How to Invest in Leafy-Green Indoor Agriculture

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No doubt you’ve seen several indoor agriculture companies that claim to be the best at growing leafy greens (lettuces, herbs, etc.) indoors. For any number of reasons, they claim to be better than their peers who are also vying for your funding dollars. But how do you tell the difference between them?

Here are seven simple metrics that will tell you if the company is worth your investment dollars.

Beyond the Megafarms: 4 Alternative Models For Indoor Agriculture

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Sitting in between a few of these models is Fresh Box Farms, a Boston-based indoor operation currently farming out of shipping containers, but soon building a facility the equivalent to 200 of those, admittedly moving on from the container model. CFO David Vosburg says that though containers were a great place to start, in the long run concentrating labor into one big operation makes more sense.

CA Farmers: Back to the Land, and the Lab

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As CEO of FreshBox Farms in Millis, Mass., Sonia Lo ’84 is also interested in local food and using new technologies to create it. FreshBox has pioneered the use of high-density, high-yield, pesticide- and GMO-free vertical hydroponic farming in indoor enclosures. Hydroponics is a method of agriculture that uses nutrients in water, rather than soil, to grow plants. Lo’s company plants heirloom seeds to support biodiversity, regulates nutrients by parts per million, and refines LED lighting to match the exact spectrum of light plants need to thrive. That means she can grow more greens using less water — roughly 2,000 times less water than conventional agriculture — and faster, too.

FreshBox Farms on FastCompany

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For FreshBox Farms, an indoor farm operational since 2015 at an old factory site in Millis, Massachusetts, around 30 miles outside of Boston, the technology is important–it is, after all, what enables the greens to grow–but it’s not sacred. “We’re equipment agnostic,” Sonia Lo, the CEO of Crop One Holdings, FreshBox’s parent company, tells Fast Company. “There are people out there doing great work to perfect lights, trays, control systems, nutrient dosing systems–we focus on growing as much as possible.”

MetroWest Business Briefs for June 29, 2017

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Food strategist and recognized brand builder Mary Wagner has joined FreshBox Farms’ advisory board. Freshbox Farms is based in Millis. Wagner, who has worked with brands including Starbucks, Mars, Taco Bell and General Mills, will be focusing on product/business development and strategy.

FreshBox Farms Announce Kosher Certification

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FreshBox Farms’ certification is KVH Kosher Certification, from the Rabbinical Council of New England. New product labels carrying the designation should appear in local produce areas within the next month. For information: freshboxfarms.com.

Forbes: Technology Hits The Fields

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During a recent blizzard in Massachusetts, Sonia Lo, CEO of FreshBox Farms, was in a grocery store suggesting to skeptical patrons that they sample her leafy greens. “They were picked yesterday,” is what she told tasters. She also told them no, they weren’t picked elsewhere and flown in that morning.