Vertical farming machines made in BC land major investment deals

Dec 21 2020, 12:01 pm

CubicFarms, known for developing automated agricultural technology, has just raised $15 million in equity financing to support its global expansion plans.

This includes $10 million from an unnamed group, and $5 million from Harry DeWit, the CEO and president of Blue Sky Farms — a dairy and farming business based in Ohio and Texas.

Langley-based CubicFarms will use the new money to continue research and development in optimizing machine yields, automation, and functionality; expand crop varieties; and take its technology solution products to market. These patented technologies are developed at their research and development facility in Pitt Meadows.

One farming machine they have developed is the CubicFarms vertical agricultural system for the year-round growing of leafy greens and other crops indoors, which significantly reduces the costly physical labour and energy that is currently associated with the indoor faming industry.

Another farming solution is the HydroGreen system for growing nutritious livestock feed, involving a unique process to sprout grains, such as barley and wheat, in a controlled environment with minimal use of land, labour, and water, and without fertilizer and chemicals. This system is fully automated to complete all growing functions, including seeding, watering, lighting, harvesting, and re-seeding.

CubicFarm cultivator vertical farming machine

CubicFarm cultivator vertical farming machine. (CubicFarm)

“We believe that food security is in a global crisis, and COVID-19 has certainly accelerated this crisis,” said Dave Dinesen, CEO of CubicFarms, in a statement.

“CubicFarms ag-tech solutions can help break this cycle of long global food supply chains, which would allow local chain agriculture to take place nearby where food is consumed. CubicFarms’ technology has been used effectively by our local growers to grow more fresh food using less land, energy, and water — an outcome with global relevance.”

Just last week, the company announced an agreement to sell 10 of its commercial-scale CubicFarm machines to FutureLife Produce for $1.7 million. FutureLife is building CubicFarms’ largest vertical farming system installation to date with a 100-machine project set for Surrey, and they are planning to install an additional 10 machines at a facility in Richmond.

Over the last few weeks, they have sold their machines to three businesses, totalling a value of $9 million.