A vertical farming startup with roots in Langley and Pitt Meadows is up for an innovation award at the 2022 South by Southwest (SXWS) conference based in Austin, Texas.
Hydrogreen is a subsidiary of the locally-based CubicFarm Systems, which started in Langley as a spin-off of greenhouse grower Bevo Farms.
Vertical farming is the growing of crops indoors, typically using powerful lights and either hydroponic or aeroponic conditions. The idea is to grow large amounts of crops on a small amount of land, quickly and under controlled conditions, and close to the customers for the crops, thereby reducing the need for pesticides, land, and the energy used in transporting food hundreds or thousands of kilometres.
Like many vertical farm startups, CubicFarm grows lettuces and leafy greens, but it also specializes in animal feed.
Its Hydrogreen system grows crops such as silage and alfalfa, and CubicFarm says it can cut water usage by more than 90 per cent with each of them, as well as vastly reducing land use.
CubicFarms advertises Hydrogreen with the claim that its system can feed 1,000 head of beef cows while costing up to $186,470 less than conventional feed growing methods. The company claims the fast-growing feed under artificial lights can produce up to 360 harvests a year. One rack out of a six-tier system is harvested every day.
In 2021, CubicFarms raised more than $15 million in new financing from investors through sales of stock and a private placement of shares.
HydroGreen’s nomination was in the New Economy category of the SXWS Innovation Awards.
“Each 2022 finalist is pushing the envelope with the new ideas, new technologies, and new processes that they are bringing to the table,” said Hugh Forrest, SXSW chief programming officer. “I can’t wait until the Innovation Awards Ceremony on March 14 to see which of these finalists emerge as the best of the best of the best!”
There are five other finalists in the New Economy category, including another indoor farming company.
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