Oct 6, 2018
It’s All About Automation at New CEA FacilityBy Tim Hodson

An Ohio grower plans to take controlled environment agriculture to the next level.

Late last month, 80 Acres Farms announced it is building a 150,000-square foot fully-automated vertical farming facility to produce specialty greens that include microgreens, culinary herbs, leafy greens and kale. 

The full-phase expansion will allow 80 Acres Farms to provide more product to serve its existing customers and new ones with freshly harvested, year-round produce.        

Produce grown at the Hamilton site will supply regional grocers including Whole Foods Markets, and other retailers and distributors. The grower currently serves customers from its facility in the Cincinnati community where it grows microgreens, culinary herbs, leafy lettuce, kale, vine crops like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.

“We already have demonstrated that we can provide to our customers the freshest, best-tasting and nutritious locally-grown produce, while using renewable energy, very little water and no pesticides,” said Mike Zelkind, co-founder and chief executive officer of 80 Acres Farms. 

“With the Hamilton facility, we will achieve the next-generation of indoor vertical farming using best of breed technology. This project will deliver our proof of concept that indoor farming can be fully-automated, commercially scalable, higher-yielding, and profitable. It will serve as a prototype for our ambitious plans to co-locate similar facilities with commercial customers in other parts of the country.”  

The new CEA site will be automated from seeding to growing to harvesting for highest quality and food safety standards. 80 Acres Farms personnel will manage the new facility, which will feature robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and around-the-clock monitoring sensors and control systems to optimize every aspect of growing produce indoors.  

For more information on the facility, visit www.eafarms.com.

— Tim


Tim Hodson

Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at [email protected]



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