Out of Dallas-Fort Worth, a private next-generation indoor farming company is changing the way we grow our crops and feed our communities.
Texas may be big, but Eden Green Technology aims to increase accessibility, affordability and nutrition. globally.
The company offers cities and retailers “turnkey solutions that can help them build food security and food independence,” in short, sustainable, scalable farming. How? Proprietary vertical farming technology stacks that produce hyper-fresh and hyper-local food to communities.
How Does Eden Green Build Up?
AgTech solutions – “Agriculture 4.0” – offer many, but few recent innovations as promising as vertical hydroponic farming. I’ve covered several pioneers in this field, including AppHarvest in eastern Kentucky and Freight Farms in New England.
Eden Green is particularly influential in the movement to revolutionize food farming to be more resilient, ethical, fair and environmentally responsible. The company’s proprietary microclimate environments, hydroponic hanging systems and state-of-the-art lighting solutions enable rapid construction and expansion, increased reach and profitable production.
Each of its vertical greenhouses can produce 11 to 13 harvests per year and grow over 200 crops, ensuring an on-demand and consistent supply for sales associates.
“The 5,000-mile salads need to stop,” the company says, and it’s not just because they’re so unreliable.
“Your produce is always guaranteed to be locally grown, freshly harvested, packaged to your specifications and delivered within hours, not weeks,” the company says with Eden Green.
Thus, local consumers have access to extremely fresh lettuce, salad and edible greens, herbs, fruits, vegetables such as cucumbers, bok choy, celery and peppers, and even some types of flowers.
The benefits go far beyond customers’ salad plates. According to the company, using Eden Green’s cultivation method requires 99 percent less soil and 98 percent less water, creates 94 percent less food waste and requires 85 percent fewer food routes. All this has profound effects on the environment and the economy.
Growing in North Texas
Eddy Badrina, CEO of Eden Green since 2016, describes the company’s master plan as a system of modular, decentralized, high-density vertical greenhouses arrayed like a “mesh net” across the country.
A term borrowed from the tech industry where Badrina comes from, the mesh network is an infrastructure topography made up of directly and dynamically connected “nodes” (in this case, greenhouses) that cooperate and trade with each other.
For example, in September 2022, Eden Green opened the first phase of a $47 million commercial vertical farm in an opportunity site in Cleburne, Texas. The plant produces 1.8 million pounds of produce per year on just 62,500 square feet of cultivation space, making it one of the highest yielding plants in the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry.
Badrina says that as more of these vertical hydroponic farm nodes come online, together they will drastically shorten local supply chains and eliminate millions of extra food miles and their associated costs, environmental impacts and degradation.
Badrina says the real advantage of this innovation lies in its final cost to the consumer. “You get locally grown produce, but [multiple] communities. “To have them everywhere and to distribute the food supply costs that are currently inherent in the system and reduce waste, then the price starts to drop meaningfully.”
“You can actually have greens that are really fresh, long lasting, highly nutritious, high profile, and affordable for everyone.” The company is considering future licensing deals, but for now it sources directly from its own farms. “Our entire business model is based on white labeling and private labeling rather than having our own retail brand.”
In some cases, especially when co-located with or adjacent to distribution centers, it’s possible to cut basically every penny of transportation and logistics, Badrina said. Then we pass that on to retailers and their consumers.”
And when that happens, you “fundamentally change the diet and eating habits of the culture around you.”
This allows the company to give back. Putting the green where its mouth is, the company retains 10 percent of each harvest on its North Texas ranch to support hunger reduction efforts by regional nonprofits. He hopes to make this a model for future farms and partners.
Meanwhile, Badrina says we can say goodbye to the “sad, sad salad” that’s been toasting in our fridge for two weeks.
For over 20 years, Badrina’s career has spanned entrepreneurial, corporate and government roles, including roles in the State Department and involvement in the White House, where she was part of an initiative for Asian and Pacific Island entrepreneurs.
Prior to Eden Green, Badrina graduated from Texas A&M and the Bush School of Government and Public Service, co-founded and led BuzzShift, a digital growth agency for midsize brands and organizations, as well as two other tech startups. She serves as an Advisory Board member at Texas A&M College of Agriculture, Agrilife agencies, and various research organizations.
But he’s dealing with growing businesses, even as he helps improve the planet and the lives of its inhabitants. Part of this includes creating portfolios of patents to continually increase efficiency, yield, and probability.
And, in part, it provides a business rationale and secures corresponding financial support for the critical changes in the agricultural industry that we and future generations will rely on for survival.
Eden Green is still only backed by private investors, but Badrina reports that the company is on a tour with institutional investors.
“They look at us as greenhouse infrastructure. They literally look at us like a power plant that produces a certain product, a certain commodity, and then sells it on the open market. There is a return on invested capital. We have the same thing in our greenhouses.”
For Badrina, the future of food is lush: “I think the future of food systems looks like a very collaborative dance between traditional, regenerative and CEA,” she says. “It really is. Each has their limitations, but if they can all focus on their own strengths…
“With traditional,” says Badrina, “it’s just sheer scale. With regenerative, these work really well for the smaller communities adjacent to them, so it’s fair to say that regenerative agriculture can be very helpful in making these communities more resilient, such as fairy-town, old-town and even rural-type communities.
“So you have CEA that enables large-scale commodification, whether indoors or greenhouses,” he says. I think all three of them are working and collaborating together. This is what the future of food supply looks like.”
If you’d like to dig deeper with more purpose-built companies like Eden Green, check out the Lead with We podcast Hereso you can build a company that transforms consumer behavior and our future.