Soli Organic announces $ 120 million in new funding to expand indoor soil-based farms


Virginia-based indoor grow company Soli Bio announced last week that it had entered into a $ 120 million financing deal with real estate firm Decennial Group. This new partnership will help the company in its expansion plans with eight new farms, each with the capacity to produce 5 million pounds of product per year.

Soli was founded in 1989 as the Shenandoah Growers, a conventional farming company based in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. The partnership and expansion of Decennial Group is an important step in the company’s transition to fully indoor production.

While many environmentally controlled farming businesses use hydroponic and aeroponic technologies to facilitate indoor growth, Soli uses a soil-based system. Last August, this exclusive technology won the Agtech Breakthrough Award for Sunless Production System of the Year.

The company says its soil-based, LED-powered approach has helped it reduce the unit costs of organic produce compared to conventional farming or other indoor growing methods. One of the main selling points of environmentally controlled agriculture is that the array of developing technologies could make healthy food more accessible to everyone.

By using its soil-based system, Soli focuses on reducing water and energy consumption. “Our organic soil, 95% of which is recycled into our system after use, is an ideal growing medium for crops due to its slow release of water, with crops controlling uptake according to their needs,” said a company representative at The Spoon via email. “Reflecting our ‘biology first’ philosophy, we also control environmental factors, such as leaf temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and light, to optimize plants’ efficiency in the field. water absorption. “

The company is also working on optimizing its LED lighting systems to save energy and uses wind and solar power in some locations.

Soli has already opened its first new construction, which will be located in Anderson County, South Carolina. The company expects the facility to be operational by the second quarter of 2022 and create 50 local jobs. The location of the other facilities has not yet been announced.

The company has also taken steps to increase the market reach of its products (which include herbs, leafy greens and microgreens) by equipping its C suite with executives from leading food brands. In June, former Starbucks chief marketing officer Matthew Ryan became the company’s new CEO, while former Postmates senior vice president Mike Buckley became chief financial officer.

“My career has been shaped and defined by innovative and market-leading companies. The growth opportunities here could be even greater, as Shenandoah Growers is uniquely positioned to meet the converging demand for affordable, high-quality and organic produce, and the need to grow them sustainably and reliably, ”said Ryan said in a press release. on changes of direction.

It will be interesting to see how the combination of Soli’s proprietary cultivation technology, her experience in traditional agriculture and the leadership of large companies affects the company’s transition to fully indoor cultivation and how agriculture d The floor-based interior will compare to other methods in terms of environmental friendliness. footprint and economic efficiency.


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