Adapt brings urban mushroom farms to the US TechCrunch
Canadian vertical farming startup AgTech Adaptation is partnering with Reef Technology to bring its mushrooming shipping containers to major cities across the US, starting with Austin.
Reef turns urban real estate like parking lots into logistics and mobility center and currently operates more than 8,000 locations across hundreds of cities. The partnership will help Adapt place its shipping containers a few steps away from customers like restaurants and grocery stores without paying huge rents for a commercial or public space. industry in the city center.
Adapt opened its first shipping container in Austin and started delivering to restaurants this week. Over the next few years, the startup plans to expand to more than 50 locations, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Miami.
“Our model is to create hyper-local farms in densely populated urban areas to reduce the distance from farm to fork,” says Jonathan Murray, CEO and Founder of Adapt AgTech, told TechCrunch.
Adapt’s network of shipping container farms specializes in “gourmet specialty mushrooms,” which are gourmet mushrooms that weren’t available in retail stores in North America until very recently. Think pink, yellow, blue and imperial oysters, chestnut mushrooms, and lion’s mane in vogue.
Murray continues: “Mushrooms serve very well for container farming compared to other crops such as leafy greens because of their energy consumption. “They don’t need a lot of light. It’s really just temperature and humidity.”
Adapt, which launched in February 2022, delivered its first farm last June to a location in Toronto. The company has grown since then and now has farms in Ottawa, Vancouver, Halifax, Kingston and Austin. On February 17, Adapt said it would begin a partnership with Loblaws — Canada’s largest retailer — starting with two flagship stores in downtown Toronto, followed by dozens of other stores in Toronto. and Ottawa before expanding elsewhere in the following months.
Adapt will also launch with retail banners under Canadian grocery chain Sobeys and Pattison Food Group in 2023.
“By the end of 2023, we will be in the stores of at least three of the five largest retailers in Canada from Halifax to Vancouver and in between, representing more than 3,500 stores in total,” Murray said. know.
Adapt recently closed a seed round with VC Congruence on climate, and it will use the money to expand its base and hire more support.
Sustainable fruiting, cheaper mushrooms
Adapt AgTech designs and manufactures its shipping containers in Delta, British Columbia. In addition to the five containers in operation today, Adapt recently started production of 16 more and is aiming to deploy more than 25 in the next 12 months. Some of Adapt’s shipping containers are solar-powered with backup plugs, but for a quick US launch, the startup will plug its shipping containers into the grid. Murray says energy consumption is low – about 10 kilowatt hours per day.
The company’s distribution model is like a hub and speak. Adapt uses a centralized hub in Kingston, Ontario, to do all of the work in the lab and colonize the substrate blocks — that is, it allows the mycelium, the root structure of the fungus, to grow on blocks of sawdust, used coffee grounds or coir. The startup will then send these blocks to shipping containers, where the mushrooms can park near customers’ hands. This allows Adapt to deliver mushrooms within hours of harvest, says Murray, which not only means fresher mushrooms, but also helps mushrooms stay fresher longer and reduces spoilage.
The startup deploys and operates containers and fulfills orders. An operator oversees everything from harvesting to order management to mushroom delivery.
“All of our containers are currently operating primarily for a full-time farmer, so we are allowing them to become what we like to call ‘entrepreneuriers,’” says Murray. farm’. “So commissions are unlimited, grow your territory as big as you can. We will add containers, we will develop your territory. This allows us to bring new and young people into farming, which is exciting.”
Murray also noted that existing mushroom farm operators have reached out to Adapt to convert their home businesses into Adapt farms.
The whole process allows the startup to maintain vertical integration and thus save money on materials like substrate, which Adapt makes itself out of whatever is locally available. Adapt’s control over each farm also allows the company to track good fruiting mushroom strains and propagate them more, resulting in even better profits for the company and a cheap high-quality product. than what you buy at the farmers market, said Murray.