The Belgian AgTech company Urban Crops starts with immediate effect its operations in the United States. The company chose to open an office in Miami as this office will be responsible for the whole North and Latin America. This opening is the next logical step in the global ambition of the company. Urban Crops is a total solution provider in the closed environment vertical farming industry and is currently expanding its business globally through own offices and a network of sales agents. Pieter De Smedt will lead the US operations for Urban Crops.
The foundation of Urban Crops goes back to 2012 when the founders wanted to find a solution for the global food challenges as world population is growing, 80% of the land suitable for agricultural activity is already in use and by 2050 a large majority of human kind will be living in cities. After some experiments with rooftop gardens the company shifted to more scalable and total solutions and developed a product and service portfolio for integrated and automated vertical indoor farming.
Growing crops in a climate controlled multi-layer environment with own developed LED lights achieves shorter growth cycles, higher water efficiency, flexible but guaranteed harvests and safe and healthy crops (no pesticides or herbicides needed). The grow infrastructure can be installed in new buildings, as well as in existing (industrial) buildings or unused spaces. Above all, it gives the clients the possibility to grow, harvest and consume locally, every day and in any chosen quantity.
Urban Crops creates tailored growth infrastructures, which are turnkey, robotized and able to be integrated in existing production facilities or food processing units. Urban Crops also has its own range of growth container products. As a total solution provider Urban Crops can also supply seeds, substrates and nutrients for all its growth recipes. Currently the company has more than 160 varieties of crops that can be grown in its systems and that are developed specifically for indoor farming by its team of plant scientists.
In Belgium the company has built the largest European automated growth indoor farm, which was opened in February 2016 by the Flemish Minister President Geert Bourgeois, and which is used mainly for R&D purposes and test runs for potential customers. The main office of Urban Crops is situated in Belgium in the heart of the Western European vegetable industry and surrounded by international recognized machine building companies.
“Opening an office in the US became a necessity as we received numerous requests in the past months from the American continent”, says Maarten Vandecruys, managing director of Urban Crops. “Our grow systems and business model make it possible for all people that have interest in the agri-food, medicinal industry or any other industrial crop production to start its own production activities leveraging on our proven know-how on plant science and plant grow infrastructure.” Pieter De Smedt, US country manager adds: “Supplying qualitative and innovative solutions, products and services is our core strength. Our US presence is thus a very important factor if we want to service our clients and sales agents from this continent.”
The Urban Crops team (Belgium and USA) is also attending the New York Indoor AgCon on October 5th 2016, the leading conference in the US indoor agriculture industry.
The following images are attached :
- Image right: Pieter De Smedt (US country manager) & Maarten Vandecruys (founder/managing director)
- Image middle: Urban Crops ‘PlantFactory’ in Beveren-Leie (Waregem), Belgium
- Image left: Urban Crops ‘FarmPro’ growth container