Agritecture, Harvest Returns announce partnership

Agritecture, Harvest Returns announce partnership

Per the release, the two companies hope to make funding more readily available to CEA operations.

February 12, 2021

Per a press release, urban farming consulting farm Agritecture has partnered with Harvest Returns, an agriculture investing platform.

Per the release, the “two companies will work together to accelerate the urban farming and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry across the country by offering new entrepreneurs a more accessible way to raise capital.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of centralized food production,” said Chris Rawley, CEO of Harvest Returns. “Developing additional indoor farms will distribute growing operations closer to where food is consumed, creating a more resilient food system.” 

“Since our founding in 2014, we’ve seen sustained, year-over-year growth in interest toward urban agriculture, especially amongst industry newcomers,” said Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder and CEO of Agritecture.

In 2020, the USDA offered the availability of only $3 million in grants for urban agriculture and innovative production. Agritecture notes that the average CapEx, or startup cost, for controlled environment farms modeled via their Agritecture Designer digital platform is $512,000, and nearly one-third are over $1M.

“Despite this increasing interest and the record levels of funding for the handful of indoor mega farms, financing continues to be one of the primary challenges for small and medium-scale CEA businesses,” Gordon-Smith notes. “Yet, we know these farms can achieve profitability with competitive payback periods, while still serving their local markets and communities.”

In the release, Gordon-Smith cited Agritecture’s 2019 and 2020 Global CEA Census Reports, produced alongside AgTech solutions provider Autogrow, which show that nearly half of all CEA facilities are being started by those with no previous farming experience. Furthermore, per their recent census, 78% of CEA business founders who attempted to raise money were unsuccessful in doing so through traditional financing sources, such as banks.