This interview details Ground Vertical Farming, an indoor farming company based in Lebanon. The interview is with Mitri Harmouche, CEO and Co-Founder of Ground.
What is the origin story of GND Vertical Farming?
Ground is a startup that started in 2019 established in 2021 based in Lebanon. Despite all the economical crisis in the country and the negative impact of covid we were able to progress.
Our background as a Landscape Designer and Agricultural engineer as well as Urban Planner.
The idea was to create a system that fulfill the aesthetics of green walls and be able to serve the communities in urban areas with fresh vegetables.
We design affordable vertical farming systems, particularly suited for arid areas that double the yield, produce healthy crops all year, reduce water, fertilizer, and energy usages, as well as soil and water pollution, and offer traceability.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing GND Vertical Farming in the future?
In underserved regions where poverty, environmental pollution, and the lack of water, arable land, energy and resources often overlap, farming is done under difficult conditions: unsafe water for irrigation, reliance on fertilizers and pesticides, in turn leading to more soil depletion. Because our solution is effective for such conditions for the following intertwined benefits:
Compared to traditional farming, our solution gives higher yields with more desirable, higher quality produce. This in turn generates incremental income, money, employment opportunities, and other economic benefits flowing back to deprived communities.
Our system combines higher food production yields with savings in water, energy and fertilizers usage, leading to substantial impact:
Health improvements derive from the consumption of safer food and the decrease in water and ground pollution. This dimension is especially important as the intensive use of chemical fertilizers is widely spread in deprived economic zones.
In addition to the social benefits that economic, environmental and health improvements will bring to rural communities, GVF will also provide training modules for small-scale farmers to teach them on how to use best farming methods.
We have set the following goals, which are typical of vertical farming in our area:
Water savings: 90%
Fertilizer savings: 65%
"We estimate our yield to be over 30 times larger than current traditional farming in our area, and 250% more efficient than currently sold hydroponic systems." - Mitri Harmouche, CEO, Ground Vertical Farming
What is unique about GND Vertical Farming compared to competitors? How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
At Ground Vertical Farming (GVF), we bring a simple but affordable system, specially designed to offer the benefits of vertical farming to arid, deprived agricultural areas.
We offer fully automated inclined panels, an IOT controller and dashboard allowing 24/7 remote monitoring and control, and traceability.
Our patent-pending planting meshes consist of hydrophilic mediums containing a series of geometrically arranged pockets, capable of handling a wide range of plants.
In a greenhouse, the meshes are stretched over rows of inclined A-shaped frames. The vertical inclination of the frames, the meshes orientation, spacings and sizes are optimized to maximize available sunlight, minimize shading and reliance on energy, and allow a standing person to easily maneuver the system.
We are conducting tests in Lebanon, to compare results with hydroponics systems currently sold in the MENA region. These systems use horizontal layouts, with manual electrical on-off switches. Compared to these systems, we have so far achieved promising results:
We are still small with a devoted group of co-founder and co-workers, we recently established our production facility to fulfill the needs of our customers. GVf is a company that generates enough income to fulfill its needs and create potential growth in the future.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?
As a startup stage we've been enrolled in different types of accelerators and got seed investments from angel investors and funding companies, that helped us to solidify our base and omit many errors and face challenges that small companies might face.
We overcome these challenges with a lot of support from those entities that we've been through.
How can people connect with you or learn more about GND Vertical Farming?
Other Useful Link on Ground Vertical Farming sal (GVF)
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