Are you considering starting a vertical farming business? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Vertical farming allows you to achieve higher yields whilst using less space. In this article we will explain how to successfully set up your business and start local production.
Alternative methods of food production are starting to boom. The driving factors are the growing demand for food, scarce arable land, and technological innovations in agriculture. According to the latest Vertical Farming Market Analysis report from Grand View Research, the vertical farming market was valued at nearly $4 million in 2021. It is estimated to reach more than 20 million by 2028. The average annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2022 – 2030 is expected to remain at 25.5%. These are very positive figures and mean that starting up in this industry offers great growth potential.
Cultivation can be carried out in any climate and location, using existing infrastructures such as warehouses, halls, or commercial buildings. Although vertical farming is energy-intensive, it has an undeniable advantage – it allows efficient and extensive cultivation in much smaller spaces. A system of controlled conditions (atmosphere, irrigation, irradiation) ensures the highest quality of grown products and eliminates the need to use pesticides or other unnecessary growing chemicals. Crop control software allows precise planning of production stages throughout the year. Thus, it makes it easier for food producers to achieve their targets and meet timely contracts.
You want to try your strength in vertical farming! Great! Then, it’s time to take the first steps to start your adventure in this industry. Many variables determine whether a new vertical farm will be successful. Technology, location, or even type of lighting – all these elements matter and should be chosen carefully. Here are basic steps on how to start your vertical farming business
One of the most important things is to know why you want to run a vertical farm. By clearly defining your motivations, you can set goals that will allow you to pursue the next steps as you build your business. Is our mission to run a local food production and promote healthy eating, or is it most important to offer an exceptional product at an affordable price? Of course, our aspirations may change over time, but it is always good to keep in mind the original rationale that will motivate us in the following phases of business development.
Creating an in-depth market analysis is an extremely important step. Conducting this kind of review will allow you to assess what kind of products will work best in a particular region. Understanding the vertical farming industry is crucial when building your own position. What is the size of the market? Who are the target customers? How competitive is it? What are the projections for the future? Will I find demand for my product? Answering these questions will help you be better prepared to make further decisions.
Choosing the plant species for farming is one of the crucial decisions before starting vertical farming. It will determine the profitability of our enterprise. Keep in mind that the profitability of producing lettuce or basil will be much higher than, for example, pumpkins or pineapples. Each species has its pros and cons, so it is necessary to analyze them meticulously before making a decision. It is worth reading the stories of other farmers who have started vertical crops. This can serve as additional inspiration for choosing the best type of crop for your own business.
Knowing what kind of crops, we want will make it easier to choose the right crop technology. The number of workers needed, the consumption of raw materials, and the possibility of scaling will depend on the system you have. First of all, you need to analyze the availability of space and infrastructure. For those who do not want to build a farm from scratch, a container farm will work well. On the other hand, for those planning large-scale, commercial cultivation, it is best to opt for an overall vertical farming system dedicated to individual needs. It is worth considering that crop automation is only profitable for large farms. If you plan to run a smaller production, you need to consider how many employees you anticipate and how much time you yourself can devote to manual work.
The next step is to choose the right irrigation system. Currently, hydroponics is considered the most cost-effective solution. This is an irrigation method that allows the soilless production of plants. There are equally other practices – aeroponics and aquaponics. What is unique about vertical cultivation is the ability to save and recirculate the resources consumed. Not only that, when using closed hydroponic systems, up to 95% of water can be saved. In addition, the use of RES can significantly reduce operating costs and carbon footprint.
If you have gathered all the necessary information now it is time for a very important step – creating a business plan. If you have already found a space where you want to start vertical plant production and you know what species of plants you want to grow, the next step is to conduct a feasibility study. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will allow us to assess the potential of our business. Also important at this stage is to create finding financing for our investment and create a financial strategy.
A step as important as creating a business model is calculating the payback time. After all, to be successful you should create a solid business model that will allow you not only to realize your dreams but also to make a profit. Already knowing what technology, we will use, where we will get funding from and what market strategy we will follow, we can calculate when our investment will start to bring us profits. We should also consider the risk factors that may affect our income. In this way, we will get reliable calculations for the coming years of activity. We will thus learn what our business’ ability to generate profits will be.
After careful analysis and calculations, it’s time to move on to one of the final steps – choosing a contractor who will build the vertical farm of your dreams for you! It’s important to pay attention to whether the company offering the services provides a complete solution or just individual pieces of technology. Equally important is whether you get training and support during the operation. At Hydropolis, we offer comprehensive solutions with accessible customer service and comprehensive training. We work in a “design and build” mode. This means that we implement all stages – from design to construction to training. We provide solutions and full equipment according to the customer’s wishes.
Congratulations! We have gone through all the steps. Now it’s time, to sum up, all the points and start the exciting adventure of your own vertical farming. By being a vertical farmer, you not only make a difference in your community, but you become a member of a global network of verticals and local food producers!
Would you like to start a vertical farming business, but still don’t know where to start? Feel free to fill out our contact form or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will answer all your questions and create a proposal for action.