Glowfarms, a Dutch start-up, was founded in 2020 by Luc de Vries and Ben Pieterse with an ambitious plan; creating a new type of vertical farming business model that would help make vertical farming mainstream and broadly applicable, says Ben Pieterse. “Currently, vertical farms are usually very expensive to build and operate, which means they are not able to produce at a competitive price. In our business model, vertical farming is a feasible solution for wholesalers and companies that are not necessarily at the top of the supply chain,” according to Pieterse.
The two young entrepreneurs own a farm as well that focuses on baby leaves and a great variety of herbs, but they want to expand into fruit, especially berry crops, in the future. They plan to build a bigger farm in a central location in Netherlands in addition to the one they have in Hoorn.
Luc and Ben were looking for a vertical farming lighting provider who can offer them products in a wide range of sizes and with any configuration tailored to their special needs and most importantly, at competitive prices.
After visiting Food Autonomy’s facilities in Hungary, Glowfarms ended up placing an order of 120 lighting fixtures and installed them in their pilot farm. The next phase of the business will involve thousands more vertical farm lights.
“From Food Autonomy, we can order in a wide range of sizes and any configuration, which is unique because a lot of the other lighting providers only have standard sizes and standard configurations.”- says Ben Pieterse
“With the highly efficient Food Autonomy LED lights, the Glowfarms business model can be achieved much more easily. Pieterse says that the plan is to expand abroad as they see heavy demand for this type of produce at the right price. Especially in the Middle East (where it is hard to produce outdoors) and in countries where the energy prices are lower, vertical farming could be a good alternative to produce perishable products (e.g. soft fruits, which are hard to transport when they are ripe.)
“If you are able to produce at a competitive price, which we have proven in The Netherlands, the same should be possible in many other countries. Our goal is to build truly competitive vertical farms; that is the starting point. I’m convinced it’s going to bring about a true vertical farming revolution,” Pieterse notes.
Hoorn, The Netherlands