Hamilton’s large indoor growing operation is so advanced they want it around the world

80 Acres Farms is taking steps to broaden the reach of the state-of-the-art vertical farming operation it already employs in Cincinnati and Hamilton.

The company this week launched Infinite Acres, an independent joint venture aimed at providing large-scale indoor farming facilities worldwide.

The venture also includes UK-based online grocery retailer Ocado Group and Netherlands-based Priva Holding BV, a leading provider of technology solutions, services and automation systems to horticultural and other industries.

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Infinite Acres will use 80 Acres Farms' technology-assisted vertical farming techniques to grow clean, pesticide-free vegetables, leafy greens and fruits near population centers throughout the world. That includes places where year-round nutritious produce is in short supply because of adverse climate and growing conditions or locations where food must be transported "considerably long distances."

The partnership will utilize Ocado’s predictive analytics, automation and comprehensive system development and its Ocado Solutions division’s cutting-edge software and hardware systems, robotics and artificial intelligence.

It also will use Priva and 80 Acres Farms’ “extensive horticulture, engineering, operational and food industry expertise,” according to Mike Zelkind, CEO of 80 Acres Farms.

The Infinite Acres venture is “an amazing combination of best-of-breed companies,” that will provide customers state-of-the-art facilities with “uniquely developed” crop recipes, yield guarantees, product packaging, branding, marketing and distribution, Zelkind said.

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Luke Jensen, CEO of Ocado Solutions, told this news outlet Wednesday that vertical farming is “a very exciting area within farming” because it’s a way of growing that is “ecologically incredibly efficient compared with traditional farming in terms of use of water and use of energy.”

“It involves no pesticides, fungicides … so it’s an absolutely great way of growing fruit and (vegetables),” Jensen said.

The joint venture will help grow a model aimed at delivering to the marketplace produce harvested minutes before an order.

“That’s why it’s an area that’s of interest to us, both because our technologies are relevant and because ultimately it could be relevant to the customer proposition, but that’s not an immediate preoccupation,” Jensen said. “It’s part of our vision for the long terms.”

The collaborative venture will have “a considerable impact” on the profitability and competitiveness of food service industry customers everywhere — from growers and distributors to retailers and governments, according to Tisha Livingston, CEO of Infinite Acres.

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