Authors: Verna Chen, Natalie Radu
Founded by Ali Daniali in April 2021, HRVSTS distributes food grown indoors that is managed from seed to delivery. The company utilizes Amazon Web Service technology to virtually connect buyers across a network of farmers and provides a sustainable way to distribute food, promoting efficiency and profitability.
Ali visualizes his company as the “Airbnb for vertical farming.” When the buyer places an order for the future, it matches supply to demand exactly, producing no waste. The seeds are sent to the grower with instructions detailing the amount and variety to be grown in a certain amount of time. After harvest, the food is delivered to the buyer in 24 hours, as the grower is ideally no farther than 15 to 20 miles away.
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To ensure that franchises across the country consistently receive quality products, HRVSTS supplies the seeds to the growers. When a local farmer cannot meet the demand, algorithms on the platform conveniently find other farmers to grow the crops. With 15 to 18 percent in profits, the company buys less, sells more, and pays the growers more.
The business is based in the United States, with about 100 growers located from Connecticut to California. The platform also provides an alternate method to buy food if big distributors are out of stock. Because the technology is new, big distributors are hesitant to switch since it may risk the safety of their business. However, the pandemic revealed key issues with traditional food distribution as long-distance transport proved difficult.
Previously working in telecommunications, Ali was inspired by a client to start his own farming business. After conducting several interviews, he realized that many farmers had a chronic dilemma about what to grow and who to sell to, which motivated him to develop a distribution system using technology. “I would like to be known as a person and a company that made small-scale farming popular again,” Ali expressed. “We’ve got to be more resilient and have a decentralized way of growing food. And that means having small, medium-sized farmers again in this country.” With vertical farming, the “most approachable technology”, small agriculture can be reestablished and distributed sustainably.