PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Vancouver company is redefining the future of farming– and it’s getting some major growth.
Local indoor vertical farm, Forward Greens is growing up instead of out to meet rising demands.
“By growing vertically, Forward Greens is able to save on resources like water and land,” Kaneko told KOIN 6 News. “And we’re able to create an extremely local experience since we only ship up to 250 miles from our facility.”
The company’s inventive production methods were inspired by Kaneko’s first encounter with vertical farming during a business trip to Japan. The founder told KOIN 6 News, at that moment a seed was planted.
Driven by a passion for sustainability, Kaneko brought the idea back to Washington, building roots in Vancouver and continuing to develop and grow the company for over two years.
“Basically, we’re creating a really hospitable, ideal situation for the plants,” Kaneko explained. “We control temperature, lighting conditions, humidity, even the cycling of the irrigation so that we’re able to extract the optimal flavor and freshness for the customers.”
This month the company launched a new 11-product lineup of microgreens, salad greens, and baby greens available at Safeway and Albertsons stores throughout Oregon and Southern Washington.
“It’s super exciting!” said Kaneko. “It’s been a huge milestone for us since our major goal we’re trying to strive for is increasing and improving the accessibility of our product to the general public.”
Including the new growth and recent expansion, Forward Greens products are now locally available at Safeway, Albertsons, Whole Foods, New Seasons Markets and more.
Thanks to their vertical model, the company has been able to double production and reduce power consumption without increasing square footage.
With the plants’ close proximity to the Columbia River, Forward Greens has been able to offset their power consumption with hydropower, in addition to saving on vital resources such as water and land.
“There are a number of technologies and methodologies developing. We have plant-based foods and novel ways of growing,” explained Kaneko. “It’s all going to be part of a portfolio of solutions that helps get us closer to a more sustainable lifestyle. And I think we’re just one component of that.”