YASAI - Rethinking Vertical Farming As A Service

Vertical Farming as a Service – Business Model by YASAI

Vertical Farming as a Service – Business Model by YASAI


This is the second post of a three-part series in partnership with YASAI. Read the first post about the largest vertical farm in the world in one of the smallest countries.

"We expect to lay the groundwork for large-scale industrial vertical farming in smart cities and showcase the incredible benefits of a circular economy." – Mark E. Zahran, Co-Founder & CEO of YASAI

With the design of their the largest vertical farm in the world, YASAI has broadened their scope to scaling up vertical farming within Europe & beyond. And, as always, they intend to do this whilst growing more with less for the health of people, plants & planet.

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To help support them in this undertaking, they’ve announced a strategic partnership with two leading equipment and tech suppliers. This collaboration will ensure the successful creation of the pilot facility in Zurich, enabling a 585 sq. m. grow space and a capacity of producing 18 tons of fresh herbs per year, whilst allowing for growth in the scalability and circularity of vertical farming worldwide.

The first of the partners is the Dutch company Logiqs. This recognized leader in the production of automated warehousing and logistics systems for agricultural products will supply automated shelving. Their groundbreaking GreenCube automated vertical farming system will aid in ensuring the financial feasibility and success of this technologically advanced farm.

The second partner is the well-known Helsinki-based international company, iFarm (Intellectual Farms Oy). As a tech company providing solutions for modern-day urban farming, specifically for indoor farming and agribusiness, iFarm will support the Zurich pilot with their nutrient solution management system, and most importantly, their cloud-based software platform Growtune. The platform will monitor and ensure compliance with the specific conditions required of vertical farms and crops to produce abundant yield.

Working together, these three partners will scale up vertical farming throughout Europe, and eventually the world, keeping circularity and zero waste at the core of their work. The Zurich project will not only test out this partnership and cutting-edge solution, it will also set a foundation for cities to adopt vertical farming.

“At YASAI, we imagine a world where everyone is empowered to grow their own plants; this is why we offer Vertical Farming as a Service” – Mark E. Zahran, Co-Founder & CEO of YASAI

Following through with their philosophy to “grow more with less”, YASAI had to contemplate a solution to ensure the rapid construction of automated, compact, and high-performance vertical farms to grow anything, anytime, anywhere. They achieved this goal by developing a modular vertical farming system called the “YASAI Block” together with their partners.

What makes this fully-automated system unique is it’s unlimited adaptability and flexibility to fit any context or space, enabling easy integration of the tech. In working to develop a start-to-finish solution for customers, YASAI’s offering is not just that of a hardware package, the technology also incorporates software, operations, and marketing of the vertical farm.

The YASAI Block can be split into two components: the service block, and the grow block. The AI-powered grow blocks offer the most advanced state-of-the art hydroponic technology with automated irrigation, LED lighting, ventilation, and internal logistics to severely reduce labor costs and facilitate 24/7 production. The elevators in the grow chambers allow for vertical distribution, and the overall modular designs grants the farm rapid scalability.

Highly automated vertical farms generally have higher CAPEX (capital expenses) than those with more manual labor, but, in turn, they offer a smaller loss of productive space, and also offer lower OPEX (operating expenses). YASAI’s smart energetical synergies and high degree of automation with the farm helps them achieve this lower OPEX and maximize space utilization for an increased yield.

“We envision a world of self-sustaining ecocities that form a sea of biodiversity!”  – Mark E. Zahran, Co-Founder & CEO of YASAI


By integrating Vertical Farming within the built environment and the existing economy, YASAI is working towards a more circular & local food system that has a particular focus on health. They build vertical farms that not only produce fresh food for the people living in smart cities, but also ones that use different waste streams as a resource to promote plant growth in the vertical farms themselves. The future of farming is circular.

As a result of this strategic partnership and the development of the YASAI Blocks, the pilot farm in Zurich farm exhibits circularity, indoor production, and local production. The scale and automation allow for 95% less fresh water usage, a circular nutrient flow, year-round pesticide-free production, and the freshest tasting produce with zero food miles and plastic packaging.

In bringing food from farm to fork, YASAI has built themselves and vertical farming out as a service. Customers pay them to build (create feasibility studies, design, and construct), operate (organize supplies, customize plant portfolios, and monitor and optimize the farm), and market (acquire target customers with branding and packaging) their vertical farms, managing the process from start-to-finish. To minimize your ecological footprint and maximize your vertical farm’s food quality, contact YASAI to build out your plans today!


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