Mike Zelkind Investor & Urban Farmer 80 Acres Farms
We’ve really corrupted our food supply chain, says investor and indoor farmer Mike Zelkind of 80 Acres Farms. You can’t transport food 2,000 miles and still have it come to you tasting great. 80 acres wants to bring back a fresh local food supply to make communities, cities and areas self-sustainable again.
Delivering fresh food straight to the nearby consumer: Zelkind shows it can be done. “In the hearts of neighborhoods across America, we grow shockingly flavorful produce by using 100 percent renewable energy with 97 percent less water and zero pesticides”.
“In traditional farming supply chains, produce is bred to survive ultra-long transportation cycles. Produce should be bred for flavor, nutrition, and texture. Today, due to temperature constraints, a lot of our produce comes from Salinas, California and Yuma, Arizona. With technological advances, including the efficiency of LED lights, big data and all, we are able to grow outside of these areas and harvest high-quality produce that is completely pesticide-free and nutritionally dense using vertical farming.”
80 Acres converts urban spaces into ultra-efficient farms that maximize energy and space. The company has facilities in Ohio, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Alabama, from which it sells leafy greens, tomatoes, micro greens and herbs to national grocers, local retailers, restaurants, and food service providers. It expects to add grapes and strawberries in the near future.
Crops produced free of pesticides and GMOs, picked and delivered within days. In December 2018, 80 Acres raised $40 million in equity capital to create the first fully automated indoor farm. The facility will optimize every aspect of growing produce indoors, including seeding, growing and harvesting. It will include handling robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and around-the-clock monitoring sensors and control systems to create food that is truly local and honestly fresh, 365 days a year.