AgroUrbana brings vertical farming to Chile and plans to expand its operations to Latin America in the near future by developing a solution to help the growing challenges faced by traditional agriculture through the use of environmentally friendly technologies that allow to produce tasty, fresh, local and healthy food in urban areas.
The solution proposed by AgroUrbana seeks to produce vegetables of greater freshness and taste without pesticides, using a fraction of the water and the surface through technologies that contribute to the economic and environmental development of the agricultural industry. AgroUrbana will start production and distribution of leafy greens in Q1 2019. A round of seed funding and agreements with leading technology partners was secured prior to breaking ground for the company´s first farm in Chile.
The agricultural sector is constantly looking for solutions to face low margins for the producer, lack of water, seasonality, traceability, the use of pesticides, logistics and the need for vegetables to stay fresh, together with guaranteeing the food safety and workers' health.
AgroUrbana is born as a solution through a system of indoor vertical agriculture and controlled environment that allows to produce tasty, fresh vegetables and with greater duration, using less than 5% of the water of traditional agriculture to obtain an annual production with a yield +100 times greater per square meter than that of traditional agriculture, allowing crops to be grown within the city, reducing drastically the time between harvest and consumption of produce.
Cristian Sjögren (CEO) and Pablo Bunster (CCO), the founding partners of AgroUrbana, come from the renewable energy sector where they participated as entrepreneurs, investors and executives of multinational companies, leading what was the disruption of the energy industry. Both have worked during the last year researching vertical farms and the technologies that are being developed, visiting countries leading the development of vertical farming and generating relationships with the main technologists of the industry.
"Thanks to LED technology and the method of vertical hydroponic agriculture, we can produce consistently throughout the year and harvest a superior vegetable that is tastier and healthier because vegetables grow under optimal conditions and free of pesticides and herbicides", says Mr. Sjogren.
In August AgroUrbana closed a round of seed funding to build 3,000 square feet pilot farm in Quilicura in the skirts of Santiago, Chile´s capital city that counts for about 40% of the country´s population. This first farm will demonstrate the potential of indoor vertical farming for Chile and the Region. The goal is to increase production 10 times over the next 18 months to one million heads of lettuce and other leafy greens.
On the other hand, Mr. Bunster emphasizes that "if the development of this project is successful, it will create new jobs for both traditional farmers and new generations helping revitalize an aging farming population. AgroUrbana seeks to add a solution to the work specialization and growing urban population. Working conditions will be improved and, therefore, the health of our workers ".