Boston AgTech Innovation Spotlight: Freight Farms
May 23, 2017
As a lead up to GAI AgTech Week 2017, the GAI team thought it would be interesting to tell you about some of the local agtech players we’ve been meeting during our planning of this third annual agtech event, which will take place in Boston in June.
CEO and Co-founder
Freight Farms manufactures high-volume crop production units made from up-cycled freight containers. Using advanced growing technology and automation, it’s easy for anyone looking to grow a local food economy to get started – no matter their background or geography.
How did you come into the agtech scene and what was your personal inspiration?
The earliest conception for Freight Farms was back in 2009-2010 when my co-founder Jon and I were consulting in greenhouse design and implementation. Our initial concept was centered around creating a system that anyone with a standard level of education could use to create an ecosystem of food independence while cutting down on the environmental costs of food production and distribution. Back then, no one was really using the term “agtech.” We realized that no one was taking advantage of the progression of LEDs and putting it together in a way that was focused on making more people into farmers.
Please tell us a bit about Freight Farms. How will your technology disrupt the agriculture sector?
At Freight Farms we provide both the physical and digital solutions for creating local produce ecosystems on a global scale. Our flagship product, the Leafy Green Machine (or LGM as we like to call it), is a modular hydroponic growing system built inside a recycled shipping container. The production capacity of the LGM is equal to about 1.8 acres of farmland, and is capable of growing a variety produce from lettuces to herbs and hearty greens. As a company, we are committed to lowering the barriers to entry by decreasing the cost to start up a farm, and to simplifying the hydroponic growing process, so that any company, individual or organization can grow fresh produce year-round no matter what their technical or farming experience might be.
How has being located in the Boston area supported your business goals?
We feel incredibly lucky to be headquartered in such an innovative and forward thinking city. The community here has been so supportive and excited about what we’re doing. The resources we’ve had here have just been outstanding. Having participated in TechStars Boston as well as the MassChallenge accelerator, we were propelled into an atmosphere of people willing to share resources and it allowed us to build strong roots and keep growing. On top of that, the urban agriculture movement has taken off in Boston, and the city has been setting the standard nation-wide. We’re very proud to be a part of that movement.
Are you currently raising capital, and how do you see your company evolving over the next five years?
At the moment, we’re not raising capital but are building relationships with a variety of investors and strategic partners that share our vision for the future of agriculture. As for the next five years, we’re working to build more tools to engage with the next generation of farmers. We want to make it as easy as possible for individuals, companies and organizations in the U.S. and abroad to join our freight farmer community and empower them to grow local food anywhere, regardless of geography.
Brad McNamara is the CEO and co-founder of Freight Farms, an agriculture technology company that provides physical and digital solutions for creating local produce ecosystems on a global scale. Brad and his co-founder, Jon Friedman, developed the company’s flagship product, the Leafy Green Machine, to allow any business to grow a high-volume of fresh produce in any environment regardless of the climate. He has big expectations for the future, envisioning Freight Farms scattered across the globe making a dramatic impact on how food is produced. Brad has an MBA and Masters in Environmental Science from Clark University. Follow him on twitter at @CarFreeBrad.
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