Innovator Spotlight: Farm.One
Manhattan, New York
Michelin-starred restaurants are rare. Only 0.2% of all restaurants in the United States have the distinguished accolade, with New York City being home to more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the country. Noted for their rarity, but renowned for their quality, exceptional and high-quality ingredients serve as the foundation for dishes which command perfection.
So how do the world’s most elite chefs at the most elite restaurants in the most urban of environments get fresh, high-quality ingredients? This was the exact question Farm.One set out to answer.
Founded in 2016 by CEO Robert Laing, Farm.One grows pesticide-free rare herbs, edible flowers and microgreens year-round, delivering by bike and subway to New York City’s best ingredient-driven restaurants and bars including Rezdora, Atera, Reverence, Marble Dessert Bar, Banzarbar, and others. In addition to supplying produce to the city’s best eateries, Farm.One sells to New Yorkers at home, providing unparalleled freshness to NYC’s home cooks and bartenders.
Knowing much of the flavor and nutrients from leafy greens and herbs are lost in transit—this kind of produce is typically imported from upstate New York, California or Mexico—Farm.One knew they could provide the highest quality products by growing close to the consumer and harvesting just hours before delivery. Farm.One grows more than 500 different varieties of rare produce for the top chefs in New York City out of their indoor, Manhattan-based vertical farms using hydroponics—a process that uses 90 to 95% less water than a conventional farm—and Fluence RAZR LED lighting solutions, built specifically for close-proximity plant growth.
Not only does Farm.One’s proximity to its customers enable a fresher, higher-quality product, but the techniques and equipment selected by Farm.One produce a quicker, cleaner, and more reliable product without pesticides.
“Since we are constantly evolving our menu of products, we needed a light that could adjust with the diverse plant species cycled through the farm. Being able to grow up to five inches to the RAZR makes it possible for us to cultivate everything from microgreens to leafy greens,” said Laing.
Restaurants aren’t the only ones who enjoy the freshest produce New York City has to offer. With the food industry rapidly shifting as the world adapts to new social distancing regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Farm.One implemented contactless delivery to bring product directly to customers’ homes. The farm also launched a hydroponic vertical farm inside Manhattan’s newest Whole Foods Market.
Whole Foods is a multinational supermarket chain known for its high-quality and organic foods. Founded in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods is always looking for new ways to elevate their product offerings and educate the communities they serve on clean, transparent, and sustainable cultivation practices.
Utilizing a mere footprint of 36 square feet, Farm.One designed a fully functional, three-tier, miniature vertical farm with the capacity to grow 150 plants year-round. Currently, the mini-farm is home to thriving Blue Spice Basil plants ready to be harvested on a daily basis by the store’s kitchen staff. Growing in a controlled environment under Fluence RAZR LED lighting solutions, crops receive optimal light levels to maintain healthy growth and development regardless of external conditions. The in-store farm gives shoppers a front-row seat as they watch their fresh herbs picked from the farm and incorporated into their dishes or drinks in a matter of minutes. The mini-farm takes “farm-to-table” to a whole new level.
As an added benefit, the RAZR Series is equipped with a white light spectrum. According to Laing, “[white light] is a huge benefit to the consumer, as they can easily watch crops grow during their shopping experience. The white light is not only best for plant development, it also directly benefits our goal to educate the community on city farming.”
“Fluence has exceeded our every expectation. Their lighting solutions, and team of experts, have helped us create a controlled environment that allows us to grow produce which exceeds our customers’ expectations in both restaurants and grocery stores” Laing said.
Farm.One and Whole Foods are proving that successful vertical farming is no longer a concept, but a viable path forward. Farm.One’s solutions—powered by leading lighting technology—serve as models for sustainable agriculture that can thrive in U.S. supermarkets, cities and throughout the world.
Ready to take your farm to the next level?