Adapt brings urban mushroom farms to the United States • TechCrunch

Adapt brings urban mushroom farms to the United States • TechCrunch

Adapt brings urban mushroom farms to the United States • TechCrunch

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Canadian vertical farming startup Adapt AgTech is partnering with Reef Technology to bring its mushroom growing shipping containers to major cities across the United States, starting with Austin.


Reef transforms urban real estate like parking lots into mobility and logistics hubs and currently operates more than 8,000 locations in hundreds of cities. The partnership will help Adapt place its shipping containers within walking distance of customers such as restaurants and grocery stores, without having to pay the astronomical rent of commercial or industrial space in a city center.

Adapt opened its first shipping container in Austin and began deliveries to restaurants this week. Over the next few years, the startup plans to expand to more than 50 locations, including Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, and Miami.

“Our model is to create hyper-local farms in densely populated urban areas to reduce the distance between farm and fork,” Jonathan Murray, CEO and founder of Adapt AgTech, told TechCrunch.

Adapt’s network of shipping container farms specializes in “Aberrant Gourmet Mushrooms”, which are gourmet mushrooms that were not available in North American retail until very recently. Think pink, yellow, blue and king oysters, chestnut mushrooms and the trendy lion’s mane.

“Mushrooms are very, very suitable for container farming compared to other crops like leafy greens because of the energy consumption,” Murray continued. “They don’t need a huge amount of light. It’s really just temperature and humidity.

Adapt, which launched in February 2022, delivered its first truss in June last year to a location in Toronto. The company has grown steadily ever since and now has farms in Ottawa, Vancouver, Halifax, Kingston and Austin. On February 17, Adapt announces that it will launch a partnership with Loblaws – Canada’s largest retailer – starting with two flagship stores in downtown Toronto, moving on to dozens more in Toronto and Ottawa before expanding. expand elsewhere over the following months.

Adapt will also roll out with retail banners under Canadian grocery chains Sobeys and Pattison Food Group in 2023.

“By the end of 2023, we will be available in the stores of at least three of the five largest retailers in Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver and in between, which together represent more than 3,500 stores,” Murray said. .

Adapt recently closed a funding round with Climate VC Congruent, and it will use the funds to expand its base and hire more support.

Sustainable fruiting, cheaper mushrooms

Picture credits: Adapt AgTech

Adapt AgTech designs and manufactures its shipping containers in Delta, BC. In addition to the five containers in service today, Adapt recently started production on 16 more units and aims to deploy more than 25 units over the next 12 months. Some of Adapt’s shipping containers are solar-powered with backup outlets, but in an effort to launch quickly in the United States, the startup will plug its shipping containers into the grid. Power consumption, Murray said, is low – about 10 kilowatt hours per day.

The company’s distribution model is akin to a hub and spoke. Adapt uses a centralized center in Kingston, Ontario to do all the lab work and colonize the substrate blocks, which means it allows mycelium, the root structure of the fungus, to grow on sawdust blocks of wood, used coffee grounds or coconut fibre. The startup then sends the blocks to shipping containers, where the mushrooms can grow near customers. Murray says this allows Adapt to deliver mushrooms within hours of harvest, which not only means fresher mushrooms, but also longer-lasting mushrooms and reduced spoilage.

The startup deploys and operates the containers and also fulfills the orders. An operator supervises everything, from harvesting to managing orders and delivering the mushrooms.

“All of our containers currently basically run on one full-time farmer, so we allow them to become what we like to call ‘farmtrepreneurs,’” Murray said. “So uncapped commissions, grow your territory as big as you can. We’ll add containers, we’ll expand your territories. It also allows us to bring new and young people into farming, which is exciting.”

Murray also noted that operators of existing mushroom farms have reached out to Adapt to turn their home-based businesses into Adapt farms.

The whole process allows the startup to stay vertically integrated, and therefore save money on materials like the substrate, which Adapt manufactures itself from whatever is locally available. Adapt’s monitoring of each farm also allows the company to keep tabs on well-fruiting mushroom strains and propagate more of them, delivering even healthier margins to the company and a high-quality product at a lower cost. than what you would get at the farmer’s market, Murray said.


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