Volga | Farming, agriculture

Freshness record - Greenbox startup grows herbs for restaurants in the line of sight

10 Mar '20
The freshest basil and arugula will soon appear in the cafe of Saransk thanks to the new technologies used by the startup of the Nanocenter of Mordovia - the Greenbox company in the new vertical farms of its own production. Types and varieties of herbs are determined and grown in full accordance with the requirements of the future customer. Arugula and basil from Greenbox are environmentally friendly and more affordable in comparison with imported herbs grown in other regions and countries. Well, the freshness of herbs from Greenbox in Saransk is second to none - it takes only an hour from harvesting to delivering greens to the customer.
“Growing green crops in multi-tiered hydroponic plants, the so-called vertical (urban) farms, allows us not to depend on the time of year and weather conditions, to get a stable crop year-round. What is important for small businesses, to accommodate such installations, you can use small rooms in the city, it can be said, in the line of sight from the restaurant. This significantly reduces transportation and rental costs, as the farm is very compact, tiered. In the end, this is what allows the entrepreneur to offer the freshest products to customers at a competitive price,” says Maxim Chepezubov, general director of the Nanocenter of Mordovia.
Last year, Greenbox carried out technical tests of the first version of the vertical farm, worked out technical solutions and biotechnological modes of growing various plants. And this year, the startup conducted a series of tests on specific plants with the definition of, including economic metrics of the farm. In the design of the vertical farm, the know-how of other design companies of the Nanocenter of Mordovia was also used: the smart lighting system from the Greenhouse Lighting startup and special eco-friendly bioadditives from the Biotech startup.
“Our hydroponic installation implements the technology of periodic flooding of trays with the forced filling of each tier with nutrient solution. This solution allows the unit to be operated in an economical mode with partial load or at full capacity, growing up to 2600 plants at the same time,” says Ilya Fentisov, director of Greenbox. - Modernization of the vertical farm allows you to get up to 78 kg of arugula per month. Now it grows cultivated and wild arugula, as well as four types of basil - purple and green. Plant varieties are determined by our customer,” the startup manager explained.
In April, entrepreneurs plan the first commercial supply to local restaurants, and by summer to increase the volume of production by at least 3 times.
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