A Mexican startup is offering the possibility of growing vegetables within the city in a healthy enclosed space and harvesting up to 100 times more than normal.
Juan Succar and Jorge Lizardi, graduates of the Tec de Monterrey Leon campus, created the Verde Compacto company, which follows the new global trend of urban and vertical agriculture. This type of agriculture is ideal for supermarkets, restaurants, hotels and real estate developments.
Verde Compact obtained third place in the Heineken Green Challenge at the entrepreneurship festival, INCmty, as one of the ventures to follow in 2020, according to Entrepreneur in Spanish.
Mexican technology for a worldwide trend
Urban agriculture is growing in the world and already accounts for 15% of all agriculture, according to UN data. The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) itself is promoting this alternative, although there were not so many options in Mexico.
Verde Compacto ensures that, unlike other similar foreign companies, they are the first to use only Mexican technology, which makes them pioneers in Latin America.
Growing food in enclosed spaces
Urban agriculture goes hand in hand with vertical agriculture, which allows sowing in enclosed spaces and at various height levels, thus maximizing space.
Verde Compacto launched Huvster, an intelligent vegetable growing system in a recycled trailer container. The system allows growing up to 200 times more vegetables per square meter with less water.
The container has a system that circulates the water and an LED-lights system in the germination zone that simulates the conditions needed by the seeds to grow.
The plants are located in vertical towers and are watered via drip irrigation. Here, they grow until they are harvested. "The system has sensors that measure CO2 levels, ambient humidity, and temperature," Juan stated.
According to the company founders, this option also has these advantages:
It has an intelligent system for measuring and controlling temperature, humidity, irrigation, and other aspects of vegetable cultivation via hydroponics.
It allows having savings of 90% in water, and 80% in fertilizers when compared to a traditional method.
The system measures the plants' nutrition levels and regulates them so that they all grow at the same speed.
It decreases the risks of having pests.
It can produce, for example, an average of 730 lettuces per month, or 20 kilos of oregano, coriander, or other herbs per month, as well as 30 to 35 kilos of vegetables.
It can also impact agribusiness in several ways, avoiding distribution costs if installed near consumers.
In addition, the vegetables can be grown at any time of the year.
The company stood out in INCmty
Verde Compacto became one of the leading startups at INCmty, Tec de Monterrey's entrepreneurship festival.
This venture was also part of the Heineken Green Challenge, an initiative that recognizes companies that innovatively solve problems in Mexico, where it achieved third place in the 2019 edition.