Whole Foods picks up Bright Agrotech's produce towers
As readers may recall, Bright Agrotech uses hydroponics to grow herbs and salad greens in vertical plastic tubes called ZipGrow Towers. At the farm, the irrigation water comes from tilapia fish tanks – the fish provide natural fertilizer and the plants clean the water. At the store the towers are fed simple tap water, and customers can cut their own greens from the towers. Just-harvested greens have better taste and nutrition than anything that's been packed in a plastic bag or box and spent days in a truck, which explains the product's appeal to Whole Foods.
The Whole Foods store in Fort Collins, Colo., will be the first major supermarket to feature ZipGrow Towers.
"If the trial proves successful, Whole Foods will feature the technology in its other stores," Nate Storey, Bright Agrotech founder said. "Our goal is to eventually make our way into more Whole Foods and traditional grocery stores."
Bright Agrotech owns Bayberry Fresh, a Colorado farm that can replace the grocery store towers with freshly grown salad greens and herbs every day. It's a capability that is ideally suited to Whole Foods customers.
"They know it's fresh and locally produced, and tastes better than anyone else's," Storey added. "It's a solution for small growers who want to sell and customers who want to buy quality produce."
Bright Agrotech is a client of the Wyoming Technology Business Center, the university's business incubator that assists Wyoming entrepreneurs. Storey receives professional business counseling and executive coaching services designed to help the business grow larger and faster than it would otherwise. Such assistance, he said, has been essential to the company's growth.
"The incubator has helped us to take our product to market and be successful," he said. "This is UW's technology that we are developing and leveraging, and trying to turn into gold."
Additionally, he said the university's Research Products Center (RPC) has provided services to ensure the business's success. The RPC helps Wyoming citizens and companies identify, protect and commercialize their inventions and intellectual property.
"These businesses have been important organizations in helping my business be successful," he said.
For more information, visit www.brightagrotech.com.
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