AeroFarms’ mission is to grow produce indoors with vastly improved resource efficiency to both traditional outdoor farming and greenhouses. A recognized name in a nascent field of farming, the company operates two commercial-scale vertical farms in the U.S., in which it grows greens to sell to nearby customers, like grocery store chains Whole Foods and ShopRite.
Now the New Jersey-based vertical farming venture AeroFarms has scored $100 million in funding, led by IKEA’s parent company, INGKA.
The company’s funding round follows a $100 million raise by German vertical farming venture InFarm last month. In spite of the large rounds AeroFarms and its peers are taking in, vertical farming technology has been slow to scale, owing to the high costs of technology and operational complexity.
Greenhouse farm operators, by comparison, are also taking in hundreds of millions of dollars but are rolling out large, ultra-high tech facilities. While less resource efficient than vertical farms claim to be, greenhouses already have demonstrable scale, use 90% less water and can produce 10-times more food per square meter than outdoor farms.
AeroFarms’ David Rosenberg told the Financial Times that vertical farming would take time to mature by noting that the company explicitly sought out alignment with patient capital and impact potential in its latest funding round.