Indoor vegetable operation makes big investment in tech

20-01-2022    09:46   |    Greenhouse Grower

Soli Organic Inc. (formerly known as Shenandoah Growers) recently announced two partnerships that will enhance the company’s cost advantage, further improve unit economics, and support the continued development of its consumer brand, which makes high-quality, indoor-grown organic produce widely accessible.

Through a new multi-year partnership, Soli Organic will work with leading global plant breeding experts at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences to select and advance the next generation of commercial organic, indoor-grown produce over the next five years. Through this collaboration, Soli Organic and Rutgers experts will use state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation to analyze produce seed genetics and identify and further optimize flavor, aroma, nutrition, and yield traits for indoor cultivation. In addition, the partners will explore opportunities to bring to market new types of produce that, while not feasible for commercial organic outdoor cultivation, may offer ideal flavor, nutrition and yield characteristics and can be grown organically indoors.

“We have not even scratched the surface of the different flavors and textures of plants. What will be key to a sustainable future is identifying plants that offer consumers the highest nutrient density combined with flavor, texture, and shelf appeal, and the lowest possible environmental impact,” says Dr. James (Jim) Simon, Director of the Rutgers New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Program. “Our research and partnership with Soli Organic is an important step in identifying applications for cost-efficient indoor plant growth, with the intention of bringing products from breeding concept to produce aisles over the next five years.”

Soli Organic is also adopting advanced technologies based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which will allow its indoor farms to run autonomously. These technologies do not replace human growers but rather elevate the complementary strengths of humans and machines. Soli Organic is partnering with AI and Internet of Things (IoT) company Koidra to enable growers to make data-driven decisions using state-of-the-art machine learning.

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Photo Courtesy of IGS

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