When I founded SMARTKAS two years ago, I discovered the Indoor Agtech Innovation Summit in New York and dreamt of one day being able to attend. The event is the who’s who of the agtech world and brings together international growers, operators, tech providers, seed companies, food retailers, investors and start-ups to talk about all things vertical farming. Never did I think that within 24 months of launching SMARTKAS, I would be speaking on a panel alongside some of the world’s biggest agri-innovators. But that’s exactly what I did last month.
My fellow panelists and I had a great discussion about scaling up indoor-grown strawberries and I had the opportunity to share the SMARTKAS growth story with our industry peers and many others. It meant so much to speak at this event and I shall use this milestone as a launch pad for the next chapter of our growth.
Our low-emission and waste-free production process uses renewable energy sources: wind, water and solar power. Our innovative technologies are built to optimize light, heat, water, carbon dioxide and nutrition to the plants we grow in our smart farms.
People often ask me why I’m so passionate about SMARTKAS; why I spend so much time on the road, on a plane and making the smallest adjustments until it's perfect. The answer is simple: I want to feed the world. It might sound ambitious. Admittedly, it is. But I truly believe that without smart farming solutions and innovation in the agricultural industry, the world will not be able to feed 10bn people by 2050. With everything that is happening around the world right now, food security has never been more critical.
Food security and the current food crisis were the main topics of conversation with two major interviews I had last month. I spoke with journalist KATIE JENSEN FROM ARAB NEWS – the Middle East’s biggest English language newspaper – about why countries need to diversify their food sources before it’s too late. Katie asked a few tough questions (my favorite kind!) and I think it made for an interesting interview that raises many important topics right now.
It was an honor to talk to INDEX.HU – Hungary’s largest media outlet – about our new project in Minas Gerais, Brazil. It’s been a year since my last interview with Index and it was great to share all our recent news with a publication that I have long admired. I was traveling back to Amsterdam from Hungary the day the article was published and it was quite surreal to have people at the airport stop and ask me if I was the man pictured in the main news article that day!
Hungary remains an important country in our growth plans and one that is particularly close to my heart. I have just returned from a short visit to check on the progress of our office in Budapest, which is almost finished. Our new Central Eastern European headquarters will be home to our growing robotics and artificial intelligence team. The team is currently working on four intellectual properties (hard and software) to support our innovation and growth. The office will also be our powerhouse and a centralized hub for all of our R&D, plant data and analytics and the control center of seven up-and-coming smart farms in Europe.
While I was in Hungary the team showed me the first of our IPs – a new SMARTKAS operating system – which is almost complete. The best way to describe this piece of software is similar to an iOS or Windows operating system for farming. What is currently missing from the agriculture sector, whether you are talking about field farming, greenhouses, polytunnel or vertical farms, is a very strong centralized, independent software provider upon which you can interface with hardware. What does that mean? Put simply, it means we’ll be able to control all aspects of the plant cycle remotely and create optimal growing conditions for our plants from anywhere in the world – a first of its kind!
Our three other IPs are being developed in parallel to this new operating system. In the past, I’ve been overly cautious about sharing updates such as these as I believe in substance and not just words. But given so much of our hard work is now coming to fruition, I will share more about our developments and good news. Until next time!
By 2050 the planet will need to provide food for over 10 billion people. Designed to target all aspects of food security, our smart and sustainable agricultural growing processes are set to change the way we feed the world.Read More