Times have been busy for vertical farming firm Eco Convergence Group. First, it recently changed its name to Kalera, and then announced beginning construction of a new, modern indoor growing facility in Orlando, which is designed to provide a wealth of leafy green vegetables for the local hospitality, grocery, and foodservice industries.
Last year, the company opened the first of several planned hydroponics HyCube growing centers with the completion of a facility located on the premises of the Orlando World Center Marriott. Kalera is now gearing to include a new growing facility, which will be the single largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the Southeast U.S.
Kalera is slated to begin production at the new indoor farm sometime later this year and is projected to grow more than 5 million heads of lettuce annually.
“Our goal at Kalera is to harness plant and data science to deliver new economies of scale in agriculture, making it possible for more people to have access to high-quality, non-GMO, clean, nutritious food, locally grown without the use of pesticides — no matter the season,” said Cristian Toma, CEO of Kalera in a news release. “We have proven the technology and refined our production methods to a point where we are ready to scale up.”
Kalera promotes that it never uses any pesticides, insecticides, hormones, or GMOs.
The company is planting non-GMO seed, and has refined plant and data science-driven methods to optimize production practices. By using a closed loop irrigation system, Kalera notes that its plants grow while consuming 95% less water compared to field farming. In addition, the company utilizes cleanroom technology and processes to eliminate the use of chemicals and remove exposure to pathogens.
The new Orlando structure (once finished) will deliver fresh product to the local market. The company, which has offices in Orlando and Norway, is planning for more growth and will build additional facilities as production capacity is further expanded in the U.S. and internationally.