The indoor farm startup that’s undercutting importers by %30

08-04-2021    12:50   |    Quartz

Benjamin Swan, co-founder and CEO of Sustenir Agriculture, is an Australian living in Singapore who wanted to find a way to grow produce for his own salads. “I’d buy a bag of [imported] lettuce and within 24 hours you could literally watch the produce melt in the bag. It was just because of the time it took to get to us.” The exorbitant carbon footprint it takes to import food from abroad pushed Swan to consider indoor farming. “We have this centralized farming system, which is based on geographic constraints. One kilo of lettuce imported from Australia generates 7.2 kg of carbon. We can focus on these imports, displace that carbon emission and waste.” According to Swan, one kilo of lettuce can be produced at Sustenir Agriculture with one-twelfth of the carbon emissions it takes to import lettuce from Australia.

Starting with experiments in a basement in Singapore, Swan and his business partner experimented with techniques he learned from traveling to Japan and the Netherlands. “We started doing some pretty crazy stuff like chilling the water and growing arugula at 42 degrees and 100% humidity. We kind of had that eureka moment that we could grow impossible products that would otherwise not grow in Singapore, that it could be commercially viable.”

Sustenir Agriculture

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Photo: An indoor vertical farm by Sustenir Agriculture. COURTESY SUSTENIR AGRICULTURE

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