Growing more with less

Fresh herbs in the supermarket are often imported and come from far. Many of them don’t survive before they’ve reached the customer’s home. Time for a different approach, according to FarmVent. The start-up is ready to launch the world’s first fully automated unit for in-store farming.

FarmVent-founder Nikolaos Alfieris, MSc student in Biosystems Engineering at Wageningen University & Research, is young and ambitious. This is why he recently became a Foodvalley Member.

Eager to learn

“We believe joining the Foodvalley ecosystem will provide us access to retailers, growers and other partners in the greenhouse sector more easily. It will also keep us at the forefront of development in circular agrifood and entrepreneurship. We are, for example, eager to learn about how to scale our business, via franchising and perhaps also other concepts,” he explains. In his turn, Alfieris would like to share his technological knowledge and expertise with partners in the ecosystem.

Ultimate freshness

With the system developed by Alfieris and his team retailers and restaurants can offer their customers ultimate freshness, with herbs harvested on demand, while the customer is in front of the machine. They reduce food miles and in store waste, and increase food safety.

FarmVent provides customers the vertical farming unit needed to grow the herbs, and manages the farming operations for them. “They can lease the system and buy a selection of herbs via us,” Alfieris explains.

Finalist in 4TU Impact Challenge

The system is based on the latest Internet of things (IOT) technologies combining data sciences and machine learning applications for optimization and Alfieris and his team were awarded for their innovative approach. In 2020 they become one of the finalists in the 4TU Impact Challenge ( “We are now finalizing the prototype. After completing a pilot in two local supermarkets, by Summer 2021, we will be ready to introduce our system to the market,” he says with enthusiasm. “From sustainability benefits to happy customers, indoor controlled farming has a wealth of opportunities to offer.”

Nikolaos Alfieris,

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