The world’s population places an incredible demand on the planet in all walks of life, perhaps none more so on its ability to feed the 7.6 billion people who inhabit earth.
Not only do current farming practices cause widespread damage to the environment, but they are also largely unsustainable and will fail to keep up with demand.
Looking to tackle this problem, by developing an automated vertical farming technique, is Luke Coffey and Adityapreet Bains, Co-Founders of Never Farm.
Luke, with a background as a robotics engineer, and Adityapreet, an electrical engineer with a passion for renewable energy, came together in 2017 to apply their skills towards tackling problems with an environmental impact.
During this initial period of research, they discovered that the leading cause of environmental issues was agriculture. As a result, they looked at various ways that they could improve traditional farming practices and ultimately settled on vertical farming, and how the process could be automated.
Their initial MVP was a small automated fruiting chamber for mushrooms, which they followed up by building a growing room that now allows them to sell approximately 20kg or exotic mushrooms to their customers each week.
Coming from a technical background both Luke and Adityapreet recognised that they had gap in the “business skills department” and as a result found that applying to an accelerator program such as EnergyLab would be invaluable in allowing them to take their company forward.
Fortunately, Never Farm was one of the fourteen startups selected to take part in the Energy Lab accelerator program which aims to back startups focused on clean energy innovation in Australia.
While still in the midst of the program Luke said “having access to the EnergyLab network has greatly improved our business skills. This was primarily by connecting us with different mentors who we are able to work with to improve our skills and further develop the company”.
In addition, with a focus on sustainability and zero-waste, Never Farm look to utilised waste material from other industries in their growing process. On that front, Luke said that “EnergyLab has connected us with partners, such as micro-breweries, that have waste material that we will be able to use to grow our mushrooms. Through these partnerships we will also be able to scale our process as we can collect more waste material”.
Over the next six months Never Farm is focused on increasing their production capacity to 1 tonne a week of exotic mushrooms and further developing the automation process. In the next 12 months the company aims to have the majority of that automation process developed and to be consistently increasing production capacity.
To find out more about Never Farm you can visit their website.
This article is part of an in-depth series we are running on the EnergyLabs Accelerator Program. Over the next few months we will be profiling all of the startups taking part in EnergyLabs program to showcase how they are tacking some of the world’s most pressing challenges when it comes to clean and renewable energy.