Infinite Acres: A global indoor farming venture

11-06-2019    03:00   |    HortiBiz

With tremendous opportunities to address food quality and production challenges on a global scale, three companies announced the formation of Infinite Acres, an independent company based on a partnership that combines food industry leadership and precision growing technology to significantly improve unit economic outcomes in indoor farming and horticulture. Infinite Acres is the result of the collaboration of companies ideally suited to rapidly develop indoor vertical farming by building farms and providing wholistic services.

Netherlands-based Priva, a global provider of technology solutions and services and automation systems to horticultural and other industries and U.S.-based 80 Acres Farms, a leader in technology-assisted indoor growing and a multi-farm operator marketing a wide variety of freshly-harvested vegetables came together.

Over the past years, Priva has invested intensively in innovations for indoor farming, in close collaboration with 80 Acres Farms. Priva’s technological innovations were tested by the two companies in the 80 Acres growing facilities and from the successful collaboration sprung the ambition of forming an independent company for turnkey indoor farming facilities. A company that is open to working together with other major players in the industry.

The two parties were unanimous in their opinion that a venture like this would benefit from partnering with an established company with a leading position in the retail industry. They found the additional knowledge and technology needed to complete the foundation in Ocado Group. Ocado Group is one of the world's largest dedicated online grocery retailers, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under and other specialist shop banners, together with its Ocado Solutions division.

The new, international venture’s name signifies the infinite opportunity to locally grow vastly more tasty and fresh produce year-round indoors, with no dependency on weather or climate. Infinite Acres’ mission is to provide the best technology available to grow the highest quality produce near population centers throughout the world -- especially those where year-round nutritious produce is in short supply due to climate and growing conditions or must be transported considerably long distances.

Tisha Livingston has been appointed chief executive officer of Infinite Acres. Livingston co-founded 80 Acres Farms with its CEO Mike Zelkind.

“The enormous challenges of scale and commercial opportunity are too big for any one company engaged today in indoor farming,” said Livingston.  “This unique partnership has consolidated market-making innovation, deep expertise, R&D, and established customer relationships with history of working together.  Even before its official launch, Infinite Acres already has active projects on four continents.

Infinite Acres offers a wide range of services to help customers achieve their ambitions, together with its strategic partners. Priva is our main technology provider and in addition to offering training services for new indoor farming enterprises, our partner 80 Acres Farms can completely manage the newly built indoor farms for customers seeking an on-site operating partner.

We have a very clear vision: Maturing the indoor farming industry will take many functional experts working together. Strategic partnerships will enable our company to offer solutions that support our customers in their ambitions to grow. We are excited about exploring possibilities and open to forming new alliances.”

Mike Zelkind, CEO of 80 Acres Farms, states: “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Priva in building commercially successful indoor vertical farms in the U.S., including the first fully-automated farm in North America.  There is an enormous need throughout the world for freshly harvested, nutritious, tasty, vegetables and fruit no matter the climate. Infinite Acres will help make that a reality.”

Meiny Prins, CEO of privately-held Priva, said: “Cities are beginning to realize that they need to integrate the production of food into their plans for urban development, to be able to provide healthy and nutritious food for their inhabitants. Infinite Acres provides solutions that support overcoming the challenges of growing fresh produce in an urbanizing world, by bringing it closer to its consumers.”

Ocado’s plan is to ultimately co-locate vertical farms within or next to their Customer Fulfillment Centres and Ocado Zoom’s micro-fulfillment centers. “The focus of our business remains fully on delivering outstanding execution to our Ocado Solutions partners,” said Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado. “Our investment today in vertical farming will allow us to address fundamental consumer concerns about freshness and sustainability. And it will build on new technologies that will revolutionize access to the freshest produce delivered to customers shortly after it is harvested.”

Infinite Acres will formally introduce itself at GreenTech Amsterdam, the global meeting of horticulture technology professionals which opens on June 11. 

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