Indoor vertical farming startup Bowery is in the process of building a second facility which it claims will be the most technologically sophisticated indoor farm in the world.
The operation will be in Kearny, N.J., and grow 30 times more produce than its current indoor farm that’s located nearby, and supply 100 types of leafy greens and herbs for customers like Whole Foods and Foragers.
In May, the New York City-based startup raised a $20 million Series A from investors including General Catalyst, GGV, and GV (formerly Google Ventures), with capital from the round going toward building the new farm.
Bowery is applying robotics, machine learning, and predictive analytics to the agriculture sector, a segment of the economy that has been slow to adopt technology and digital advancements.
The company has developed what it says is a proprietary software system, complete with a robust network of sensors that takes in data in real time to determine outcomes like the quality, texture, color, and yield of its plants. “The software is the brains of the farm,” says Bowery CEO and founder Irving Fain.
Small adjustments—water flow, light intensity, temperature, humidity—can then be made in response to data inputs to impact outcomes like taste and flavor, such as growing a mustard green that’s got a spicier pick.
Bowery is more than 100 times more efficient than a square foot of farmland, in large part because the startup can grow 365 days a year independent of season in a completely controlled environment. Bowery doesn’t use any pesticides or agri-chemicals. Normally out in a field that would lead to reduction in yield, but Bowery has more crop cycles per year, grows twice as fast as a field, and has higher yield per crop cycle.