FFAR Awards $1 Million Grant to AeroFarms for Research to Improve Quality of Leafy Greens
Posted on September 7, 2017
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), a nonprofit organization established through bipartisan congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, today announced a Seeding Solutions grant awarded to AeroFarms, a leading indoor vertical farming company with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms will match the Foundation’s grant for a total investment of nearly $2 million.
While current plant breeding research focuses on breeding plants that are adapted to their environments, this new approach will investigate how to harness environmental conditions to improve the characteristics of plants grown indoors, where conditions like temperature and humidity can be maintained with precision. Information generated from this research will be published and presented at controlled environment agriculture industry conferences, including events tailored to startup companies and prospective entrepreneurs.
Stated Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of United Fresh Produce Association: United Fresh is dedicated to championing new innovations and technologies to support our mission of growing produce consumption. Pioneering initiatives like the work by AeroFarms and FFAR will help lead the produce industry with a science-backed approach to understand how to grow great tasting and nutritionally dense products consistently all year. We believe that there is a need for even more public/private partnerships like this to spur breakthroughs.
This project is being supported by FFAR through its Seeding Solutions grant program, which calls for bold, innovative, and potentially transformative research proposals in the Foundation’s seven Challenge Areas. This grant is being funded within the Urban Food Systems Challenge Area, which aims to augment the capabilities of our current food system to feed urban populations by enhancing urban and peri-urban agriculture.
From Left to Right: Roger Buelow, AeroFarms CTO, Ann Bartuska, Ph.D., Acting Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, USDA and FFAR Board Member, Sally Rockey, Ph.D.,Executive Director, FFAR, Parag Chitnis, Ph.D., Deputy Director, USDA NIFA, David Rosenberg, AeroFarms CEO, Marc Oshima, AeroFarms CMO, and Tom Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh Produce Association.