Vertical farming rethought: The start-up Unfold focuses on the development of new seed varieties

The new start-up Unfold of Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment unit of Bayer AG and Temasek, a global investment firm based in Singapore, focuses on vertical farming. However, the focus is not on infrastructure development, but on the genetic potential of vertical farms. The start-up is the only company of its kind and develops new seed varieties from the genes of vegetable plants. These are then combined with cultivation recommendations for the special conditions in multi-storey greenhouses. The aim is to set new standards in quality, efficiency and sustainability in vertical farming.

Unfold is headquartered in Davis, California, USA, and operates mainly in the USA and Singapore. It will support the local production of popular vegetable varieties on the one hand and contribute to a reliable and safe supply of sustainably produced vegetables on the other. This will allow the company to supply especially areas with very limited access to affordable and nutritious food, even in times of crisis such as the global COVID 19 pandemic.

Vertical farms are playing an increasingly important role in this area in particular. Thanks to an adapted light intensity and an optimal supply of nutrients, plants grow faster. This makes it possible to reliably produce fresh fruit and vegetables anywhere and at any time on a smaller area under cultivation and with lower resource consumption than in conventional agriculture. Since vertical farms are usually located close to or in cities, the food is also transported more quickly, thus enabling environmentally friendly and fast supply of the ever-growing cities.