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Innovation Elevated

October 27, 2023
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Alex Tyink

Alex Tyink, President, Fork Farms in Green Bay, Wisconsin, oversees the development of new technologies designed to ensure communities have access to affordable fresh food.

Column by Alex Tyink

We all know that the world is changing every day, even every minute. With rapid climate change, high food costs, and continued supply chain disruptions persisting across the globe, I believe that it’s more important now than ever for companies to use innovative technology to create products that encourage sustainable living.

Fork Farms is dedicated to developing the most efficient growing technology to invent ways to ensure communities have access to consistent, affordable fresh food. With the introduction of our newest advanced farming technology, the Flex Acre, we have the opportunity to further our impact and make fresh food abundant to more people.

The Flex Acre is an innovative hydroponic solution that leverages controlled agriculture technology to enable communities to grow fresh produce at scale. It is the most efficient and transformative hydroponic solution on the planet. The Flex Acre was developed to meet the growing demands of our customers and partners, and to create an indoor vertical farm designed with modularity, flexibility, and scalability in mind. Each Flex Acre is a 9-feet high by 9-feet long by 3-feet wide growing system capable of producing more than 100 pounds of leafy greens and other vegetables every month.

In addition to the farm, we have solved for the complexity of controlling indoor environments at scale. This is called the Utility Hub and it is a fully integrated HVAC, power, and plumbing solution that recaptures the room’s energy and water. This industry-leading technology minimizes the number of facility updates required to install an indoor farm, lowers capital costs, and shortens installation timeframes. Another exciting element is that this system has the capacity to properly grow crops with different environmental needs in the same growing area, creating more flexibility to grow a variety of foods in the same area at the same time.

Noteworthy for Wisconsin, the largest installation project of our Flex Acres, and the first to utilize the new Utility Hubs, will begin this summer on the fourth floor of Rockwell Automation’s headquarters in downtown Milwaukee. The indoor vertical farm, named Clocktower Farms, will occupy 7,300-square-feet of space and through 72 Flex Acres will be capable of producing 540,000 plants and almost 150,000 pounds of food annually, or 1,200,000 servings – enough to feed roughly 5,000 Milwaukee households annually. Think about a football field covered with growing hydroponic farms, and you have Clocktower Farms.

The world indeed is changing every day and every minute.

We’ve also expanded Farmative, our digital platform, that connects growers worldwide digitally to help build an online farming community. It is a one stop location to access all resources related to the Flex Farm experience, including growing videos, tutorials, an online store and more. It is also a place for partners to connect with Fork Farms experts and other farmers as a space to share harvests, ideas, and research.

We love to live and work in Wisconsin, and are fortunate that the number of partners we work with in the state of Wisconsin grows each day. With the significant installation of 72 Flex Acres at the Rockwell headquarters, our impact in the Milwaukee-area will be like nothing we’ve experienced in the past, and we are thrilled to help feed thousands of Milwaukee households annually. We are looking forward to partnering with more community builders, corporations, government leaders, and philanthropic organizations to deploy this exciting technology in the years ahead.

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