‘Our greenhouses are profitable… We’ve demonstrated we can be really efficient stewards of our investors’ capital’


The latest cash infusion will fund new greenhouses in Texas, Arizona, and Colorado, expand existing sites in Chicago and Rhode Island and fund the acquisition of FresH2O Growers, Inc., a 540,000sq ft grower in Virginia supplying the Mid-Atlantic region, said Puri, who said Gotham Greens will own and operate 13 climate-controlled hydroponic greenhouses, totaling 40+ acres across nine states, by 2023.

Sunlight is free: ‘Modern greenhouses, we believe, have the most proven unit economics and financial returns compared to other forms of indoor farming as energy costs are significantly lower’

So with hundreds of millions of dollars now pouring into this sector, what has been learned about what horses to back?

It’s still relatively early days for commercial-scale hydroponics, which is deployed in a variety of settings from multi-storied vertical farms using artificial lighting, to vast ‘modern greenhouses’ harnessing sunlight such as those run by Gotham Greens, said Puri.

 But right now, he said, “Modern greenhouses, we believe, have the most proven unit economics and financial returns compared to other forms of indoor farming as energy costs are significantly lower.

“But that isn’t to say that other technologies may not one day become more profitable and more robust. We’re agnostic when it comes to technology, it’s just a tool. Our focus is on growing the highest quality crops in the most efficient manner.”

Higher yields, increased automation, crop management

With that in mind, he said, “Our greenhouses have evolved since 2011 in terms of economies of scale, climate control capabilities, irrigation, automation, crop management, which has resulted in higher yields.

“So climate control is fully automated, irrigation is completely automated, and then there’s various processes of seeding and harvesting crops that are semi- or fully automated. The movement of the plants through the facility over the course of the plant’s life is also automated through conveyor systems, and in some cases, there are certain tasks performed by a robotic arm, a washing or seeding or transplanting step. “But people are still incredibly important; a plant is not a widget that comes down and assembly line.”



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