iFarm Wants Farms To Be As Common In Homes As Computers
AGR: Can you tell us how iFarm was started?
iFarm was started in 2017. Our founders wanted to eat fresh, organic vegetables, lettuce, and berries. They were traveling a lot, particularly in Europe, where they saw produce being grown year-round. They wanted to replicate the growing operations at home, in Siberia. After the founders built several farms and did some R&D, they decided to turn it into a business and provide people with a new way of food production that was clean, sustainable, efficient and easy.
What is it about iFarm’s technology that sets you apart?
We are trying to learn from other vertical farms and learn what is needed by farmers, supermarkets, private houses etc. We are not developing farms, we are trying to develop a new vision of farming for the future. Also, we are trying to be flexible, we are developing our software system in a way that can be easily integrated into other technologies.
At the same time, we are not going to become farmers and sell greens. We are providing others with this tool. We are giving all people the possibility to grow food easily anywhere. Yes, today we are forced to build hardware and software parts ourselves, but it is because there are not enough offers on the market yet.
In the future, we hope to work with most types of farms. We believe in a future where these kinds of farms will be in almost every house, similarly to what happened with PCs. Computers were big and expensive 50 years ago, but now they are everywhere and everyone can use them and benefit. We are trying to make “farmership” or fresh food production easy and accessible for everyone.
iFarm is currently based in Russia, what markets are you looking to expand into next and why?
Today most of our R&D is based in Russia for 2 main reasons. First, it is the mother country for our main founder. Second, it was less expensive to start there. We learned many things like how to grow in extremely cold conditions. We know how to grow when the weather is -50C, like we have in Siberia. So we do not have to worry about working in other kinds of extreme environments, like in Africa or the Middle East.
Now we are moving. We are starting in Finland, where we just recently registered a company. We will be growing in Northern Europe and we will build our R&D Farm in Finland. We hope to get customers here in the Nordic countries, we are negotiating with several already.
Generally we want to be global. We already have orders from 20+ countries throughout Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. We just cannot do everything in 1 day, it is a long path. Many things we are still learning how to do. Different countries, different regulations, prices, partners to work with. Most likely after the Nordic countries the next step will be Middle East, where there is a clear demand for vertical farming.
What is your vision for the future of iFarm?
I really think this company will grow fast. We have a clear strategy and a great team. In 3-5 years we will be one of the leaders in vertical farming technology. We will create new standards. We will have millions of square meters of growing areas working on our technology. We are doing a really good thing, we are killing hunger and at the same time producing food in a sustainable way.
What can we expect to hear from you at this year’s GreenTech conference?
I will speak about our vision of a new style of living and how technology can help it. Having distributed farming and food production in living places, humanity can finally be free. We were always forced to live where we can get food or produce. This situation is now changing rapidly. We can produce everywhere, it gives us the possibility to live anywhere and have food security.