Brooklyn, New York-based Upward Farms, an indoor aquaponic vertical farming company, has partnered with Harpak-ULMA to launch automated packaging operations in support of the company’s growth and expansion plans.
Upward Farms’ state-of-the-art 250,000-square-foot facility in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is expected to commence operations in 2023. Upwards Farms’ fresh, locally grown microgreens and sustainably raised hybrid striped bass are available to consumers throughout New York City, Westchester and New Jersey, with plans to expand distribution throughout the Northeast.
The company’s commitment to innovative and sustainable farming techniques is made possible through the use of advanced automation and digital technologies designed to transform farming techniques into information-centric, production capabilities.
Packaging processes represent a proportion of production operations for companies that produce minimally processed natural products – making packaging quality, throughput and world-class OEE the key to optimizing and scaling output. Completing the picture with end-to-end automation eliminates operational performance variations attributed to manual or semi-manual processes.
“Harpak-ULMA shares our forward-looking philosophy of sustainability, innovation, and automation,” said Ben Silverman, Upward Farms CTO and co-founder. “We have demonstrated the difference technology creates in the controlled environment agriculture sector – as they create in packaging. That sort of philosophical alignment around ‘what’s possible’ creates a solid partner for our aggressive growth strategy.”
Harpak-ULMA’s platforms employ smart controls that enable self-diagnostics, remote connectivity and monitoring, as well as augmented-reality experiences for operations and maintenance. Leveraging digital technologies in packaging processes enhances production agility, flexibility and scalability and ensures a digital thread across enterprise operations, the key to performance visibility and management.
“We are extremely happy that Upward Farms elected to collaborate with us on such an important advancement in food production,” said Kevin Roach, Harpak-ULMA’s CEO. “Vertical aquaponic farming advances food chain sustainability tremendously – including a very positive impact on food distribution and its associated reduction in carbon footprint. Combining next generation production and packaging technologies allows us to re-invent the feasibility and profitability of sustainable food production and distribution practices. We are very proud to play a role in such an important and much-needed project.”
Upward Farms is a vertical farming company bringing whole ecosystems into controlled environment agriculture through aquaponic farming of leafy greens, fish and a robust and beneficial microbiome. Upward Farms is the only large-scale vertical farm offering locally grown, washed and ready to eat USDA Certified Organic leafy greens and Best Aquaculture Practices-certified fish.
Upward Farms grows and packs microgreens at Whole Foods Market. As a leader in the science behind regenerative agriculture, Upward Farms understands the role of the microbiome in the health of the soils and waters that produce the food on our plate.
To learn more, visit upwardfarms.com.