarters in Orlando. For Kalera, the acquisition brings the potential to develop its own plant varieties and increase the output of existing ones. Right now those are just leafy greens, though Kalera hinted at spinach and strawberries for the future.