Local farms will be a big trend in a few years, says GreenTech CEO
They grow vegetables inside. Dmitry Lipovsky, CEO, and founder of GreenTech explains what their company offers in terms of indoor farms and grow rooms and where they want to go.
How did you get to the EXPO in Dubai and how did your company attract the attention of the managers of the global hotel chain?
I have been following the events surrounding EXPO since 2017 and was very interested in the event. Just the fact that a whole new part of the city was built and the overall infrastructure – highway, metro, residential area, or restaurants. In February 2020, I went on holiday to Dubai, where I had the chance to meet the management of the Czech Pavilion and see the construction of the EXPO and the Czech Spring Pavilion itself. It was then explained to me that the EXPO area will be divided into three parts and the Czech Pavilion will be located in the sustainability zone. At that moment, I did not hesitate and offered them our indoor farm Urbanio, which successfully operated throughout EXPO 2020. And I dare say that our farm was such a confirmation of a working concept that we managed to sign a pilot commercial project in the global chain Radisson Blu in Dubai.
Will the collaboration move to other hotels in the Middle East or elsewhere?
Within Radisson Blu, we plan to add a few hotels in Dubai and then expand within the peninsula – Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and finally Saudi Arabia.
In the Czech Republic, you are only at Manifesto Market in Prague. How satisfied are you with your presence here?
At Manifesto we introduced our container farm GreeenBox. In October it will be a year since it has been running at full speed, and we have already managed to grow several tons of leafy vegetables, which we have distributed further within Prague. The manifesto is an interesting concept in the center of Prague, and I think there was no better place to introduce our container technology than in a container gastro town.
Is there another place in sight where customers will buy fresh food from your indoor grows?
Yes, we have a lot of installations in the autumn, one of which customers will find within the Westfield Chodov shopping center in the first half of September. We will also be installing our Urbanio indoor farms in the offices of international companies such as Veolia or Siemens, but these are more private orders.
Why should other restaurants, hotels, or owners of large office buildings buy your grow room?
Each of these customer segments will probably have a slightly different reason to buy our farm. Hotels and restaurants get the key to growing local produce that tastes great and has high nutritional value. It’s also a marketing ploy and, in a way, an experience for the customer. For large global companies, it is mostly about green benefits and so-called well-being for employees. It’s a big topic at the moment because companies are constantly struggling with the belief of bringing people back to the office. But at the end of it all, a quality crop is grown sustainably without artificial fertilizers and other chemicals.
What led you to start a business in this field?
I have a technology background and have always been interested in technology that will help make farming more environmentally friendly. That’s why I founded GreenTech in 2020, where we are constantly working to develop and improve our farms. We do most of the processes and production ourselves – and what I enjoy even more about it is that the results come very promptly. Among other things, I believe that local “community” farms will be a big trend by the end of this decade and, given current world events, perhaps the only source of fresh produce that will meet local market capacity.