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80 Acres of Ohio joins deal to expand vertical farming ideas
 

By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER

HAMILTON, Ohio — 80 Acres Farms, already producing freshly harvested, sustainable, pesticide-free vegetables in Hamilton and Cincinnati, announced last month its partnership in Infinite Acres, a joint venture among 80 Acres, Priva, and Ocado.

Infinite Acres’ mission is to expand its vertical indoor farming concept across the world. “80 Acres is one-third of the formation of Infinite Acres,” said Rebecca Haders, spokesperson for 80 Acres.

“Netherlands-based Priva is an expert in climate control, horticulture, and greenhouse production. They have helped us with indoor farming. They bring automation and indoor climate control, water control. They’ve built many greenhouses around the world, and they also have indoor farms.”

The third partner is Ocado, the United Kingdom’s largest online retailer of fresh foods. Ocado has expertise in predictive analytics and robotics automation, which helps make inside farming more efficient, and in reducing labor costs.

“Our three partner companies provide an unbiased form of collaboration,” said Tisha Livingston, CEO of Infinite Acres. “Infinite Acres believes its integrated solutions will have a considerable impact on the profitability, and competitiveness, of foodservice industry customers everywhere – growers, distributors, retailers, and governments – who seek the cleanest, healthy, pesticide-free produce for consumers.”

On June 12 Infinite Acres announced it had signed a contract with Orisis, China's leading horticultural firm, to complete the first indoor vertical farm in the Shanghai region, the headquarters of Orisis.

“Infinite Acres will sell and build the systems, then 80 Acres will come in and be the operator,” Haders said. “We can be the grower, harvester, and even marketer and seller of the produce. We will take on projects all over the world, any place that desires to grow local produce.”

80 Acres’ core offerings would be the same wherever the farm, with the possibility of including specialty items from the local region. The Hamilton and Cincinnati farms produce lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers, with the potential of strawberries, peppers, and more coming soon.

“About a year after we began marketing, our supply was never as great as our demand. We’re playing the catch-up game right now. We’re increasing yields as we learn how to do things a little better.” Haders said.

“People crave the consistency a controlled environment can produce; the same flavor, the same quality, each time they purchase.” That’s what Infinite Acres hopes to provide worldwide.

Mike Zelkind, chief executive of 80 Acres Farms, said Infinite Acres “is an amazing combination of best-of-breed companies. The partnership will provide its customers with everything from state-of-the-art facilities with uniquely developed crop recipes and the right unit economics, to an option for facility management with yield guarantees, product packaging, branding, marketing, and distribution.”

Based in Cincinnati, 80 Acres was founded by veteran food industry executives Zelkind and Livingston, who are supported by a board of directors representing executive and leadership experience at leading food, health care, and other companies. For more information, visit www.80acresfarms.com

7/12/2019