80 Acres Farms

This interview details 80 Acres Farms, an indoor farming company based in the United States. The interview is with Mike Zelkind, CEO and co-founder, and Tisha Livingston, co-founder and CEO of Infinite Acres, our technology subsidiary.

Source: 80 Acres Farms


What is the origin story of 80 Acres Farms?

Before we founded 80 Acres Farms, we worked for big food companies including ConAgra, Bumble Bee, and Del Monte. In our last role together, we turned around a struggling vegetable canning company in Arkansas. Looking for suppliers, we met with farmers all over the eastern United States—from Florida to New York—and heard about the same issues over and over again: depleted soils, pest pressure, extreme weather… The central issue was a lack of control.

 

We knew there had to be a better, more dependable way to grow food, and a more sustainable way to meet consumer demand for fresh, local produce. In 2015, after trips to Europe and Asia to explore CEA solutions, we came back to our home state of Ohio and founded our vertical farming company.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

We built the company on five principles: One, food should taste great. Two, food should be grown where people are. Three, food should be wholesome, nutritious, and free from pesticides. Four, fresh, healthy produce should be available year-round, and five, feeding people should not endanger our environment.

 

Now, we have eight facilities in the U.S. and the Netherlands, including both large-scale production facilities and R&D facilities. Through our Netherlands-based subsidiary, Infinite Acres, we’re combining industry-leading Dutch horticultural technology with the best American manufacturing and processing technology, bringing a year-round supply of fresh, pesticide-free produce to parts of the U.S. that import most of their food from farms thousands of miles away.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

What are some of the biggest challenges facing 80 Acres Farms in the future? 

We have a lot of room to grow, but we can’t do it alone. Within the industry, we need to work toward standardization. We need to be sharing best practices and lessons learned. We can compete with each other while recognizing that this opportunity is bigger than any of us, and there’s plenty of room for all of us to play—if we can deliver on our promises and show consumers, government officials, and technology partners the value in our technology.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

What is unique about 80 Acres Farms compared to competitors? 

 

To our knowledge, we are the only vertical farming company with profitable farm-level economics. We’ve been growing toward that point deliberately through continuous improvement in operations and commercial success.

 

We started with a container farm in 2016, then built a couple of smaller farms where we tested and optimized different variables—such as lighting, airflow, and fertigation—before putting our learnings to work in the fully automated “reference farm” we opened in 2021. Now, we’re modularizing and industrializing our technology, identifying parts that we can snap together to build farms anywhere in the world, like our new 200,000-square-foot farm in Kentucky, which became operational in 2023.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

As we’ve grown, we’ve worked closely with technology partners like Siemens, which is helping us standardize and scale, and retail partners like Kroger, which has introduced us to millions of consumers via more than 1,000 stores. We don’t think we have to do it all ourselves, and that has helped us scale more quickly and efficiently.

 

Our Dutch-American technology subsidiary, Infinite Acres, also sets us apart. Our technology team has integrated decades of industrial, technological, and horticultural know-how into a technology platform based on proven solutions and continuous innovation and improvement.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

What are some other relevant metrics of the company (growing area size, production quantity, team size, etc.)?

Our newest farm, in Florence, Kentucky, is a 200,000-square-foot facility that can grow approximately 4 million pounds of produce per year. We have over 300 employees across 8 facilities in the U.S. and the Netherlands and reach more than 1,300 retailers and restaurants across the eastern U.S. 

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

What are some goals in 2024 and beyond for 80 Acres Farms?

We want to grow a lot more than just salad. Now that we’ve proven our technology, we see enormous potential in broadening our product portfolio with new crops. Any industry that needs plant-based ingredients ought to be paying attention to indoor farms that can grow with pharmaceutical-grade accuracy and unprecedented consistency, especially as climate change disrupts tradition supply chains. We can build farms right next to manufacturing facilities, providing a year-round solution to supply chain and quality issues while helping companies meet their sustainability goals.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

 

How can people connect with you or learn more about 80 Acres Farms?

 

To learn more about what we do, visi our website: 80acresfarms.com, and Instagram, where you can find recipes and the latest company news.

Source: 80 Acres Farms

Asia Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"For a target audience that is trying to understand the basics of vertical farming, this is a quality newsletter to subscribe to"

- James Pateras, CEO, Modular Farms Australia

North America Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download The Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"The North America Vertical Farming Companies Report 2023 aggregates many sources of public information on many different companies so that you don't have to do the research yourself, it's worth the money and saves a lot of time"

- John Ireland, CEO, NTP Technologies

Europe Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Helen Andrew Spare Harvest

"As a business development manager supporting the indoor agriculture, CEA, and food tech industries, I can say Urban Vine guides and their insider newsletter provide detailed information often difficult to find online."

- Irena Lundberg, CleanTech Invest Stockholm

Middle East Vertical Farming Companies: The 2023 Report

Download the Free Sample Report

Mark-Horler

"As a marketing professional in the indoor agriculture industry, Urban Vine's newsletters, reports and guides are an excellent resource for keeping up-to-date with news and developments in vertical farming."

- Steven Mitchell, Product Manager, Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) UK

All Indoor Farming Company Interviews

Bloemteknik

June 21, 2024

This interview details Bloemteknik, an indoor farming technology company based in the UK. The interview is with James Fleet, Co-Founder & CEO of Bloemteknik. To learn more about Bloemteknik and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Farmitank

May 31, 2024

This interview details Farmitank, a company based in Spain. The interview is with Cristian Nieves, R&D Department at Farmitank. To learn more about Farmitank and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

JHS Group

May 30, 2024

This interview details JHS Group, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Janet Tso-Shushan, CEO of JHS Group. To learn more about JHS Group and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

May 22, 2024

This interview details Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a research organization based in Finland. The interview is with Saila Karhu, Research Professor at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). To learn more about Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

The indoor growing pods at Canadore College

May 22, 2024

This interview details The indoor growing pods at Canadore College, an indoor farming company based in Canada. The interview is with Angela Proudfoot, Project Administrator Sustainable Food & Clean Water at Canadore College.

View Full Interview

NIAB

May 22, 2024

This interview details NIAB, a crop science organization based in the UK. The interview is with Ros Lloyd, Head of Communications at NIAB. To learn more about NIAB and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Ecocool GmbH

May 22, 2024

This interview details Ecocool GmbH, a packaging solutions provider based in Germany. The interview is with Florian Siedenburg, General Manager of Ecocool GmbH. To learn more about Ecocool GmbH and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Autonomous Greenhouse

May 22, 2024

This interview details Autonomous Greenhouse, an indoor farming technology company based in the Netherlands. The interview is with Silke Hemming, Head Scientific Research Team Greenhouse Technology at Wageningen University & Research. To learn more about Autonomous Greenhouse and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

Sapling

May 16, 2024

This interview details Sapling, an indoor farming technology company based in the UK. The interview is with Manish Patel, Managing Director at Sapling Automation Ltd. To learn more about Sapling and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview

FibreDust

May 16, 2024

This interview details FibreDust, a company based in the United States. The interview is with Andrew D Pidgeon, Director of Marketing at FibreDust. To learn more about FibreDust and other indoor farming companies, click on this link!

View Full Interview