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Success story: Fork Farms putting down roots in Wisconsin

July 28, 2021
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Alex Tyink shows off a Flex Farm display model in the lobby of Green Bay’s TitletownTech to WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes during a May visit.

Products: Flex Farms are fully self-contained vertical hydroponic systems with 288 unique growing spaces. The company’s patented technology takes indoor vertical hydroponic growing to a new level by maximizing growth and minimizing required inputs. Flex Farms grow food faster, in less space with less water and electricity. They are portable and only require a standard electrical outlet and less than 10 square feet of space. By carefully controlling everything plants need to thrive, each Flex Farm can grow more than 394 pounds of produce annually. The Flex Farm Grow Supplies Box Subscription program delivers all the supplies a customer needs to grow every three months right to their door.

Company founded: Fork Farms was founded in 2010 as an independent contractor building rooftop and indoor gardens for schools and food programs in New York. In 2014, Fork Farms moved back to Wisconsin (the home state of co-founder and president Alex Tyink) and the first Flex Farm prototype was built out of wood in a garage.

Location:  In 2020, Fork Farms moved its headquarters to TitletownTech in Green Bay. TitletownTech is a partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft that builds and funds early-stage, high-growth businesses. Fork Farms believes TitletownTech is an incredibly innovative model that significantly bolsters the local startup economy. The depth of support is unprecedented and will provide Fork Farms significant acceleration and lift to the organization’s mission of unleashing the power of fresh food production.

Employees: 15

Backstory: A decade ago, a simple bag of lettuce grown on a rooftop in Brooklyn, New York, ignited a chain of events that would lead to the cognizance of the true power of “good food” and its ability to bring about happier, healthier people through the power of fresh food production. Fork Farms has since blossomed from an independent contractor building rooftop gardens to a garage-based Flex Farm prototype made out of wood, and most recently into partnerships with the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. With over 600 Flex Farm installations completed in 29 states, Israel and Canada, Fork Farms is poised to continue its passionate endeavor towards real and sustainable change.

Wisconsin’s business environment: “Wisconsin’s business environment has helped Fork Farms grow significantly,” says Tyink. “We outsource a significant amount of our overhead to Wisconsin businesses to allow us to rapidly respond to our expansion needs. Our Wisconsin fulfillment partners have the ability to scale their operations to meet the increase in demand for our products. Our relationship with these partners also allows us to explore how we can scale our consumable products to provide more affordable solutions breaking down barriers to entry into vertical hydroponic growing. In the next year, we will be making significant investments in content that deepens and enriches the experience with indoor vertical hydroponic growing.”

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