In the course of COVID-19, a significant number of people have reported having insufficient access to fresh food entirely for sustainable living.
Gordon Tam has created an urban farm that solves this problem. He is the co-founder and CEO of the Hong Kong-based vertical farming – Farm66. With advanced farming technology, he grows fresh vegetables inside skyscrapers in Hong Kong.
In 2013, Tam and Billy Lam, Farm66’s COO, founded Hong Kong’s first high-tech vertical farm and developed LED lighting and wavelength innovations for farms. Tam and his team found that different light wavelengths affect plant growth. Red LEDs generate longer, stronger stems, whereas blue LEDs produce larger, stronger leaves.
The technological and robotic advances at Farm66 are also both groundbreaking. The 20,000-square-foot indoor farm is managed with IoT sensors and robots for quality assurance and other tasks.
When asked about the challenges facing conventional farming, Tam cites a lack of talent as a significant issue. “It’s because the children of many remaining farmers don’t want to take over the farms. They think it’s a very tedious job.” – he told Forbes. This is why he placed a premium on technology and saw it as a means to attract young people to farming by making the industry more appealing.
Farm66’s latest farming mechanism impressed billionaire Tang Yiu’s tech-focused venture capital firm ParticleX. The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, Sino Group, and the Hong Kong government’s Cyberport and Science & Technology Parks are also investors. A total of over $4 million in funding has been acquired so far. Hengqin Financial Investment and the City University of Hong Kong have also backed Farm66.
There are currently fifteen full-time workers at Farm66, including data analysts, food scientists, and mechanical engineers, who can harvest as much as seven tons of vegetables every month. Tam hopes to share its company’s urban farming methods and success in Hong Kong with other cities. For instance, Farm66 converted a shipping container into a mobile farm for use in Middle Eastern desert cities.