Broad Consortium to Solve Next Generation Better Tasting Tomatoes
Newark, NJ – AeroFarms, a Certified B Corporation and leader in indoor vertical farming, announces a multi-year research collaboration to advance the growing of high-value tomatoes indoors. Led by University of Florida researchers involving experts at University of California-Riverside, Wageningen University, and AeroFarms, this project is funded by a $2,112,454 grant from The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research’s (FFAR) Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) Consortium.
The goal of this partnership is to uncover the environmental conditions that can provide vertical farms with a path to growing high-yielding crops that offer consumers a consistently flavorful tomato. AeroFarms has been successfully growing several tomato varieties in its dedicated R&D facilities, and this project builds on that expertise with a high-value “snacking” tomato, while deepening AeroFarms research collaborations with both FFAR and the PIP Consortium.
Founded in 2004, AeroFarms is a purpose-driven company, with a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. AeroFarms has been leading the way to elevate agriculture with people and planet in mind, helping address climate change by enabling local production to grow safe, nutritious, and delicious food all year round. AeroFarms is both a change-the-world technology company and an award-winning brand that is reimagining the way food is grown and celebrating its full FlavorSpectrum™ of flavorful possibilities.
Commented David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, “AeroFarms has created a robust growing technology platform to solve a broad array of agriculture challenges, and we are excited to partner with world-class experts through the PIP Consortium and leading universities in different categories like tomatoes.”
This new tomato research announcement follows on last year’s news that AeroFarms CTO Roger Buelow was appointed to the USDA-ARS Grand Challenge Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee for Controlled Environment Agriculture, focused on tomatoes. The Grand Challenge is a national coordinated research effort to generate knowledge for both greenhouse and vertical farming practices by improving plant genetics and breeding, LED lighting and environment controls, nutrient solutions, plant pest and disease management, and food quality and safety practices. USDA-ARS National Program Leader Joseph Munyaneza reports, “Mr. Buelow has been extensively working with ARS researchers to improve and promote indoor farming”. Both the committee appointment and collaborative projects reflect the company’s focus on leveraging its proprietary growing technology platform for commercial expansion into new categories beyond leafy greens.
AeroFarms and Mr. Buelow will join project collaborators like Cornell University, Ohio State University, University of District of Columbia, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FFAR, Department of Energy, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Chief Scientist. Mr. Buelow brings to the USDA-ARS Grand Challenge Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee for Controlled Environment Agriculture more than 20 years of experience working in government and the private sector leading LED innovation and engineering technologies, with an emphasis on indoor vertical farming and vegetable production. As CTO at AeroFarms, Mr. Buelow leads innovation and works closely with R&D and Engineering teams. Through his career, he has brought over 50 products from concept, through R&D, into engineering, and then onto the open market.
“At AeroFarms, our mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. While our mission began with leafy greens, it certainly doesn’t stop there, and we are excited about this opportunity to further our relationships with University of Florida, University of California-Riverside, and Wageningen University, and contribute our knowledge, research, and insights to this important produce category,” said AeroFarms CTO Roger Buelow.
Besides the cutting-edge R&D facilities at its Newark, New Jersey global headquarters, AeroFarms is also building AgX, a state-of-the-art vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates dedicated to R&D. It will be the largest research center of its kind in the world and will be coming online later this year. AeroFarms has a targeted pipeline of R&D projects, working with Fortune 500 companies helping solve specific agriculture supply chain needs. Partnerships include Cargill on cacao, AB InBev on hop rhizomes, and Hortifrut on blueberries.
Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company two years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions in Food, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides ever versus traditional field farming. AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow all year round, using vertical farming for elevated flavor. Its products can be found at major selling partners like Ahold Delhaize, Amazon Fresh, Baldor Specialty Food, Compass Group, ShopRite, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. In addition, through its proprietary growing technology platform, AeroFarms has grown over 550 varieties of plants and has developed multi-year strategic partnerships ranging from government to major Fortune 500 companies to help uniquely solve agriculture supply chain needs.