Our Story & Vision

Maarten Vandecruys

Founder & CTO

Frederic Bulcaen

Founder & Chairman

Jean-Pierre Coene

Jean-Pierre Coene

CEO

Maarten Vandecruys and Frederic Bulcaen founded “Urban Crop” to find a solution to one burning question: “How will we feed the world with the mounting pressure of climate change and with a wasteful global food supply chain?” As a student at Vlerick Business School, he started by exploring rooftop farming together with his mentor, Frederic Bulcaen. After researching several options on how to bring crop production closer to local communities, only one viable growing system remained: Indoor Vertical Farming.

After the Proof-Of-Concept was a success, Maarten and Frederic officially founded Urban Crop Solutions in Waregem (Belgium) in 2014. In the first five years, the company installed a first Plant Factory and over 25 Container Farms throughout Europe and North-America. By 2019, both the indoor plant biology and the factory technology had shown its value, and the company was ready for the next commercial growth phase.

During Urban Crop’s first capital increase, Tom Debusschere was welcomed as co-Investor and new CEO to support the team to “grow at the crossroads of indoor plant biology and factory engineering.” In 2021, Tom handed over to Jean-Pierre Coene, the company’s former CTO. Tom remains on the board. 

We have been worked tirelessly to find a sensible solution to the open issues indoor farming still faces, of which the most important one is the high total unit cost. Based on the experiences of the customers of our FarmPro and FarmFlex, we have designed a 2nd generation Plant Factory from the ground up. And we’ve come up with a concept that ‘just makes sense’: the ModuleX Plant Factory. We hope you will value our contribution to this exciting new industry.

TEDx

In September 2017, our founder Maarten Vandecruys was invited to speak at TEDx to highlight the impact indoor vertical farming can have on our planet :

More from our team in action

Sustainability

Indoor vertical farms contribute substantially to 8 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 objectives that were established by the United Nations in 2015 to allow people to live on a more sustainable Planet by 2030. Indoor Vertical Farms (IVF) contribute substantially to 8 of these 17 goals.

Indoor Vertical Farms offer hyper-local farming jobs to the inner cities and communities across the globe. They provide decent work and economic growth in desert regions with no rainfall, or regions with limited sunshine.

IVF creates food security through sustainable agriculture. It produces nutrient-rich, fresh, healthy crops, making them accessible and affordable year-round for many people, also in harsh climates.

IVF recycles all water transpired by the crops during their photosynthesis process. The water is then sanitized, infused with the right nutrients, and given back to the crops. This reduces water use by 95% versus traditional open-air or greenhouse farming.

The traditional food supply chains are long, up to 4000 km. The crops have many touchpoints on the field, in cooled warehouses, in multi-day airconditioned transportation, and create up to 40% waste from field to fork. Hyper-local Indoor Vertical Farms reduce the distance, time and waste to almost zero.

IVF uses 90% less land than traditional agriculture and produces 20-30 times more food in the same space. IVF eliminates fertilizer run-off and land degradation, protecting all terrestrial ecosystems.

Careers

Interested in joining an exciting industry and growing together with us?