Food Tech

Europe’s most valuable vertical farm startup expands in US

InFarm will open a new facility near Austin, Texas, the first in a broader US expansion plan.
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InFarm

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The Netherlands is known for its tulips, but if Amsterdam-based vertical farming company InFarm has its way, the world might recognize it for its lettuce.

The Dutch startup was founded in 2013 and raised $200 million at a $1 billion valuation in December, making it the highest-valued vertical farming startup in Europe.

But, but, but…The company has no plans to stick to its home continent. Last week it announced it would open a new facility in Kyle, Texas, just southwest of Austin. The plant is expected to be operational in the next six months, InFarm says.

InFarm already has one US facility, in Seattle, which opened in 2019, but now it’s planning to scale up its operations nationwide. The Kyle facility is the first of up to five new growing centers it has planned for the US, which will add up to 500,000 square feet of growing space.

  • This expansion is part of InFarm’s larger goal to bring operations to 20 countries by 2030. Right now, it’s in 11 countries.
  • InFarm sells its produce in partnership with grocers like Kroger, Sobeys, Safeway, and Thrifty Foods.

The new farm is designed to serve central Texas, including over 18 million people in the Texas Triangle region with the cities of Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. It will have over 43,000 square feet of growing space, which InFarm says can produce 2.2 million pounds of salads per year.

InFarm grows a combination of over 75 different herbs and vegetables, including leafy greens, salads, microgreens, and mushrooms, with plans to branch out into strawberries, peppers, cherry tomatoes, and peas.

  • InFarm uses hydroponics to grow its produce, cycling nutrient-rich water to its plants in a monitored filtration system. Its facilities rely on LED lights, nutrient-rich water, and climate controls to automatically feed its plants.

Zoom out: InFarm’s inroads into the American vertical farming market come at a time when the overall industry is growing rapidly. In 2021, global indoor farming startups raised $1.6 billion across 70 deals, per Pitchbook. And just last month, Brooklyn-based Upward Farms announced plans to build a new 250,000-square-foot farm in eastern Pennsylvania—it’ll be the largest vertical farm in the world when it opens in 2023.

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