Strawberries are tastiest when eaten as quickly as possible after being harvested. Unfortunately, many markets are prevented from having access to the red gold. From inappropriate local growing climates to seasonal differences or even the lack of space to cultivate them, strawberries aren’t always easy to get a hold of.
“At Urban Harvest, we provide urban growers with solutions to produce strawberries anywhere, at any time,” says Alexandre Van Deun, co-founder of Urban Harvest.
Urban Harvest is a Belgian-based AgriTech company with the aim to reduce the use of arable land and give it back to nature to improve biodiversity. They provide no-nonsense vertical farming solutions to grow strawberries and leafy greens and to propagate cuttings. Urban Harvest has a proven track record in designing and building commercially viable vertical farming solutions.
A strawberry trial
The Urban Harvest way
The company has been successfully using its own in-house designed vertical farming solutions for two years, growing more than 50.000 potted herbs per month for the Belgian retail market. “This is what we call in-depth testing,” says Olivier Paulus, co-founder of Urban Harvest.
Urban Harvest has multiple testing rigs to improve every aspect of the solution and lower both CAPEX and OPEX while increasing yield and simplicity. They also keep working closely with their customers to analyze in-field data from the sensors and the growers’ observations.
The Urban Harvest vertical farm for strawberries is specifically built for the new generation of an urban grower. This solution is all about unburdening the company owner of production uncertainty so that he or she can focus on selling the produce.
Olivier Paulus (front) and Alexandre Van Deun (in the back)
Build your farm
“We have observed numerous solutions which all seem complex and only add to the challenge of decreasing the investment cost per m2 or growing surface” adds Alexandre. “Our solution is on a permanent and very strict diet; we don’t care about the bling.”
The Urban Harvest solution is technology and vendor agnostic, based on standardized modules for racks, HVAC, irrigation/fertigation and LEDs. Customers can easily request the use of specific components to tailor the solution to their needs.
The entire solution is engineered in such a way that the vertical farm can easily be constructed by the grower himself- or herself.
Growing strawberries in a vertical farm still come at a cost. However, the return is high-quality produce year-round, free of pesticides and grown with minimal water usage, geographically close to the end consumer.
Urban Harvest focuses on regions where the added value versus the challenges tips the scale in favor of the former. This translates to an increased sales effort towards the Middle East and Asia and remote locations where the high level of imports results in higher crop prices.
Sharing is caring
“We put a lot of effort into collaborating with industry stakeholders. We believe that this will bring us success in pursuing our purpose to increase bio-diversity by giving back arable land to the planet,” says Alexandre. “We enjoy working with experienced professional growers to share insights on how to increase yield and, in parallel, reduce ecological impact.”
Urban Harvest is currently on the lookout for inbound sales and marketing team members and strategic partners or investors for the target regions.