Vertical Field, an Israeli agro-technology company that develops vertical farming systems, announced partnerships with major retail chains in Russia (Magnit) and Ukraine (Varus).

As part of the joint venture, Vertical Field—owned by Israeli businessman Mikhael Mirilashvili—will set up vertical farms inside of the retail partners’ large branches. The first of these opened this month in Dnipro and Krasnodar to provide a steady harvest of healthy greens, which are sold at the retail stores.

Vyacheslav Krasnoyarov, director for in-house production at Magnit Retail Chain, said “produce will reach the shelf in a matter of minutes immediately after being harvested from the vertical farm, and customers will clearly see where the greens came from. This technology is environmentally friendly, optimizes processes and improves product quality.”

Vertical Field’s indoor farm is a mobile unit that grows leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and basil.

The mobile soil-based platform uses 90 percent less water and land than required for growing greenery in a traditional field. LED lights, which can be controlled remotely through an application, are used for intensive growth of greenery and can provide each crop with the precise wavelengths it needs to flourish. The module is also equipped with sensors that allow real-time monitoring of the plants’ condition.

Harvest is produced every two to three days. Direct sales will reduce logistic costs and supply fresh crops regardless of the season.

Menni Bushuev, vice president of business development of Beer Itzhak Energy, said: “We already have portable vertical farms that grow crops on four walls at various locations throughout the world. In Russia, we are integrating a nursery as well, where seedlings will be grown for about 10 days before they are transferred to our modular growing pods. After approximately three weeks, produce is ready for harvest and sale.

“The vertical farm has been designed to comfortably sit right on-site, adjacent to supermarkets, restaurants, institutions, city centers, hotels, educational institutions and more, he continued. “We have already developed protocols for growing 50 varieties of leafy greens and herbs, six varieties of mushrooms and now the protocol of everyone’s favorite fruit—strawberries—is on the way.”

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