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June 22, 2022

Germany’s Infarm sets up its largest US vertical farm

Infarm's new Maryland growing centre adds to two other US facilities.

By Simon Harvey

Infarm is setting up its largest vertical farming growing centre yet in the US, marking the third in the country for the Germany-based business.

The 200,000 square-foot farm in Howard County, Maryland, will partly open for harvesting next spring and is expected to be up to full capacity “early” in 2024.

Speaking to Just Food last month, co-founder and CEO Erez Galonska outlined a plan to expand Infarm’s international network of growing hubs from 17 to 25 in the next two to three years, with an ultimate target to reach 100 in 20 countries by the end of the decade.

Infarm’s second US facility was announced in February in Austin, Texas. Just Food is clarifying when that will be open for business. The first was launched in 2019 in Seattle, with four more planned to add to the Maryland facility.

Galonska said: “The opening of our largest US growing centre to date in central Maryland demonstrates Infarm’s commitment to rapidly grow a local food infrastructure in the US market for the benefit of people and the planet.

“Once fully operational, our growing centre will provide the north-eastern US with a new food production capability that minimises climate and supply-chain risk by growing more than 75 types of plants locally, sustainably, and reliably 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Infarm collects billions of data points to grow a 75-strong range of herbs, leafy greens, ready-to-eat salads, microgreens and mushrooms. The business plans to add 40 products this year, such as strawberries, peppers, cherry tomatoes and peas.

The Maryland site is expected to generate 50 jobs.

Set up in Berlin in 2013 by Galonska and his brother Guy with Osnat Michaeli, Infarm also operates hydroponic growing centres in Europe and Canada. A new site is set to come on stream in Qatar next year, marking the company’s entry to the Middle East.

As well as growing centres, Infarm has in-store units in some of the largest supermarkets such as Kroger and Safeway in North America, Marks and Spencer, Edeka and Albert Heijn in Europe, and Summit Stores in Japan.

Read Just Food’s interview with Erez Galonska here: “Mega challenges” uproot vertical-farming push from niche to mainstream

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